As a Michigan Attorney, I feel these are the six top ethical duties of any criminal lawyer.
As an attorney I have obligation to my clients to be ethical in my duties to them as I represent their best interest. These duties are fundamentally ethical and professional and should be adhered to by all attorney’s in the relationship they have with their client. It’s also the function of an attorney keep a client reasonably informed about his representation.
Within the Rules of Professional Responsibility for Attorneys one can find and determine what an attorney’s ethical duties are. These rules are better known as the code of conduct. Although the code of conduct applies to all attorneys every state in the uniion has it’s own version that it has adopted.
If an attorney violates the ethical duties that he or she has vowed to adhere to they can be sanctioned, including being disbarred and their client has the option of filing a malpractice lawsuit against them as well.
Attorneys have an obligation and duty to protect and maintain their clients privacy and confidentialilty no matter what. It is unethical for a lawyer to break any aspect of confidentiality or trust with his or her client. Whatever it is that a client says to his attorney is covered by the attorney/client privilege. That privilege means that an attorney cannot be compelled to testify regarding anything said to him by his client.However, an attorney’s duty of confidentiality is much broader. An attorney may not reveal information relating to his client’s representation unless the client gives his consent, except in certain very limited situations, such as preventing a client from committing a crime or to prevent reasonably certain death or bodily harm, among others. This duty is broad, and must be scrupulously observed by all attorneys.
It is important that the attorney is not doing anything that can be seen as causing a conlict of interest. Serving the clients interest is most important and if the attorney sees that his representation of that client will legally harm their client then they cannot represent them. Clients may wave some conflicts of interest but not in all situations. Conflicts of interest are serious and is something the attorney has to know exist or not. Then they must be forthright and honest with their client if it’s an issue.
Here’s a definition of self-dealing “The conduct of a trustee, an attorney, or other fiduciary that consists of taking advantage of his or her position in a transaction and acting for his or her own interests rather than for the interests of the beneficiaries of the trust or the interests of his or her clients.” This means the misuse of a clients assets to his benefit by an attorney is a violation and is prohibited.
According to ehow.com, a lawyer has the obligation to represent their client’s interest to the full extent of the law. The must be a zealous advocate for the people they represent, it’s considered among all a primary ethical obligation. Zealous Advocacy requires attorneys to vigorously and strenuously advance their clients interests. It is also noted that attorneys cannot engage in any illegal or unethical behavior on their clients’ behalf, but must pursue all legal and ethical options for obtaining satisfaction for their clients.
These ethical duties apply for all attorneys but I’m a Michigan Attorney so I speak from that point of view. I’ve been practicing law for over twenty five years as a Wayne County Attorney handling divorce, criminal, family law and drivers license restoration so I speak from vast experience.