Ethical Considerations: The Attorney-Client Relationship

After briefly considering the history of written rules in the United States dealing with ethics and the complex issue of “who is a client,” this Article examines those of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct of the American Bar Association that deal with the attorney-client relationship and emphasizes the importance of attorney-client communication. It also explores aspects of the attorney-client relationship that are included in other compilations of professional rules (but not in the ABA's Model Rules). Discussion of statements of “Client's Rights” and of “Commitments to Clients” illustrates what clients and attorneys expect of each other in their relationships. How attorneys can better foster the loyalty and trust necessary for an effective attorney-client relationship is discussed, as is how attorneys can better address the ethical considerations that enter into the attorney-client relationship.