The existence of the law has never been in question, but its preservation, application and enforcement has remained a tantamount responsibility in the society. It is a state’s responsibility to oversee the application of the rule of law through different arms of government, but this has to be done with sufficient complementarity from various professions in a given state. In this regard, the legal profession is the most instrumental when it comes to enforcement and preservation of the law of the land. Lawyers have responsibilities to their clients, the court, the legal profession and the society at large. Therefore every lawyer is bound by his profession to ensure that these duties are discharged faithfully and unfailingly.
A lawyer’s duty to his client represents the initial step towards promoting the rule of law and the conservation of justice in different spheres of society. There are different roles of a lawyer to his client, and they are elucidated as follows;
Duty To Accept Brief
This role is premised on the cab rank rule which dictates that a lawyer shall take up any case from on an area of law
that he professes to practice. In essence, this rule specifies that an attorney is mandated to represent anyone who desires to retain his legal services. The reasoning of this rule is that a lawyer is meant to use his skills to benefit the society as a whole and not selectively. However, there are exceptions from which a lawyer may disqualify himself from handling a case, and they include conflict of interest, embarrassment, inability to appear and difficulty in maintaining professional independence.
Attorneys must not disclose any form of communication or reveal the contents of any documents availed to him by his clients without consent to do so. Any confidential information that is disclosed in court is rendered inadmissible and cannot be used to further any claim thereto.
Duty To Uphold The Interests Of Client
A lawyer must strive to fearlessly uphold the interests of his client regardless of the repercussions that may arise from such actions. Attorneys have the responsibility to exercise due diligence and ensure that they keep their clients informed of any proceedings and advancements. Also, a lawyer is always mandated to seek the opinion and advice of his client so that his wishes are represented in court.
Duty To Render Proper Accounts
Professional ethics command that a lawyer must keep a separate account for his client. In this regard, lawyers must never use the client’s account and money for purposes that do not relate to the case. Also, an advocate should not misappropriate or misuse money belonging to his client, and if he does, then he is liable for professional misconduct.