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This document was used by a Texas atty & may not conform to the
relevant rules and regulations in your state.
Statement of Client's Rights and Responsibilities
Your attorney is providing you with this document to inform you of
what you, as a client, are entitled to by law or by custom. To help
prevent any misunderstanding between you and your attorney, please
read this document carefully.
If you ever have any questions about these rights, or about the way
your case is being handled, do not hesitate to ask your attorney. He
or she should be readily available to represent your best interests
and keep you informed about your case.
An attorney may not refuse to represent you on the basis of race,
creed, color, sex, national origin or disability.
You are entitled to an attorney who will be capable of handling your
case; show you courtesy and consideration at all times; represent you
zealously; and preserve your confidences and secrets that are
revealed in the course of the relationship.
You are entitled to a written retainer agreement which must set
forth, in plain language, the nature of the relationship and the
details of the fee arrangement. At your request, and before you sign
the agreement, you are entitled to have your attorney clarify in
writing any of its terms, or include additional provisions.
You are entitled to fully understand the proposed rates and retainer
fee before you sign a retainer agreement, as in any other contract.
You may refuse to enter into any fee arrangement that you find
Your attorney may not request a fee that is contingent on the
securing of a divorce or on the amount of money or property that may
Your attorney may not request a retainer fee that is nonrefundable.
That is, should you discharge your attorney, or should your attorney
withdraw from the case, before the retainer is used up, he or she is
entitled to he paid for the time spent on your case and any expenses,
but must return the balance of the retainer to you.
You are entitled to know the approximate number of attorneys and
other legal staff members who will be working on your case at any
given time and what you will be charged for the services of each.
You are entitled to know in advance how you will be asked to pay
legal fees and expenses, and how the retainer, if any, will be spent.
At your request, and after your attorney has had a reasonable
opportunity to investigate your case, you are entitled to be given an
estimate of approximate future costs of your case.
You are entitled to receive a a written itemized bill on a regular
basis at least every 60 days.
You are expected to review the itemized bills sent by counsel, and to
raise any objections or errors in a timely manner. Time spent in
discussion or explanation of bills will not be charged to you.
You are expected to be truthful in all discussions with your attorney
and to provide all relevant information and documentation to enable
him or her to competently prepare your case.
You are entitled to be kept informed of the status of your case, and
to be provided with copies of documents prepared on your behalf or
received from the court or your adversary.
You have the right to be present at court conferences unless a judge
You are enticed to make the ultimate decision on the objectives to be
pursued in your case, and to make the final decision regarding the
settlement of your case.
Your attorney's written retainer agreement must specify under what
circumstances he or she might seek to withdraw as your attorney for
nonpayment of legal fees. Should your attorney seek to do so, or
should you discharge your attorney for any reason, you have the right
to obtain the release of your file. If an action is pending, the
court may give your attorney a "charging lien," which entitles your
attorney to payment for services already rendered at the end of the
case out of the proceeds of your judgment. If no action is pending,
and your withdrawing attorney retains possession of the file, the
attorney must return it within 30 days of withdrawal, but may then
commence proceedings against you to recover any unpaid fee.
You are under no legal obligation to sign a confession of judgment or
promissory note, or to agree to a lien or mortgage on your home to
cover legal fees. Your attorney's written retainer agreement must
specify whether, and under what circumstances, such security may be
requested. In no event may such security interest be obtained by your
attorney without prior court approval and notice to your adversary.
An attorney's security interest in the marital residence cannot be
foreclosed against you.
You are entitled to have your attorney's best efforts exerted on your
behalf, but no particular results can be guaranteed.
If at any time you believe that your attorney has engaged in
unethical conduct, you can report the matter to the clerk of the
Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, which oversees lawyer
In the event of a fee dispute, you have the right to seek
arbitration, the results of which are binding. Your attorney will
provide you with the necessary information regarding arbitration in
the event of a fee dispute, or upon your request.
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