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of the government, upon the same principles of ethics which justify his appearance before the courts; but it is immoral and illegal for an attorney so engaged to conceal his attorneyship, or to employ secret personal solicitations, or to use means other than those addressed to the reason or understanding, to influen, action.
25. An attorney can never represent conflicting interests in the same suit or transaction, except by express co.isent of all so concerned, with full knowledge of the facts. Even then such a position is embarrassing and ought to be avoided. An attorney represents conflicting interests, within the meaning of this rule, when it is his duty, in behalf of one of his clients, to contend for that which duty to other clients in the transaction requires him to oppose.
26. "It is not a desirable professional reputation to live and die with that of a rough tongue, which makes a man to be sought out and retained to gratify the malevolent feeling of a suitor, in hearing the other side well lashed and vilified."
27. An attorney is under no obligation to minister to the malevolence or prejudice of a client in the trial or conduct of a cause. The client cannot be made the keeper of an attorney's conscience in professional matters. He cannot demand as of right that his attorney shall abuse the opposite party, or indulge in offensive personalities. The attorney, under the solemnity of his oath, must determine for himself whether such a course is essential to the ends of justice, and therefore justifiable.
28. Clients, and not their attorneys, are the litigants; and, whatever may be the ill-feeling existing between clients, it is unprofessional for attorneys to partake of it in their conduct and demeanor to each other, or to suitors in the case.
29. In the conduct of litigation, and the trial of causes, the attorneys shall try the merits of the cause, and not try each other. It is not proper to allude to, or comment upon the personal history, or mental or physical peculiarities, or idiosyncra
sies, of opposite counsel.
Personalities should always be avoided, and the utmost courtesy always extended to an honorable opponent.
30. As to incidental matters pending the trial, not affecting the merits of the cause, or working substantial prejudice to the rights of the client, such as forcing the opposite attorney to trial when he is under affliction or bereavement; forcing the trial on a particular day, to the serious injury of the opposite attorney, when no harm will result from a trial at a different time; the time allowed for signing a bill of exceptions, crossing interrogatories, and the like, the attorney must be allowed to judge. No client has a right to demand that his attorney shall be illiberal in such matters, or that he should do anything therein repugnant to his own sense of honor and propriety; and if such a course is insisted on, the attorney should retire from the cause.
31. The miscarriage to which justice is subject, and the uncertainty of predicting results, admonish attorneys to beware of bold and confident assurances to clients, especially where the employment depends upon the assurance, and the case is not plain.
32. Prompt preparation for trial, punctuality in answering letters and keeping engagements, are due from an attorney to his client, and do much to strengthen their confidence and friendship.
33. An attorney is in honor bound to disclose to the client, at the time of retainer, all the circumstances of his relation to the parties, or interest or connection with the controversy, which mightly justly influence the client in the selection of his attorney. He must decline to appear in any cause where his obligations or relations to the opposite parties will hinder or seriously embarrass the full and fearless discharge of all his duties.
34. An attorney should endeavor to obtain full knowledge of his client's cause before advising him, and is bound to give him a candid opinion of the merits and probable result of his cause. When the controversy will admit of it, he ought to seek to adjust it without litigation, if practicable.
35. Money, or other trust property, coming into the possession of the attorney should be promptly reported, and never commingled with his private property or used by him, except with the client's knowledge and consent.
36. Attorneys should, as far as possible, avoid becoming either borrowers or creditors of their clients; and they ought scrupulously to refrain from bargaining about the subject matter of the litigation, so long as the relation of attorney and client continues.
37. Natural solicitude of clients often prompts them to offer assistance of additional counsel. This should not be met, as it sometimes is, as evidence of want of confidence; but, after advising frankly with the client, it should be left to his determination.
38. Important agreements affecting the rights of clients should, as far as possible, be reduced to writing; but it is dishonorable to avoid performance of an agreement fairly made, because not reduced to writing, as required by rules of court.
39. Attorneys should not ignore known customs of practice of the Bar of a particular court, even when the law permits, without giving opposing counsel timely notice.
40. An attorney should not attempt to compromise with the opposite party without notifying his attorney, if practicable.
41. When attorneys jointly associated in a cause cannot agree as to any matter vital to the interest of their client, the course to be pursued should be left to his determination. The client's decision should be cheerfully acquiesced in, unless the nature of the difference makes it impracticable for the attorney to co-operate heartily and effectively, in which event it is his duty to be discharged.
42. An attorney ought not to engage in discussion or argument about the merits of the case with the opposite party without notice to his attorney.
43. Satisfactory relations between attorney and client are best preserved by a frank and explicit understanding at the out
set, as to the amount of the attorney's compensation; and, where it is possible, this should always be agreed on in advance.
44. In general, it is better to yield something to a client's dissatisfaction at the amount of the fee, though the sum be reasonable, than to engage in a law suit to justify it, which ought always to be avoided, except as a last resort to prevent imposition and fraud.
45. In fixing fees, the following elements should be considered: 1st. The time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, and the skill requisite properly to conduct the cause. 2d. Whether the particular case will debar the attorney's appearance for others in cases likely to arise out of the transaction and in which there is a reasonable expectation that the attorney would otherwise be employed; and herein of the loss of other business while employed in the particular case, and the antagonism with other clients growing out of the employment. 3d. The customary charges of the Bar for similar services. 4th. The real amount involved, and the benefit resulting from the service. 5th. Whether the compensation was contingent or assured. 6th. Is the client a regular one, retaining the attorney in all his business? No one of these considerations is in itself controlling. They are mere guides in ascertaining what the service was really worth; and, in fixing the amount, it should never be forgotten that the profession is a branch of the administration of justice, and not a mere money-getting trade.
46. Contingent fees may be contracted for; but they lead to many abuses, and certain compensation is to be preferred.
47. Casual and slight services should be rendered without charge by one attorney to another in his personal cause; but when the service goes beyond this, an attorney may be charged as other clients. Ordinary advice and services to the family of a deceased attorney should be rendered without charge in most instances, and where the circumstances make it proper to charge, the fees should generally be less than in case of other clients.
48. Witnesses and suitors should be treated with fairness and kindness. When essential to the ends of justice to arraign their conduct or testimony, it should be done without vilification or unnecessary harshness. Fierceness of manner and uncivil behavior can add nothing to the truthful dissection of a false witness's testimony, and often rob deserved strictures of proper weight.
49. It is the duty of the court and its officers to provide for the comfort of jurors. Displaying special concern for their comfort, and volunteering to ask favors for them while they are present-such as frequent motions to adjourn trials, or take a recess, solely on the ground of the jury's fatigue or hunger, the uncomfortableness of their seats or the court-room, and the like should be avoided. Such intervention of attorneys, when proper, ought to be had privately with the court, whereby there will be no appearance of fawning upon the jury, nor ground for ill-feeling of the jury toward the court or opposite counsel, if such requests are denied. For like reasons, one attorne should never ask another, in the presence of the jury, to consent to its discharge or dispersion; and when such a request is made by the court, the attorneys, without indicating their preference, should ask to be heard after the jury withdraws. And all propositions from counsel to dispense with argument should be made and discussed out of the hearing of the jury.
50. An attorney ought never to converse privately with jurors about the case; and must avoid all unnecessary communication, even as to matters foreign to the cause, both before and during the trial. Any other course, no matter how blameless the attorney's motives, gives color for imputing evil designs, and often leads to scandal in the administration of justice.
51. An attorney assigned as counsel for an indigent prisoner ought not to ask to be excused for any light cause, and should always be a friend to the defenceless and oppressed.