N E W SFurther Information David Bookstaver New York State Communications Director Unified Court System Mai Yee, Communication Officer (212)428-2505 Jonathan Lippman Chief Administrative Judge Release: Immediate, February 17, 1998
Administrative Board of the Courts Approves Statement of Clients Responsibilities
NEWYORKChief Judge Judith S. Kaye and Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman announced today that the Administrative Board of the Courts has approved a Statement of Clients Responsibilities designed to serve as a complement to the recently enacted Statement of Clients Rights.
Building on the premise that reciprocal trust, courtesy and respect are the hallmarks of the successful attorney-client relationship, the Statement, which was developed in conjunction with the New York State Bar Associations Committee on Attorney Professionalism, informs the client of, among other responsibilities, the need for complete candor with the lawyer as to "all facts or circumstances of the matter being handled by the lawyer even if the client believes that those facts may be detrimental to the clients cause or unflattering to the client." The client is also informed that the "lawyer need respect only legitimate objectives of the client and that the lawyer will not advocate or propose positions which are unprofessional or contrary to law or the Lawyers Code of Professional Responsibility."
Chief Judge Kaye said, "The Craco Committees examination of the everyday experiences of lawyers and clients confirmed that client satisfaction in New York State is very high. With few exceptions, lawyers provide outstanding, effective and ethical representation to their clients on a daily basis. Where dissatisfaction does arise, it is often the product ofunrealistic expectations or avoidable misunderstandings concerning the attorney-client relationship. The Statement of Clients Responsibilities addresses this problem by setting forth the basics of how clients should interact with their attorneys in order to develop a productive relationship and obtain the most effective representation possible."
Chief Administrative Judge Lippman added, "The New York Bar has a superb record of service to clients, but as our society and the practice of law grow more complex, it is important that we provide clients with maximum access to relevant information which can reduce the incidence of misunderstandings and enhance public confidence in the profession and the judicial system. In this regard, the Statement of Responsibilities is a valuable educational follow-up to the Statement of Clients Rights, ensuring that attorneys and clients have a complete and balanced understanding of the attorney-client relationship. I wish to thank the New York State Bar Association, its President, Joshua M. Pruzansky, and its Committee on Attorney Professionalism, for their significant contributions in connection with the Statement of Clients Responsibilities."
Copies of the Statement of Clients Responsibilities suitable for framing are being prepared for posting alongside the Statement of Clients Rights in a manner and location designed to bring it to the attention of clients who enter the law office. Appropriate locations for posting the Statement of Clients Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, lobbies, reception areas, and conference and meeting rooms where clients ordinarily appear. The Statement is not intended to apply to attorneys who are institutional employees of the client, whether in the public or private sectors (e.g., corporation counsel of a municipality or in-house corporate counsel).
Chief Administrative Judge Lippman will write all bar association presidents this week toadvise them of the Statement of Clients Responsibilities, and to inform them that bulk distribution of copies of the Statement will take place shortly. Copies can also be obtained on the court systems Internet site at http://ucs.ljx.com or by calling the Office of Court Administrations Communications Office at (212) 428-2500.