1 INTRODUCTION TO LEGAL AID AND RELATED ETHICAL ISSUES I N N S O F C O U R T P U P I L A G E G R O U P 3 P R E S E N T A T I O N
2 OATH OF ATTORNEY I do solemnly swear: I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Florida; I will maintain the respect due to courts of justice and judicial officers; I will not counsel or maintain any suit or proceedings which shall appear to me to be unjust, nor any defense except such as I believe to be honestly debatable under the law of the land; I will employ, for the purpose of maintaining the causes confided in me such means only as are consistent with truth and honor, and will never seek to mislead the judge or jury by any artifice or false statement of fact or law; I will maintain the confidence and preserve inviolate the secrets of my clients, and will accept no compensation in connection with their business except from them or with their knowledge and approval; To opposing parties and their counsel, I pledge fairness, integrity, and civility, not only in court, but also in all written and oral communications; I will abstain from all offensive personality and advance no fact prejudicial to the honor or reputation of a party or witness, unless required by the justice of the cause with which I am charged; I will never reject, from any consideration personal to myself, the cause of the defenseless or oppressed, or delay anyone s cause for lucre or malice. So help me God.
3 PRO BONO PUBLIC SERVICE RULE PRO BONO PUBLIC SERVICE (a) Professional Responsibility. Each member of The Florida Bar in good standing, as part of that member's professional responsibility, should (1) render pro bono legal services to the poor and (2) participate, to the extent possible, in other pro bono service activities that directly relate to the legal needs of the poor....
4 BROWARD COUNTY LEGAL SERVICES Legal Aid Service of Broward, Inc. Children s Advocacy Project Housing/Consumer Law Homeless Legal Rights HIV/AIDS Immigrant Advocacy Broward Human Rights Initiative Low Income Tax Payer Clinic Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida, Inc. Family Law Senior Citizen Law Project Food Stamps & Cash Assistance Social Security Disability & SSI Unemployment Compensation Medicaid Veteran Advocates Legal Outreach and Representation
5 ATTORNEY S VERSUS GUARDIAN AD LITEM RULE OBJECTIVES AND SCOPE OF REPRESENTATION a) Lawyer to Abide by Client's Decisions. Subject to subdivisions (c) and (d), a lawyer shall abide by a client's decisions concerning the objectives of representation, and, as required by rule 4-1.4, shall reasonably consult with the client as to the means by which they are to be pursued. A lawyer may take such action on behalf of the client as is impliedly authorized to carry out the representation. A lawyer shall abide by a client's decision whether to settle a matter. In a criminal case, the lawyer shall abide by the client's decision, after consultation with the lawyer, as to a plea to be entered, whether to waive jury trial, and whether the client will testify.
6 GUARDIAN AD LITEM The Legislature finds that for the past 20 years, the Guardian Ad Litem Program has been the only mechanism for best interest representation for children in Florida who are involved in dependency proceedings (1)(a), Fla. Stat. (2012).
7 DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM (c) Duties and Responsibilities. The guardian ad litem shall be a responsible adult, who may or may not be an attorney, or a certified guardian ad litem program, and shall have the following responsibilities: (1) To gather information concerning the allegations of the petition and any subsequent matters arising in the case and, unless excused by the court, to file a written report. This report shall include a summary of the guardian ad litem's findings, a statement of the wishes of the child, and the recommendations of the guardian ad litem and shall be provided to all parties and the court at least 72 hours before the hearing for which the report is prepared. (2) To be present at all court hearings unless excused by the court. (3) To represent the interests of the child until the jurisdiction of the court over the child terminates, or until excused by the court. (4) To perform such other duties as are consistent with the scope of the appointment. Fla. R. Juv. P (c)
8 ATTORNEY AS ADVISOR Rule Adviser In representing a client, a lawyer shall exercise independent professional judgment and render candid advice. In rendering advice, a lawyer may refer not only to law but to other considerations such as moral, economic, social, and political factors that may be relevant to the client's situation.
9 COMMUNICATION RULE COMMUNICATION (a) Informing Client of Status of Representation. 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 terminology, 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 or reasonably should know that the client expects assistance not permitted by the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law. (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.
