Who is the Client?
Rule 1.2. Scope of representation and allocation of authority between client and lawyer.
(a) 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. 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.
(b) A lawyer 's…show more content… The rules assume that the “client” is known and there is no real discussion as to how to determine who is the client. However, in many situations for the Elder Law Attorney, this is usually not so clear. The initial contact to the attorney’s office is many times made by a family member or a caregiver for the elderly person. This within itself presents many potential issues. This is particularly so when there is discord in the family and one sibling brings in their parent or parents in opposition to the other sibling. In many situations you may only meet your client once and that visit could be brief. You may only deal with a family member. Often, the elderly person may insist that you deal with the family member and not themselves.
One interesting thing about the Model Rules is that it does not define who the client is nor does it tell the attorney how to determine who is the client. There is no certain formula to determine this but one thing is certain, you must decide who the client is and make that decision known to all present preferably in writing if not at the initial meeting, soon thereafter.
Most elder law attorneys prefer to represent the elder. This clarifies many of the issues and looking out for their best interest makes the decision making process somewhat easier although there are exceptions. Those most notable exceptions are representing the guardian in a guardianship or representing another family