Monday, September 8, 2008

Lawyer-Client Communications

In a thoughtful and interesting new article recently posted on SSRN, Denver University Law Professor Eli Wald critiques the current regime of legal ethics rules (primarily ABA Model Rule 1.4) that governs communications between attorneys and their clients. Wald contends that the current regime leads to an information asymmetry - attorneys receive adequate information from their clients, however, the converse is not true. In offering his critique, Wald establishes a three-part typology of the kinds of information that might be exchanged between attorney and client during the course of representation: 1) "representation specific" facts (those relating direclty to the current representation); 2) "meta" facts (background information relating to the attorney and client); and 3) "set-up" facts (information relating to the structure of the attorney-client relationship, eg, the terms of the fee arrangement, etc.). While the current rules require lawyers to provide representation specific facts to their clients, they largely fail to compel lawyers to provide facts that fall in the other two categories to clients. Because Wald believes that clients would benefit from receiving more "meta" and "set-up" facts from their lawyers, he proposes changes to Model Rule 1.4 that he contends would promote that result.

Read it all here.

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