A process where the lawyer helps the client
reach a decision. The lawyer identifies
potential solutions, as well as their probable
positive and negative consequences, and
then helps the client weigh these
consequences to determine which
alternative is most appropriate.
Giving the client your opinion about what
the client should do in response to a legal
Some Ethical Rules
Relevant to Counseling
• MR 2.1: Lawyer shall exercise independent professional
judgment, render candid advice.
• MR 1.2: Lawyer shall abide by client’s decisions re
objectives and consult with client re means.
• MR 1.4: Lawyer shall keep client reasonably informed
and explain matters so client can make informed decisions.
• MR 3.1: Lawyer shall not assert frivolous claims or
• MR 4.4: Lawyer shall not use means that have no
substantial purpose other than to delay, embarrass, or
burden third person.
MR 2.1 – p. 76
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.
MR 2.1, com. 1
A client is entitled to straightforward advice
expressing the lawyer’s honest assessment. Legal
advice often involves unpleasant facts and
alternatives that a client may be disinclined to
confront. In presenting advice, a lawyer
endeavors to sustain the client’s morale and may
put advice in as acceptable a form as honesty
permits. However, a lawyer should not be
deterred from giving candid advice by the
prospect that the advice will be unpalatable to the
MR 2.1, com. 2
Advice couched in narrow legal terms may be of
little value to a client, especially where practical
considerations, such as cost or effects on other
people, are predominant. Purely technical legal
advice, therefore, can sometimes be inadequate. It
is proper for a lawyer to refer to relevant moral
and ethical considerations in giving advice.
Although a lawyer is not a moral advisor as such,
moral and ethical considerations impinge upon
most legal questions and may decisively influence
how the law will be applied.
MR 2.1, com. 4
Matters that go beyond strictly legal questions
may also be in the domain of another profession.
Family matters can involve problems within the
professional competence of psychiatry, clinical
psychology or social work; business matters can
involve problems within the competence of the
accounting profession or of financial specialists.
Where consultation with a professional in another
field is itself something a competent lawyer would
recommend, the lawyer should make such a
recommendation. . . .
MR 1.2 – p. 13
Subject to paragraphs (c) and (d), a lawyer
shall abide by a client’s decisions
concerning the objectives of representation
and, as required by Rule 1.4, shall 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. . . .
MR 1.2 – cont’d
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.
MR 1.2, com. 2
Clients normally defer to the special knowledge
and skill of their lawyer with respect to the means
to be used to accomplish their objectives,
particularly with respect to technical, legal and
tactical matters. Conversely, lawyers usually
defer to the client regarding such questions as the
expense to be incurred and concern for third
persons who might be adversely affected. . . .
MR 3.1 – p. 81
A lawyer shall not bring or defend a proceeding,
or assert an issue therein, unless there is a basis in
law and fact for doing so that is not frivolous,
which includes a good faith argument for an
extension, modification or reversal or existing law.
A lawyer for the defendant in a criminal
proceeding, or the respondent in a proceeding that
could result in incarceration, may nevertheless so
defend the proceeding as to require that every
element of the case be established.
MR 1.4(b) – p. 17
A lawyer shall explain a matter to
the extent reasonably necessary to
permit the client to make informed
decisions regarding the
MR 1.4, com. 5
The client should have sufficient
information to participate intelligently in
decisions concerning the objectives of the
representation and the means by which they
are to be pursued, to the extent the client is
willing and able to do so. . . .
MR 1.4, com. 2
. . .For example, a lawyer who receives from
opposing counsel an offer of settlement in a
civil controversy or a proffered plea bargain
in a criminal case must promptly inform the
client of its substance unless the client has
previously indicated that the proposal will
be acceptable or unacceptable or has
authorized the lawyer to accept or reject the
MR 1.4, com. 5
. . . Adequacy of communication depends in
part on the kind of advice or assistance that is
involved. For example, when there is time to
explain a proposal made in a negotiation, the
lawyer should review all important provisions
with the client before proceeding to an
agreement. In litigation, a lawyer should
explain the general strategy and prospects of
success and ordinarily should consult the client
on tactics that are likely to result in significant
expense or to injure or coerce others.
MR 1.4, com. 5 (cont’d)
On the other hand, a lawyer ordinarily will
not be expected to describe trial or
negotiation strategy in detail. The guiding
principle is that the lawyer should fulfill
reasonable client expectations for
information consistent with the duty to act
in the client’s best interests, and the client’s
overall requirements as the character of the
MR 1.16(b) – p. 67
Except as stated in paragraph (c), a lawyer may
withdraw from representing a client if:
(4) the client insists upon taking action that the
lawyer considers repugnant or with which the
lawyer has a fundamental disagreement;
(6) the representation . . . has been rendered
unreasonably difficult by the client;
Suppose a relative with whom you are close dies,
leaving you $150,000. Your cousin, with whom you have
always had a good relationship, files a will contest. Your
elderly grandmother is quite upset about the dispute.
After six months, you receive a settlement offer from
your cousin, under which you would get $45,000 after
deduction of attorneys’ fees, costs and taxes. You would
receive the money in one month. Your attorney indicates
there is a 75% chance you will recover $90,000 (after
attorneys fees, costs, and taxes) if you decide to take the
matter to trial, but it will take an additional year before
trial is completed.
Your client has lent his motorcycle, worth $6,000,
to a friend in San Diego. The friend has had the
cycle for over three months, and despite numerous
promises to return it, has still not done so. Ten
days ago, your client phoned his friend one more
time to ask for the cycle back, and the friend
responded, “Get off my case.” The client told his
friend he wanted the cycle back immediately or
he’d sue, but the friend merely hung up on him.
They have not spoken since and the friend has not
returned the motorcycle.