Copyright (c) 1998 Texas Wesleyan Law Review
Texas Wesleyan Law Review
ARTICLE: THE TOP TEN REASONS CLIENTS FILE GRIEVANCES AGAINST THEIR LAWYERS *
* This paper is compiled from a speech given by Justice Kinkeade at the Review of Oil and Gas Law XIII symposium sponsored by the Energy Law Section of the Dallas Bar Association, chaired by Professor Joseph Shade of Texas Wesleyan University School of Law. Accordingly, the examples provided are directed toward an audience whose primary activities are in the oil and gas industry.
5 Tex. Wesleyan L. Rev. 35
Justice Edward Kinkeade **
Lawyers must abide by their ethical duties and responsibilities before, during, and after representing a client. Failing to do so exposes a lawyer to disciplinary action and legal malpractice. Unfortunately, many lawyers, through calculated risk or carelessness, violate the very rules that protect their profession.
The following article is based on a compilation of the actual number of grievances filed in Texas grievance committees. Although these numbers are not the whole story of why grievances were filed against lawyers, they serve as signals to the bar of major pitfalls to avoid. This paper includes an outline of the grievance procedure and a short history of the different bodies of law governing professional responsibility for future reference for those readers snared by disciplinary proceedings. 1
I. Neglecting a Client's Case: Texas Rule 1.01
"Neglect" means to ignore the client's case and includes an element of gross negligence in consciously disregarding the responsibility owed to a client. 2 A lawyer shall not neglect a client's matter, nor frequently fail to carry out his or her obligation owed to the client. 3 This is the most common cause for grievances filed on lawyers. Lawyers often fail to address timely their clients' cases; they sometimes seem frozen by an event that occurs and, for an extended period of time, fail to even take the file out of the file drawer. Lawyers debate the reasons that cases are neglected. Often the neglect stems from more than one source of distraction, but the ...
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