10 BASIC RIGHTS of CLIENTS
When you retain a lawyer, You are entitled to one who:
- WILL be capable of handling your case.
- WILL represent you zealously and seek any lawful means to present or defend your case.
- WILL preserve your confidences, secrets or statements which you reveal in the course of our relationship.
- WILL give you the right to make the ultimate decision on the objectives to be pursued in your case.
- WILL charge you a reasonable fee and tell you, in advance of being hired and upon your request, the basis of that fee.
- WILL show you courtesy and consideration at all times.
- WILL exercise independent professional judgment in your behalf, free from compromising influences.
- WILL inform your periodically about the status of your case and, at your request, give you copies of documents prepared.
- WILL exhibit the highest degree of ethical conduct.
- WILL refer you to other legal counsel, if he or she cannot properly represent you.
- The “Statement of Client’s Rights” was approved by the Florida Supreme Court in June 1986. It must be read and signed by both attorney and client in most contingency fee matters (that is, a case where the attorney’s fee is a percentage of the amount awarded to the client). The “Waiver of the Constitutional Right Provided in Article 1, Section 26, Florida Constitution” and “Acknowledgment by Client for Presentation to the Court” were approved by the Florida Supreme Court and became effective January 1, 2007. Those must be signed and notarized if you are unable to find a lawyer or law firm to represent you at the contingency fee rates set out in the Florida Constitution for medical malpractice cases or if you want to hire a particular lawyer or law firm, but you cannot hire your choice of counsel at the contingency fee rates provided in the constitutional provision.
- Before you enter into a contingency fee arrangement, read and understand this information. Many of the suggestions listed in the “Statement of Client’s Rights” are helpful to those thinking about hiring an attorney in any situation, not just a contingency fee case.
- If you ever have any question about your rights as a client, or about the way your case is being handled, ask your lawyer. He or she should be readily available to represent your best interests and keep you informed about your case.