Attorney shall maintain the confidences, and at every peril to himself preserve the secrets, of Client.
One of the most important rights that you have is the PEACE OF MIND that your attorney shall keep your secrets! There are some very limited exceptions but generally speaking, what you say to your attorney is SECRET and the attorney can lose his or her LICENSE if he or she violates your trust. It is one thing for your friend to gossip about you but in the realm of the LAW, you are entitled to to feel secure that your attorney will NOT gossip. There are exceptions and you can inquire more about these exceptions to an attorney or to the licensing agency within your state governing attorneys.
Attorney shall communicate with Client developments in the case, including settlement offers, and promptly respond to inquiries by Client.
You have the right to have your attorney communicate with you. Your attorney must respond to your inquiries. You are the person who must decide whether to settle a case or not. The failure of your attorney to communicate with you in a reasonable and prompt fashion is a RED FLAG. There are exceptions to all rules, but one of the primary bases of discipline of an attorney is a violation of this RIGHT of yours.
Attorney shall not require or demand sexual relations with Client.
While this may seem to be strange that there would have to be a rule, this continues to be an important rule defining your rights as an attorney. If your attorney ever suggests that he or she requires any type of sexual relationship with you in order to represent you, provide you with discounted services, or, otherwise, YOUR RIGHTS HAVE BEEN VIOLATED.
All contingency contracts and contracts in which it is foreseeable that the total expense to Client will exceed $1,000 shall be in writing.
Written contracts are required, with exceptions. This is not only your right, it is prudent. There are serious issues of enforceability of a contract by an attorney that are not in writing, particularly those that are legally required to be in writing. Even when not required, it is normally a good practice to have your agreement in writing.
Client has the right to file a complaint against Attorney with the State Bar with Client's grievance(s) against Attorney.
Have your rights been violated? Contact your State Bar and file a complaint. This is your way to make sure that justice is done and that the offender of clients' rights is STOPPED.
Client may file a lawsuit against Attorney if Attorney negligently causes injury to Client.
You have the right to competent representation and if this right is violated, you may have a lawsuit against your own attorney. If you have been damaged as a result of your attorney's incompetent representation, seek out an attorney who emphasizes legal malpractice law. There are deadlines, both legal and strategic that you must consider so consult with an attorney immediately if you believe that this important right to representation by a professional has been breached.
Attorney must be an active member of the State Bar.
It is a crime to practice law without a license. One doing so is subject to imprisonment. Check with your State Bar to confirm the active licensure of your attorney and that he or she has not been suspended from the practice of law.
Additional resources provided by the author
Attorney Discipline/Complaint Hotline/Membership Records: (800) 843-9053
Glendale Bar Association Fee Arbitration Program: (818) 956-1633
Los Angeles County Bar Association Fee Arbitration Program: (213) 627-2727
United States District Court (Attorney admissions) (Central District): (213) 894-2085
Supreme Court of United States (Attorney admissions): (202) 479-2018