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Ray
Ray, Lawyer
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Experience:  29 years in civil, probate, real estate, elder law
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What Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct did my attorney

Resolved Question:

What Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct did my attorney violate when he failed to file an appearance in my case despite telling me he plan to do so and after weeks of taking my money and stating he was representing me to opposing counsel and making phone calls on my behalf but within days of my previously scheduled court appearance, which he was aware of, he sent me a letter stating he was withdrawing because the the case was more time consuming and work than he anticipated for the amount of money we initially agreed upon and then he informed me, “oh and oops I didn’t file an appearance as I stated I would because I planned on doing it later.”
This put me in a bind because the judge stuck it to me on my next court appearance. I know the attorney violated rule 1.16 but what else did he violate? He definitely didn’t behave appropriately given the circumstances, but I would like to articulate it in terms of Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ray replied 1 year ago.

RayAnswers :

Thanks for your question and good evening.There are multiple possible violations here.

RayAnswers :

For starters..

RayAnswers :

RULE 1.1: COMPETENCE


A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.


RayAnswers :

You could argue his actions or inactions here reflect a lack of professional competence.

RayAnswers :

RULE 1.3: DILIGENCE


A lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client.



Adopted July 1, 2009, effective January 1, 2010.



Comment


[1] A lawyer should pursue a matter on behalf of a client despite opposition, obstruction or personal inconvenience to the lawyer, and take whatever lawful and ethical measures are required to vindicate a client’s cause or endeavor. A lawyer must also act with commitment and dedication to the interests of the client and with zeal in advocacy upon the client’s behalf. A lawyer is not bound, however, to press for every advantage that might be realized for a client. For example, a lawyer may have authority to exercise professional discretion in determining the means by which a matter should be pursued. See Rule 1.2. The lawyer’s duty to act with reasonable diligence does not require the use of offensive tactics or preclude the treating of all persons involved in the legal process with courtesy and respect.


[2] A lawyer’s work load must be controlled so that each matter can be handled competently.


[3] Perhaps no professional shortcoming is more widely resented than procrastination. A client’s interests often can be adversely affected by the passage of time or the change of conditions; in extreme instances, as when a lawyer overlooks a statute of limitations, the client’s legal position may be destroyed. Even when the client’s interests are not affected in substance, however, unreasonable delay can cause a client needless anxiety and undermine confidence in the lawyer’s trustworthiness. A lawyer’s duty to act with reasonable promptness, however, does not preclude the lawyer from agreeing to a reasonable request for a postponement that will not prejudice the lawyer’s client.


[4] Unless the relationship is terminated as provided in Rule 1.16, a lawyer should carry through to conclusion all matters undertaken for a client. If a lawyer’s employment is limited to a specific matter, the relationship terminates when the matter has been resolved. If a lawyer has served a client over a substantial period in a variety of matters, the client sometimes may assume that the lawyer will continue to serve on a continuing basis unless the lawyer gives notice of withdrawal. Doubt about whether a client-lawyer relationship still exists should be clarified by the lawyer, preferably in writing, so that the client will not mistakenly suppose the lawyer is looking after the client’s affairs when the lawyer has ceased to do so. For example, if a lawyer has handled a judicial or administrative proceeding that produced a result adverse to the client and the lawyer and the client have not agreed that the lawyer will handle the matter on appeal, the lawyer must consult with the client about the possibility of appeal before relinquishing responsibility for the matter. See Rule 1.4(a)(2). Whether the lawyer is obligated to prosecute the appeal for the client depends on the scope of the representation the lawyer has agreed to provide to the client. See Rule 1.2.


[5] To prevent neglect of client matters in the event of a sole practitioner’s death or disability, the duty of diligence may require that each sole practitioner prepare a plan, in conformity with applicable rules, that designates another competent lawyer to review client files, notify each client of the lawyer’s death or disability, and determine whether there is a need for immediate protective action. See Illinois Supreme Court Rule 776, Appointment of Receiver in Certain Cases.



Adopted July 1, 2009, effective January 1, 2010.




RULE 1.4: COMMUNICATION


(a) A lawyer shall:


(1) promptly inform the client of any decision or circumstance with respect to which the client’s informed consent, as defined in Rule 1.0(e), is required by these Rules;


(2) reasonably consult with the client about the means by which the client’s objectives are to be accomplished;


(3) keep the client reasonably informed about the status of the matter;


(4) promptly comply with reasonable requests for information; and


(5) consult with the client about any relevant limitation on the lawyer’s conduct when the lawyer knows that the client expects assistance not permitted by the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law.


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



Adopted July 1, 2009, effective January 1, 2010.



Comment


[1] Reasonable communication between the lawyer and the client is necessary for the client effectively to participate in the representation.



