Lawyers' Duties to Clients
Back to Texas Standards for Appellate Conduct
A lawyer owes to a client allegiance, learning, skill, and industry. A lawyer shall employ all appropriate means to protect and advance the client's legitimate rights, claims, and objectives. A lawyer shall not be deterred by a real or imagined fear of judicial disfavor or public unpopularity, nor be influenced by mere self-interest. The lawyer's duty to a client does not militate against the concurrent obligation to treat with consideration all persons involved in the legal process and to avoid the infliction of harm on the appellate process, the courts, and the law itself.
- Counsel will advise their clients of the contents of these Standards of Conduct when undertaking representation.
- Counsel will explain the fee agreement and cost expectation to their clients. Counsel will then endeavor to achieve the client's lawful appellate objectives as quickly, efficiently, and economically as possible.
- Counsel will maintain sympathetic detachment, recognizing that lawyers should not become so closely associated with clients that the lawyer's objective judgment is impaired.
- Counsel will be faithful to their clients' lawful objectives, while mindful of their concurrent duties to the legal system and the public good.
- Counsel will explain the appellate process to their clients. Counsel will advise clients of the range of potential outcomes, likely costs, timetables, effect of the judgment pending appeal, and the availability of alternative dispute resolution.
- Counsel will not foster clients' unrealistic expectations.
- Negative opinions of the court or opposing counsel shall not be expressed unless relevant to a client's decision process.
- Counsel will keep clients informed and involved in decisions and will promptly respond to inquiries.
- Counsel will advise their clients of proper behavior, including that civility and courtesy are expected.
- Counsel will advise their clients that counsel reserves the right to grant accommodations to opposing counsel in matters that do not adversely affect the client's lawful objectives. A client has no right to instruct a lawyer to refuse reasonable requests made by other counsel.
- A client has no right to demand that counsel abuse anyone or engage in any offensive conduct.
- Counsel will advise clients that an appeal should only be pursued in a good faith belief that the trial court has committed error or that there is a reasonable basis for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law, or that an appeal is otherwise warranted.
- Counsel will advise clients that they will not take frivolous positions in an appellate court, explaining the penalties associated therewith. Appointed appellate counsel in criminal cases shall be deemed to have complied with this standard of conduct if they comply with the requirements imposed on appointed counsel by courts and statutes.