If you hire Dean and the team at Margolis Law Firm to help you collect compensation after an injury, we’re going to do everything in our power to help you get what you deserve. Not only do we feel that we owe this to our clients, but there is actually a professional code of conduct that dictates the obligations that each lawyer must provide to their clients. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at what the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct state that each lawyer owes any client their take on.
What Your Injury Lawyer Owes You
According to the Rules of Professional Conduct in Minnesota, here are five things that lawyers owe their clients:
1. Competence – There is a minimum standard of competence that every lawyer must have in order to legally represent clients at trial, and that includes having the right degrees and passing the state’s bar examination. However, that doesn’t mean that they are considered competent to handle any and all cases. Lawyers must be competent for the case at hand, meaning they should not accept a case that they are not equipped to handle. The Professional Code states that “A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.” If they are not competent in the specific subject matter, they should refer the client to someone who is better equipped to handle the case.
2. Honesty – We expect you to be honest with us, and we need to be honest with you to the best of our abilities. Most lawyers will never speak in guarantees because rarely is anything certain in court, but lawyers should not misrepresent a client’s rights, the lawyer’s experience or abilities or your chances of winning at trial. Knowingly doing so would be unethical and against the code of conduct.
3. Confidentiality – Attorney-client privilege exists for a reason, and if a lawyer violates this code, they can end up in major trouble. Your lawyer is only allowed to share information about your case in extreme circumstances. Your privacy is important, and what you share with your lawyer will stay between you and your lawyer. In fact, this standard exists even if you don’t move forward with that lawyer. Per the Rules of Professional Conduct, “Even when no client-lawyer relationship ensues, a lawyer who has consulted with a prospective client shall not use or reveal information obtained in the consultation.” Attorney-client privilege exists even if you decide that the lawyer you met with is not a great fit for your case.
4. Communication – Your lawyer is also required to stay in communication with you in a reasonable manner. We always talk with our clients to see what mode of communication works best for them and how often they’d like to be updated about their case, but a certain level of communication is professionally required. According to the Rules of Professional Conduct, “A lawyer shall explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation.” A lawyer needs to answer your questions, discuss strategy and keep you updated about your case within reason.
5. Diligence – Finally, once you’ve hired your lawyer, they need to represent you to the best of their abilities. They can’t just mail it in and assume that any award is good enough. They need to provide you with the best help possible. The code states that “a lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client.” If you don’t feel like your lawyer is doing their due diligence on your case, they could be violating the Rules of Professional Conduct. If you feel this is the case, you need to first have a conversation with your lawyer to try and get on the same page before taking your issues somewhere else, because it could just be a misunderstanding or mismatched expectations.
We promise to uphold all of these obligations and help you maximize your injury award. To see our work for yourself, reach out to Dean and the team at Margolis Law Firm today at (952) 230-2700.