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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77226 Find in a Library
Title: Conflict and Trust Between Attorney and Client
Journal: Georgetown Law Journal  Volume:69  Issue:4  Dated:(April 1981)  Pages:1015-1046
Author(s): R A Burt
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 32
Sponsoring Agency: Phi Delta Phi Legal Institute, Inc
Washington, DC 20036
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article argues that mistrust pervades the relations between attorneys and clients and that practical incentives and formal norms of the legal profession lead attorneys and clients to resist admitting this mistrust; the impact of the proposed Model Rules of Professional Conduct on this situation is examined.
Abstract: Many attorneys and clients mistrust one another notwithstanding their initial hopes and the insistence of the profession's norms that a proper relationship requires mutual trust. There are several inevitable sources of mistrust. One example occurs when the attorney prefers outcomes contrary to the client's wishes as illegal or immoral. Moreover, domestic relations and criminal defense work rarely yield satisfied clients. In disputes involving only money, clients and their attorneys often have directly conflicting financial interests because the attorneys' fees do not depend on the clients' success. In response to problems related to attorney-client mistrust, the American Bar Association Commission has recently proposed new Model Rules of Professional Conduct that impose substantial additional costs on attorneys and clients for an attorney's withdrawal because of disagreement with a client. Furthermore, the proposed rules mandate that certain attorney-client relations begin with an explicit warning to clients of consequences potentially adverse to their interests if they reveal too much about themselves. However, the proposed rules may add new incentives for resistance to disclosure of client communication and may exacerbate mistrust. Paradoxically, more stringent disclosure requirements might prompt honest exploration of attorney-client mistrust and might ultimately enhance trust in professional relations generally, even though attorneys would be required in some cases to forfeit clients' trust by disclosing their communications. The article includes 121 footnotes.
Index Term(s): Attorney client relations; Attorney competence; Attorneys; Code of ethics; Conflict of interest; Legal malpractice; Pretrial discovery; Privileged communications; Professional conduct and ethics; Rights of the accused
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=77226

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