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unprofessional for attorneys to partake of it in their conduct and demeanor to each other, or to suitors in the case.
29. In the conduct of litigation and the trial of causes the attorneys should try the merits of the cause, and not try each other. It is not proper to allude to, or comment upon, the personal history, or mental or physical peculiarities or idiosyncrasies of opposite counsel. Personalities should always be avoided, and the utmost courtesy always extended to an honorable opponent.
30. As to incidental matters pending the trial, not affecting the merits of the cause, or working substantial prejudice to the rights of the client, such as forcing the opposite attorney to trial when he is under affliction or bereavement; forcing the trial on a particular day to the serious injury of the opposite attorney, where no harm will result from a trial at a different time; the time allowed for signing a bill of exceptions, cross interrogatories, and the like; the attorney must be allowed to judge. No client has a right to demand that his attorney shall be illiberal in such matters, or that he should do anything therein repugnant to his own sense of honor and propriety; and if such a course is insisted on the attorney should retire from the cause.
31. The miscarriages to which justice is subject, and the uncertainty of predicting results, admonish attorneys to beware of bold and confident assurances to clients especially where the employment depends upon the assurance, and the case is not plain.
32. Prompt preparation for trial, punctuality in answering letters and keeping engagements, are due from an attorney to his client, and do much to strengthen their confidence and friendship.
33. An attorney is in honor bound to disclose to the client, at the time of retainer, all the circumstances of his relations to the parties, or interest, or connection with the controversy, which might justly influence the client in the selection of his attorney. He must decline to appear in any cause where his obligations or relations to the opposite parties will hinder or seriously embarrass the full and fearless discharge of all his duties.
34. An attorney should endeavor to obtain full knowledge of his client's cause before advising him, and is bound to give him a candid opinon of the merits and probable result of his cause. When the controversy will admit of it he ought to seek to adjust it without litigation, if practicable.
35. Where an attorney, during the existence of the relation, has lawfully made an agreement which binds his client, he can not honorably refuse to give the opposite party evidence of the agreement, because of his subsequent discharge or instructions to that effect by his former client.
36. Money or other trust property coming into the possession of the attorney, should be promptly reported, and never commingled with his private property or used by him, except with the client's knowledge and consent.
37. Attorneys should, as far as possible, avoid becoming either borrowers or creditors of their client; and they ought scrupulously to refrain from bargaining about the subject matter of the litigation, so long as the relation of attorney and client continues.
38. Natural solicitude of clients often prompts them to offer assistance of additional counsel. This should not be met, as it sometimes is, as evidence of want of confidence; but after advising frankly with the client, it should be left to his determination.
39. Important agreements affecting the rights of clients should, as far as possible, be reduced to writing, but it is dishonorable to avoid performance of an agreement fairly made, because not reduced to writing as required by rules of court.
40. An attorney should not ignore known customs or practice of the bar of a particular court, even when the law permits, without giving opposing counsel timely notice.
41. An attorney should not attempt to compromise with the opposite party, without notifying his attorney, if practicable.
42. When attorneys jointly associated in a cause can not agree as to any matter vital to the interest of their client, the course to be pursued should be left to his determination. The client's decision should be cheerfully acquiesced in, unless the nature of the difference makes it impracticable for the attorney to coöperate heartily and effectively; in which event, it is his duty to ask to be discharged.
43. An attorney coming into a cause in which others are employed, should give notice as soon as practicable and ask for a conference; and if the association is objectionable to the attorney already in the cause, the other attorney should decline to take part, unless the first attorney is relieved.
44. An attorney ought not to engage in discussion or arguments about the merits of the case with the opposite party, without notice to his attorney.
Satisfactory relations between attorney and client are best preserved by a frank and explicit understanding at the outset, as to the amount of the attorney's compensation; and, where it is possible, this should always be agreed on in advance.
46. In general, it is better to yield something to a client's dissatisfaction at the amount of the fee, though the sum be reasonable, than to engage in a law suit to justify it, which ought always to be avoided, except as a last resort to prevent imposition or fraud.
47. Men, as a rule, over-estimate rather than under-value the worth of their services, and attorneys in fixing their fees should avoid charges which unduly magnify the value of their advice and services, as well as those which practicaly belittle them. A client's ability to pay can never justify a charge for more than the service is worth; though his poverty may require a less charge in many instances, and some times none at all.
An attorney may charge a regular client, who entrusts him with all his business, less for a particular service than he would charge a casual client for like services. The element of uncertainty of compensation where a contingent fee is agreed on justifies higher charges than where compensation is assured.
49. In fixing fees the following elements should be considered: First-The time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, and the skill requisite to properly conduct the cause. Second-Whether the particular case will debar the attorney's appearance for others in cases likely to arise out of the transaction, and in which there is a reasonable expectation that the attorney would otherwise be employed; and herein of the loss of other business while employed in the particular case, and the antagonism with other clients growing out of the employment. Third-The customary charges of the bar for similar services. Fourth-The real amount involved and the benefit resulting from the service. Fifth-Whether the compensation was contingent or assured. Sixth--Is the client a regular one, retaining the attorney in all his business? No one of these consideration is in itself controlling. They are mere guides in ascertaining what the service was really worth; and in fixing the amount it should never be forgotten that the profession is
a branch of the administration of justice and not a mere moneygetting trade.
50. Contingent fees may be contracted for; but they lead to many abuses, and certain compensation is to be preferred.
51. Casual and slight services should be rendered without charge by one attorney to another in his personal cause; but when the service goes beyond this an attorney may be charged as other clients. Ordinary advice, and services to the family of a deceased attorney, should be rendered without charge in most instances; and where the circumstances make it proper to charge, the fees should generally be less than in case of other clients.
52. Witnesses and suitors should be treated with fairness and kindness. When essential to the ends of justice to arraign their conduct or testimony, it should be done without villification or unnecessary harshness. Fierceness of manner and uncivil behavior can add nothing to the truthful dissection of a false witness' testimony, and often rob deserve strictures of proper weight.
53. It is the duty of the court and its officers to provide for the comfort of jurors. Displaying special concern for their comfort, and volunteering to ask favors for them, while they are present such as frequent motions to adjourn trials, or take a recess, solely on the ground of the jury's fatigue, or hunger, the uncomfortableness of their seats, or the court room, and the like -should be avoided. Such intervention of attorneys, when proper, ought to be had privately with the court; whereby there will be no appearance of fawning upon the jury, nor ground for ill feeling of the jury towards court or opposite counsel, if such requests are denied. For like reasons, one attorney should never ask another, in the presence of the jury, to consent to its discharge or dispersion; and when such a request is made by the court, the attorneys, without indicating their preference, should ask to be heard after the jury withdraws.
54. An attorney ought never to converse privately with jurors about the case; and must avoid all unnecessary communication, even as to matters foreign to the cause, both before and during the trial. Any other course, no matter how blameless the attorney's motives, gives color for imputing evil designs, and often leads to scandal in the administration of justice.
55. An attorney assigned as counsel for an indigent prisoner ought not to ask to be excused for any light cause, and should always be a friend to the defenseless and oppressed.