10 COMPETENCY RULE 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.
11 RESPONSIBILITIES OF PARTNERS, MANAGERS AND SUPERVISORY LAWYERS Responsibilities Of Partners, Managers, And Supervisory Lawyers (a) Duties Concerning Adherence to Rules of Professional Conduct. A partner in a law firm, and a lawyer who individually or together with other lawyers possesses comparable managerial authority in a law firm, shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the firm has in effect measures giving reasonable assurance that all lawyers therein conform to the Rules of Professional Conduct. (b) Supervisory Lawyer's Duties. Any lawyer having direct supervisory authority over another lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the other lawyer conforms to the Rules of Professional Conduct. (c) Responsibility for Rules Violations. A lawyer shall be responsible for another lawyer's violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct if: (1) the lawyer orders the specific conduct or, with knowledge thereof, ratifies the conduct involved; or (2) the lawyer is a partner or has comparable managerial authority in the law firm in which the other lawyer practices or has direct supervisory authority over the other lawyer, and knows of the conduct at a time when its consequences can be avoided or mitigated but fails to take reasonable remedial action.
12 RESPONSIBILITIES OF SUBORDINATE LAWYER Responsibilities Of A Subordinate Lawyer (a) Rules of Professional Conduct Apply. A lawyer is bound by the Rules of Professional Conduct notwithstanding that the lawyer acted at the direction of another person. (b) Reliance on Supervisor's Opinion. A subordinate lawyer does not violate the Rules of Professional Conduct if that lawyer acts in accordance with a supervisory lawyer's reasonable resolution of an arguable question of professional duty.
13 MISCONDUCT RULE MISCONDUCT A lawyer shall not:. (c) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, except that it shall not be professional misconduct for a lawyer for a criminal law enforcement agency or regulatory agency to advise others about or to supervise another in an undercover investigation, unless prohibited by law or rule, and it shall not be professional misconduct for a lawyer employed in a capacity other than as a lawyer by a criminal law enforcement agency or regulatory agency to participate in an undercover investigation, unless prohibited by law or rule; (d) engage in conduct in connection with the practice of law that is prejudicial to the administration of justice, including to knowingly, or through callous indifference, disparage, humiliate, or discriminate against litigants, jurors, witnesses, court personnel, or other lawyers on any basis, including, but not limited to, on account of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, employment, or physical characteristic;
14 ZEALOUS ADVOCATE As a representative of clients, a lawyer performs various functions. As an advocate, a lawyer zealously asserts the client's position under the rules of the adversary system. - Preamble: A Lawyer's Responsibilities
15 CANDOR TOWARDS TRIBUNAL Candor Toward The Tribunal (a) False Evidence; Duty to Disclose. A lawyer shall not knowingly: (1) make a false statement of fact or law to a tribunal or fail to correct a false statement of material fact or law previously made to the tribunal by the lawyer; (2) fail to disclose a material fact to a tribunal when disclosure is necessary to avoid assisting a criminal or fraudulent act by the client; (3) fail to disclose to the tribunal legal authority in the controlling jurisdiction known to the lawyer to be directly adverse to the position of the client and not disclosed by opposing counsel; or (4) offer evidence that the lawyer knows to be false. A lawyer may not offer testimony that the lawyer knows to be false in the form of a narrative unless so ordered by the tribunal. If a lawyer, the lawyer s client, or a witness called by the lawyer has offered material evidence and the lawyer comes to know of its falsity, the lawyer shall take reasonable remedial measures including, if necessary, disclosure to the tribunal. A lawyer may refuse to offer evidence that the lawyer reasonably believes is false.
16 UNITED VETRAN S PROJECT United Way of Broward County, as part of its MISSION UNITED initiative in conjunction with The American Red Cross, has partnered with Legal Aid Service of Broward County to create a Veterans Pro Bono Legal Project to offer free civil legal services to Broward s income-eligible military members, veterans and their families in the following areas: Family Law Consumer Issues Housing Issues VA Benefits Other Benefits Probate / Wills / Estate Planning / Advance Directives Real Estate and Business Transactional Matters Employment Law Litigation Alternative Dispute Resolution Mentor another attorney
17 COMPETENCY RULE 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.
18 RULE COMPETENCE - COMMENTS Legal knowledge and skill In determining whether a lawyer employs the requisite knowledge and skill in a particular matter, relevant factors include the relative complexity and specialized nature of the matter, the lawyer's general experience, the lawyer's training and experience in the field in question, the preparation and study the lawyer is able to give the matter, and whether it is feasible to refer the matter to, or associate or consult with, a lawyer of established competence in the field in question. In many instances the required proficiency is that of a general practitioner. Expertise in a particular field of law may be required in some circumstances. A lawyer need not necessarily have special training or prior experience to handle legal problems of a type with which the lawyer is unfamiliar. A newly admitted lawyer can be as competent as a practitioner with long experience. Some important legal skills, such as the analysis of precedent, the evaluation of evidence and legal drafting, are required in all legal problems. Perhaps the most fundamental legal skill consists of determining what kind of legal problems a situation may involve, a skill that necessarily transcends any particular specialized knowledge. A lawyer can provide adequate representation in a wholly novel field through necessary study. Competent representation can also be provided through the association of a lawyer of established competence in the field in question.