Communicating with Client


[2] If these Rules require that a particular decision about the representation be made by the client, paragraph (a)(1) requires that the lawyer promptly consult with and secure the client’s consent prior to taking action unless prior discussions with the client have resolved what action the client wants the lawyer to take. For example, a lawyer who receives from opposing counsel an offer of settlement in a civil controversy or a proffered plea bargain in a criminal case must promptly inform the client of its substance unless the client has previously indicated that the proposal will be acceptable or unacceptable or has authorized the lawyer to accept or to reject the offer. See Rule 1.2(a).


[3] Paragraph (a)(2) requires the lawyer to reasonably consult with the client about the means to be used to accomplish the client’s objectives. In some situations–depending on both the importance of the action under consideration and the feasibility of consulting with the client–this duty will require consultation prior to taking action. In other circumstances, such as during a trial when an immediate decision must be made, the exigency of the situation may require the lawyer to act without prior consultation. In such cases the lawyer must nonetheless act reasonably to inform the client of actions the lawyer has taken on the client’s behalf. Additionally, paragraph (a)(3) requires that the lawyer keep the client reasonably informed about the status of the matter, such as significant developments affecting the timing or the substance of the representation.


[4] A lawyer’s regular communication with clients will minimize the occasions on which a client will need to request information concerning the representation. When a client makes a reasonable request for information, however, paragraph (a)(4) requires prompt compliance with the request, or if a prompt response is not feasible, that the lawyer, or a member of the lawyer’s staff, acknowledge receipt of the request and advise the client when a response may be expected. Client telephone calls should be promptly returned or acknowledged.

RayAnswers :

There was a lack of diligence and certainly honest communication with you as his client.He failed to file an appearance on your behalf as well.

RayAnswers :

A couple of more possibilities.

RayAnswers :

Optional Withdrawal


[7] A lawyer may withdraw from representation in some circumstances. The lawyer has the option to withdraw if it can be accomplished without material adverse effect on the client’s interests. Withdrawal is also justified if the client persists in a course of action that the lawyer reasonably believes is criminal or fraudulent, for a lawyer is not required to be associated with such conduct even if the lawyer does not further it. Withdrawal is also permitted if the lawyer’s services were misused in the past even if that would materially prejudice the client. The lawyer may also withdraw where the client insists on taking action that the lawyer considers repugnant or with which the lawyer has a fundamental disagreement.


[8] A lawyer may withdraw if the client refuses to abide by the terms of an agreement relating to the representation, such as an agreement concerning fees or court costs or an agreement limiting the objectives of the representation.



Assisting the Client Upon Withdrawal


[9] Even if the lawyer has been unfairly discharged by the client, a lawyer must take all reasonable steps to mitigate the consequences to the client. The lawyer may retain papers as security for a fee only to the extent permitted by law. See Rule 1.15.


RayAnswers :

You would file your request for investigation of this lawyer here.

RayAnswers :

You can certainly file your request setting out the facts and that you feel that he violated these rules referenced above and any others you feel may apply.

RayAnswers :

All the rules for reference here.

RayAnswers :

Remember they will investigate your complaint and it is not necessary that you are perfectly able to articulate all of the violations.They will investogate and apply sanctions if they substantiate.

RayAnswers :

You also have the right here to consider a legal malpractice claim as well.

RayAnswers :

In Illinois, the statute of limitations for legal malpractice claims is two (2) years from the date you discover or should have discovered the malpractice, but in no event more than six (6) years from the date of the actual malpractice.

RayAnswers :

You might well be able to find a local malpractice lawyer here to take this contingent fee.

RayAnswers :

It has been my pleasure to assist you tonight.Please let me know if you have more follow up.Thanks again.

RayAnswers :

I hope that you will be so kind as to leave a positive rating. If you do have any additional questions about my answer please click the "Continue Conversation Link" so I can provide you with a fully satisfactory answer. Please be aware that any rating of 1 or 2 is reflected as a negative rating and I receive no credit for my answers.


 


This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship.Information provided here is not legal advice. Rather it is simply general information.


 

RayAnswers :

You can also add in any fee complaints you have here if lawyer will not return any retainer due you.

RayAnswers :

Many of the local bar associations have fee dispute resolution--an example..

RayAnswers :

Thanks again for letting me help you tonight.

Customer:

Thanks you. But don't I need to state Rule XYZ a1 or I'm not specific enough to warrant further consideration.

RayAnswers :

You can simply state that you feel the facts here of your case and that you feel the lawyer violated the following rules and list them.The more factual your complaint and including the rules will help them then investigate the matter.They would interview you and the lawyer involved and possibly any other third parties.And you may also want to consider a legal malpractice claim as well.I am so sorry that you have had to endure all of this.I hope you are able to get some resolution and compensation as well.

RayAnswers :

Thanks again.

Customer:

Thank you. your answer exceeded my expectations.

RayAnswers :

You are so welcome.

Ray, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 30161
Experience: 29 years in civil, probate, real estate, elder law
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Ray
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29 years in civil, probate, real estate, elder law