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Week Seven

TOPIC THREE: The Client-Lawyer Relationship (10–16% of the exam)
What to Study A. Formation of Client-Lawyer Relationship B. Scope, Objective, and Means of the Representation C. Decision-making Authority— Actual and Apparent D. Counsel and Assistance Within the Bounds of the Law E. Termination of the ClientLawyer Relationship F. Client-Lawyer Contracts G. Communications with the Client H. Fees Where to Find This Law CALI lesson on “Client or Not?” Rule 1.18 and comments Restatement LGL §14 Rule 1.2 and comments Rule 1.2 comments Restatement LGL §§16-18 Rule 1.2 and Rule 1.16 and comments CALI Lesson on Choosing and Withdrawing from Representation Rules 1.16 and comments Rules 1.4, 1.5, 1.15 and comments Rule 1.4 and comments CALI lesson on Fees Rules 1.5 and comments

Some of this material is heavily tested (withdrawal & fees, for example). Some is more difficult to test because the law is found more in common law of agency and contracts than in the Model Rules. You already know some of these principles if you have taken Bus. Org. (agency & authority). When in doubt, remember that an attorney is a fiduciary agent for the client and owes that client duties to accept their legal directions (or withdraw).

Practice Questions on The Lawyer-Client Relationship
Use the following questions from the MPRE Question Set VI to review these materials. Questions 23, 51, 58, 74, 86, 104, 109, 111, 115, 130, 136, 141 Questions 10 and 19 about fees may be useful for review but they are in a format that is no longer used on the MPRE.

Additional practice problems with explanations
1. Attorney agreed to represent a client in a suit against his landlord. The client has limited funds

and agreed to pay attorney $100 a month every month until the total fees are paid. After three months, Attorney had filed the pleadings and conducted substantial discovery, but client had yet to pay anything. Client says he has found an Attorney who will take over the representation for free and fires Attorney,

Attorney represents ABC Corporation in a products liability action. Attorney must withdraw from the representation because his client insists on continuing to destroy potential evidence. If Attorney withdraws at this point. Yes. B.000 in fees. Attorney has not regularly represented a client and agrees to take on the client’s divorce. Attorney and a lawyer from another firm are taking joint responsibility for representing a client in a complicated civil fraud case. C. In which of the following representations would the attorney be subject for discipline for failing to have a written fee agreement? (more than one may be correct) A. D. C. Attorney is representing a client in a small claims action on a contingent fee basis. 3. . No. 2. The two attorneys will be sharing the fee from the case in proportion to the work they do. Is Attorney subject to discipline? A. Attorney discusses the matter with ABC and insists that they begin to comply with the law regarding document retention or he will withdraw. because Attorney must have the court’s permission to withdraw. D. Attorney may not withdraw from the representation because withdrawal would cause material adverse effect.owing $3. B. B. Attorney discovers that the corporation has been destroying financial records that are potential evidence in a securities fraud case pending against it. Attorney may not withdraw from the representation because he does not represent ABC in securities matters. Yes. (Attorney does not represent ABC Corp in securities matters). Attorney is taking on representation of a complicated business negotiation that will not be concluded within one year’s time. because Attorney must seek to withdraw if the client discharges him. No. because Attorney did not give the client adequate warning that he had failed to fulfill a substantial obligation. C. ABC responds that this is not Attorney’s business and he should stick to the products liability suit. because the client breached his duty of fair dealing to Attorney. Attorney tells the client that he refuses to withdraw (and thus to allow the other attorney to enter his appearance on behalf of client) until the client pays at least $300 of the fees owed. ABC’s ability to prevail in the products liability action will be significantly harmed. A. D. Attorney may withdraw from the representation because his client insists on continuing to destroy potential evidence.

C. Attorney will prevail in the suit over fees because this was a valid contract. Client’s girlfriend entered a voluntary dismissal of the action the following day. with client agreeing to pay for any work in excess of the retainer.4. Attorney is subject to discipline for suing his client over fees. Moreover. the agreement also provided that this initial $1. Attorney billed Client for the $500 bonus. it does not matter that the client’s actions are not ones the attorney is involved in assisting or promoting (answer B). D is not correct. the remedy is not to hold the client hostage for fees. Rule 1.5(c)) are correct. The best answer is C. Finally. 3. the fact that an attorney must seek permission to withdraw doesn’t mean the attorney doesn’t have to seek that permission. Arnold is subject to discipline for entering into a contingent fee agreement in this type of case. the client agreed to pay attorney a bonus of $500 if the case was dismissed or the court refused to enter the order. which is a permissive basis for withdrawal. . However. Attorney would charge $150 an hour and bill against the retainer. regardless of the work performed or the outcome of the case. though it is best practice to have a writing. Attorneys may withdraw because the client is persisting in a course of action that the attorney considers repugnant. B (rule 1. Since there is a good cause basis for withdrawal it does not matter that withdrawal would cause material adverse effect (answer A).000 retainer was nonrefundable. C is the correct answer.000 (which was paid). While the statute of frauds may make this agreement unenforceable. 2. Attorney had performed one hour of work on the case at that point. Analysis & Answers: 1. A is an unlikely interpretation of the facts. Here the attorney is seeking to block his own withdrawal as a means of forcing the client to pay. Client refused to pay. B.5(e)) and C (Rule 1.16(a) requires withdrawal if the client fires you. Arnold is subject to discipline for charging a non-refundable retainer. D. Which of the following statements is TRUE (more than one may be correct)? A. Arnold Attorney has been retained by David Defendant to represent him in an action brought by his girlfriend to obtain an adult abuse order of protection against him. D would only be relevant if the attorney were seeking to withdraw for nonpayment of fees. Attorney then sued client for the $500 and Client counterclaimed for a refund of the $850. it’s not unethical. regardless of the reasons. Arnold’s fee arrangement called for an initial retainer of $1. but even if it were true. While B is a correct statement of the rule. though that does mean the withdrawal is not mandatory (answer D). A is not correct.

A is likely False—this looks like a domestic relations case or a criminal case—types of cases in which contingent fees are prohibited. but it’s a bad decision). Fee dispute resolution programs offered by the bar are a better choice. C is false—attorneys can sue their clients.4. . One could argue as a policy matter that the rule’s prohibition should be extended to this type of case (anyone care to make that argument?) B is likely true. but they are technically neither. Most courts have found non-refundable retainers unreasonable (a Michigan court just decided the other way. They are discouraged from doing so and have to be very careful not to harass. but they can. D is not necessarily true—remember that attorney fee contracts (indeed any business deal with an attorney) are enforceable only if the attorney can meet his or her burden of proving the fairness of the contract both substantively and procedurally.