Working with lawyers

Working with lawyers

What makes a lawyer?

• Legal education at university
• Law and rules about practice and ethics
• Practical legal training and experience

Ethical duties of lawyers

• to court
• to clients
• to the profession

What is involved in the duty to the client?

• Lawyer must act in the best interests of their client
o not in interests of someone else, like a company, government, or their employer
o not in the lawyer’s own interests
• Lawyer must act on instructions
• Lawyer must avoid conflict of interest
• Duty of confidentiality
• Fiduciary obligation

What if the lawyer doesn't behave in an appropriate way?

• Complaints can be made
• Lawyer can be struck off

Legal professional privilege

• Covers conversations and documents done for purpose of giving legal advice or for litigation
o e.g. anthropologist's and other reports
• It is the client’s privilege. The lawyer cannot tell anyone about privileged matters without client’s instructions
• Allows proper advice to be given and proper preparation of case

What sort of work do lawyers do?

• Take instructions about the client’s legal issue and legal action that might be needed
• Provide advice about the best legal strategy and possible outcomes
• Prepare documents for Court or dealing with the other party:
o Objections o Comments o Affidavits
o Submissions
• Negotiate with lawyers for the other parties
• Draft contracts
• Argue the case before the Court or NNTT on the hearing of objections or determination applications, if necessary

Structure of legal profession

Solicitor:
• Takes initial instructions
• First contact for client – looks after all of client’s legal interests
• Does a lot of the preparatory work

Barrister:
• Briefed by solicitor for specific matter
• Often specialists in particular area of law
• Expert advocates in Court
• Independent – do not work for anyone

Costs
• How is the lawyer to be paid?
• Is there a costs agreement that controls how much the lawyer is paid?
• What about paying the other side's costs if we lose?