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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 85712
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Hi. My question is not designed to be contentious, just to

Resolved Question:

Hi. My question is not designed to be contentious, just to be made aware of our "rights" as a client. Our contract with our attorney has a section that states:
**) We will keep you fully informed of all of the professional services devoted to this matter by our firm.

There was a filing in our case – a “notice” from the opposing attorney – and out attorney showed as a line item on an invoice (few months later) that he had “received and reviewed” the notice.

However we, the client, were never informed of said notice. When questioned about it, our attorney said basically that it was inconsequential since there was no associated Order, no deadlines, etc. We (the client) do not share that view. It was quite telling. Also our attorney charged us for “receiving and reviewing” the notice. Therefore in relation to the contract provision above what should we say to the attorney, or what should be said (in regards XXXXX XXXXX conduct not being in line with our contract)?

Also, does a Florida attorney have a professional duty under Florida Bar rules, professional conduct or Florida Rules (i.e. a rule(s) that you could point to) that says an attorney has a duty or responsibility to inform the client of filings in the case? We now have an instance of TWO separate filings sent to our attorney of which we were not notified about (including the above mentioned notice).
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you again.

The FL rules of Professional Conduct state the attorney must provide reasonable communication and this is in the "Preamble" to the rules which states: " A lawyer should maintain communication with a client concerning the representation."

Furthermore,
Rule 4-1.4 Communication

(a) Informing Client of Status of Representation

A lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information.

(b) Duty to Explain Matters to Client

A lawyer shall explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation.

The issue is the word "reasonably" and this has been interpreted to mean to inform clients of matters that are of significance to the representation or the case. If this notice did not cause any changes or was not significant in the case, then they would be correct in that it was not a big deal to inform you of the notice.

Of course, your argument is that knowing of this notice would have changed your decision making in your case so it was significant. Thus, if this were to go to a complaint, it would be an issue of fact to be determined by a hearing officer and you would have to prove the significance and how it would have changed your decisions by a preponderance of the evidence.


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Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 85712
Experience: JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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