19 RULE COMPETENCE - COMMENTS In an emergency a lawyer may give advice or assistance in a matter in which the lawyer does not have the skill ordinarily required where referral to or consultation or association with another lawyer would be impractical. Even in an emergency, however, assistance should be limited to that reasonably necessary in the circumstances, for ill-considered action under emergency conditions can jeopardize the client's interest. A lawyer may accept representation where the requisite level of competence can be achieved by reasonable preparation. This applies as well to a lawyer who is appointed as counsel for an unrepresented person. See also rule
20 RULE COMPETENCE - COMMENTS Thoroughness and preparation Competent handling of a particular matter includes inquiry into and analysis of the factual and legal elements of the problem, and use of methods and procedures meeting the standards of competent practitioners. It also includes adequate preparation. The required attention and preparation are determined in part by what is at stake; major litigation and complex transactions ordinarily require more extensive treatment than matters of lesser complexity and consequence. The lawyer should consult with the client about the degree of thoroughness and the level of preparation required as well as the estimated costs involved under the circumstances.
21 COMMUNICATION RULE COMMUNICATION (a) Informing Client of Status of Representation. 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 terminology, 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 or reasonably should know that the client expects assistance not permitted by the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law. (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.
22 CONFLICTS OF INTEREST RULE CONFLICT OF INTEREST; CURRENT CLIENTS (a) Representing Adverse Interests. Except as provided in subdivision (b), a lawyer shall not represent a client if: (1) the representation of 1 client will be directly adverse to another client; or (2) there is a substantial risk that the representation of 1 or more clients will be materially limited by the lawyer's responsibilities to another client, a former client or a third person or by a personal interest of the lawyer. (b) Notwithstanding the existence of a conflict of interest under subdivision (a), a lawyer may represent a client if: (1) the lawyer reasonably believes that the lawyer will be able to provide competent and diligent representation to each affected client; (2) the representation is not prohibited by law; (3) the representation does not involve the assertion of a position adverse to another client when the lawyer represents both clients in the same proceeding before a tribunal; and (4) each affected client gives informed consent, confirmed in writing or clearly stated on the record at a hearing. (c) Explanation to Clients. When representation of multiple clients in a single matter is undertaken, the consultation shall include explanation of the implications of the common representation and the advantages and risks involved.
23 SCOPE OF REPRESENTATION RULE OBJECTIVES AND SCOPE OF REPRESENTATION (a) Lawyer to Abide by Client's Decisions. Subject to subdivisions (c) and (d), a lawyer shall abide by a client's decisions concerning the objectives of representation, and, as required by rule 4-1.4, shall reasonably consult with the client as to the means by which they are to be pursued. A lawyer may take such action on behalf of the client as is impliedly authorized to carry out the representation. A lawyer shall abide by a client's decision whether to settle a matter. In a criminal case, the lawyer shall abide by the client's decision, after consultation with the lawyer, as to a plea to be entered, whether to waive jury trial, and whether the client will testify. (b) No Endorsement of Client's Views or Activities. A lawyer's representation of a client, including representation by appointment, does not constitute an endorsement of the client's political, economic, social, or moral views or activities. (c) Limitation of Objectives and Scope of Representation. If not prohibited by law or rule, a lawyer and client may agree to limit the objectives or scope of the representation if the limitation is reasonable under the circumstances and the client gives informed consent in writing. If the attorney and client agree to limit the scope of the representation, the lawyer shall advise the client regarding applicability of the rule prohibiting communication with a represented person. (d) Criminal or Fraudulent Conduct. A lawyer shall not counsel a client to engage, or assist a client, in conduct that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know is criminal or fraudulent. However, a lawyer may discuss the legal consequences of any proposed course of conduct with a client and may counsel or assist a client to make a good faith effort to determine the validity, scope, meaning, or application of the law.
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