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Thursday, April 28, 2016

ETHICS: When you need to let a client go...

A great question was asked about requirements of an attorney to maintain a client who was misbehaving. I responded as follows:

I have a current client who submitted an EAD application, against my explicit advice, through the help of his sponsor. Client was released on bond and is relying on the sponsor who is a well known individual in the community but who is not an attorney. I told the client that I would like to review any submission to USCIS before it is sent. I knew he was not eligible for employment authorization because he was not paroled and his asylum application has only been pending for 30 days, and I explained that to him until I was blue in the face! Client kept insisting that the sponsor knew what he was doing because he has “been doing this for 20 years.”

So, client went ahead and sent it anyway, then brought the documents to me afterwards. The information on the EAD application was not correct, including his current address and his basis for qualification. The sponsor also filled out the G-28 even though he is not an attorney or an accredited representative (I looked it up to make sure).

Client is in removal proceedings and I’m afraid that this type of application may result in a discretionary denial of his asylum application

I had a similar situation in a family law case in VA. Client decided to file a protective order against her spouse, didn’t tell us, and then refused to explain what the protective order was for – only that she was “told” to file it by a “good friend” who was a clerk at the Court. Completely wrecked our representation in Court and our attempt to work out a solution with the other side. Moral of the store – we fired her.

I teach new attorneys at my firm that (a) the client tells us what they want – what the end objectives are, and (b) we tell them what law and tactics we will use. If they don’t like the law/tactics, then they can go somewhere else. But the client cannot tell us what law/tactics to use, or try to strong arm the legal process themselves. Ever.

Your client is not cooperating with you, prejudicing his case, and potentially opening you up to false representation to the Court. Further, they are mocking your ability to strategize and actually move the case along in a proper manner. That would (and has in the past) infuriate me.

I would explain to him that he is paying good money to have you lead him through the immigration jungle. If he does not intend to follow your advice, you will refund any remaining monies in IOLTA (or operations) that have not been used and allow him to continue on his own.

Do you have questions about ethics or client management? Contact us! We're glad to chat. 1-800-579-9864 or admin@hanoverlawpc.com.

Hanover Law, PC
Offices in Fairfax, VA and Washington, DC
www.hanoverlawpc.com
2751 Prosperity Ave, Ste 150
Fairfax, VA 22031
Sean R. Hanover, Esq.
Stephen Salwierak, Esq.
1-800-579-9864
admin@hanoverlawpc.com