The legal practice as a profession has evolved with the development of new laws and the improvements in the existing legal framework. As societies grew and developed, they realized the need to formulate detailed and intricate legal regulations. It was crucial to maintain a systematic order and facilitate constructive interaction among the members for the greater collective good.
As the laws became more complicated and complex, it necessitated the creation of a distinct profession. A profession we now look up to for justice and fairness; the legal profession. Today, lawyers exist to help the common citizenry understand their fundamental rights and responsibilities according to the existing laws. Additionally, the most crucial duty of legal practitioners is to ensure that justice and equality prevail in society. However, abiding by ethics while performing their duties can become challenging.
Let’s discuss this further:
Contextualizing Legal Ethics
Like every other profession, the conduct of legal practitioners is also governed by a specific set of rules and regulations commonly known as legal ethics. Unfortunately, many members of the legal fraternity have abused the superior knowledge and expertise of the legal framework to take advantage of certain loopholes and shortcomings in the law for their benefit. As a result, it has led to an ethical code of conduct for law professionals.
Importance of Legal Practice
We cannot stress enough the necessity of legal practitioners as fairness and equity are the foundational principles of every civilized society. Owing to the fore mentioned reason, there is a consistent improvement and curricula revision in legal education, making this profession even more enticing than previously. Moreover, given the latest technological advancements in distance learning, law aspirants can conveniently venture into this field. For instance, those who wish to propel their law careers should opt for LLM online to learn about emerging ethical compliance and regulations.
Moving forward, we’ll determine why ethical compliance in the legal realm is essential.
Conflict of Interest
The conflict of interest is a fundamental ethical principle for any legal practitioner. An attorney should not represent two clients whose interests collide with each other. It puts the fairness and impartiality of the attorney into question, and such a situation should be avoided. In some countries, prior consent of both clients is required for a lawyer to represent them, given the ethical dilemma present in such cases. Simply put, you cannot present both sides of an argument in a case.
Attorney-Client Privileged Information
It is an ethical norm for all attorneys not to disclose any communication with their clients. They should maintain the confidentiality of all the communication with their clients at all times. Furthermore, a legal counsel can only testify about such confidential communication by obtaining prior consent from the client. A slight variation of this rule exists in some countries where a lawyer is authorized to divulge the client’s information if it leads to the advantage of the state and the general public at large.
Discouraging Client Solicitations by Attorneys
The nobility of the legal profession implies that the legal practitioners must refrain from overt solicitations to the clients as well as advertisements for their valued services. The elements of exaggeration and deceit can easily penetrate any advertorial self-projection by a legal counsel. Although advertising from lawyers is not outrightly prohibited, it is often looked down upon as ethical inferiority.
Rationalization of Financial Compensation for Legal Practitioners
Another important ethical consideration for the attorneys is the fees they should charge their clients. It is demanded from the legal practitioners that they should offer a reasonable charge for their services. In some cases, court rulings determine the appropriate amount. Many bar associations have devised a minimum fee schedule as an ethical guideline for their members. It is a generally accepted moral obligation of the legal profession that no person should be refused legal representation if they cannot afford it. This obligation has led to a legal aid mechanism for indigent litigants who cannot approach courts due to their financial implications. The provision of justice is considered a fundamental human right of every individual.
The abuse of legal practice is almost as old as the field itself. Human transgressions by legal practitioners can be detrimental to the sanctity of the legal profession. Consequently, this led to the formulation of specific legislative standards and judicial checks to prevent their abuse of the general populace’s ignorance. The law practice is indeed a noble profession as it advocates for fundamental rights and justice to the deprived. Honesty and care for the client should be the guiding principles for any attorney while representing them. The lawyer community and bar associations have played a commendable role in developing stringent ethical standards for legal practice. Self-accountability and conduct based on conscientiousness are the most critical moral watchdogs for any lawyer. It is simply logical to demand fairness from those who are advocating justice for others.