|The Client-Lawyer Relationship
© 2011 Charles L. Black Aycock
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- In Texas, the Client-Lawyer relationship is a
contractual relationship, whereby the Lawyer agrees
to render professional services for the Client, see
Yaklin vs Glusing, Sharpe & Kreuger, 875 S.W.2d 380,
385 (Tex.App.-Corpus Christi 1994, no pet).
- In Texas a fiduciary relationship exists between
Client and Lawyer and the Lawyer is obligated to
render a full and fair disclosure of all facts material to
the Client's representation, see Willis v. Maverick, 760
S.W.2d 642, 645 (Tex.1988).
THE LAWYER'S DUTIES TO THE CLIENT IN GENERAL:
In matters within the scope of the representation, generally, a Lawyer must:
(1) proceed in a manner reasonably calculated to advance a Client's lawful objectives, as defined see the Restatement (Third) of the Law Governing Lawyers (American Law Institute, 2000-the
by the Client after consultation;
(2) act with reasonable competence and diligence;
(3) comply with obligations concerning the Client's confidences and property, avoid
impermissible conflicting interests, deal honestly with the Client and not employ advantages
arising from the Client- Lawyer relationship in a manner adverse to the client; and
(4) fulfill valid contractual obligations to the Client,
“Restatement”-(TO SEE MR. AYCOCK'S EXCERPT, CLICK ON THIS LINE)), §16
THE CLIENT'S DUTIES TO THE LAWYER IN GENERAL:
Generally, the Client owes the Lawyer the same duties the Client owes third persons, such as the duty
to avoid actionable misrepresentation, See the Restatement, Comment a to §17. In matters within the
scope of the representation, generally, the Client must:
(1) compensate the Lawyer for services and expenses; See the Restatement, §17
(2) indemnify the Lawyer for liability to which the Client has exposed the Lawyer without the
Lawyer's fault; and
(3) fulfill any valid contractual obligations to the Lawyer,
As to Client-Lawyer Contracts, generally:
(1) A contract between a Lawyer and Client concerning the Client-Lawyer relationship, including
a contract modifying an existing contract, may be enforced by either party if the contract meets
other applicable requirements, except that:
(a) if the contract or modification is made beyond a reasonable time after the Lawyer has
begun to represent the Client the Client may avoid the contract unless the Lawyer shows
that the contract and the circumstances of its formation were fair and reasonable to the
(b) if the contract is made after the Lawyer has finished providing services, the Client may
avoid the contract if the Client was not informed of facts needed to evaluate the
appropriateness of the Lawyer's compensation or other benefits conferred on the Lawyer
by the contract.
(2) A tribunal should construe a contract between Client and Lawyer as a reasonable person in See the Restatement, §18
the circumstances of the Client would have construed it.
As to Agreements Limiting Client's or Lawyer's Duties, generally:
(1) Client and Lawyer may agree to limit a duty that the Lawyer would otherwise owe to the
(a) the Client is adequately informed and consents;
(b) the terms of the limitation are reasonable in the circumstances.
(2) the Lawyer may agree to waive the Client's duty to pay or other duty owed to the Lawyer.See the Restatement, §19
(1) the Lawyer must keep the Client reasonably informed about the matter and must See the Restatement, §20
consult with the Client to a reasonable extent concerning decisions to be made by the
(2) the Lawyer must promptly comply with the Client's reasonable requests for
(3) the Lawyer must notify the Client of decisions to be made by the Client and must
explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the Client to make .informed
decisions regarding the representation.
In regard to allocating the Authority to Make Decisions Between the Client and the Lawyer,
(1) the Client and the Iawyer may agree which of them will make specified decisions, andRestatement, §21
the agreement may be superseded by another valid agreement.
(3) Subject to (1) and (2) the Lawyer may take any lawful measure within the scope of
representation reasonably calculated to advance the Client's objectives as defined by the
Client, consulting with the Client
(4) the Client may ratify an act of the Lawyer that was not previously authorized, See the
As to authority Reserved to the Client, generally:
(1) As between Client and Lawyer, the following and comparable decisions are reserved
to the Client except when the Client has validly authorized the Lawyer to make the
(a) whether and on what terms to settle a claim;
(b) how a criminal defendant should plead;
(c) whether a criminal defendant should waive jury trial;
(d) whether a criminal defendant should testify; and
(e) whether to appeal in a civil proceeding or criminal prosecution.
(2) The Client may not validly authorize the Lawyer to make the decisions described in Restatement, §22
Subsection (1) when other law (such as criminal-procedure rules governing pleas, jury-
trial waiver, and defendant testimony) requires the Client's personal participation or
(3) Regardless of any contrary contract with the Lawyer, the Client may revoke the
Lawyer's authority to make the decisions described in Subsection (1).
As between .Client and Lawyer, the Lawyer retains authority that may not be overridden by a
contract with or an instruction from the Client:
(1) to refuse to perform, counsel, or, assist ,future or ongoing acts in the representation Restatement, §23
that the Lawyer reasonably believes to be unlawful;
(2) to make decisions or take actions in the representation that the Lawyer reasonably
believes to be required by law or an order of a tribunal.