What are my obligations in dealing with my attorney?

What are rights when dealing with a law office?

What do you mean when you say there are potential collateral consequences to a criminal arrest?

What should I do if I am accused of a crime?

What does it cost to hire an attorney?

Q: What are my obligations in dealing with my attorney?

  1. The client is expected to treat the lawyer and lawyer´s staff with courtesy and consideration.
  2. The client´s relationship with the lawyer must be one of complete candor and the lawyer must be apprised of all facts or circumstances of the matter being handled by the lawyer even if the client believes that those facts may be detrimental to the client´s cause or unflattering to the client.
  3. The client must honor the fee arrangement as agreed to with the lawyer, in accordance with the law.
  5. All bills for services rendered which are tendered to the client pursuant to the agreed upon fee arrangement should be paid promptly.
  6. The client may withdraw from the attorney-client relationship, subject to financial commitments under the agreed to fee arrangement, and, in certain circumstances, subject to court approval.
  8. Although the client should expect that his or her correspondence, telephone calls and other communications will be answered within a reasonable time frame, the client should recognize that the lawyer has other clients equally demanding of the lawyer´s time and attention.
  9. The client should maintain contact with the lawyer, promptly notify the lawyer of any change in telephone number or address and respond promptly to a request by the lawyer for information and cooperation.
  10. The client must realize that the lawyer need respect only legitimate objectives of the client and that the lawyer will not advocate or propose positions which are unprofessional or contrary to law or the Lawyer´s Code of Professional Responsibility. The lawyer may be unable to accept a case of the lawyer has previous professional commitments which will result in inadequate time being available for the proper representation of a new client.
  11. A lawyer is under no obligation to accept a client if the lawyer determines that the cause of the client is without merit, a conflict of interest would exist or that a suitable working relationship with the client is not likely.

Q: What are my rights when dealing with a law office?

  1. You are entitled to be treated with courtesy and consideration at all times by your lawyer and the other lawyers and personal in your lawyer´s office.
  2. You are entitled to an attorney capable of handling your legal matter competently and diligently, in accordance with the highest standards of the profession. If you are not satisfied with how your matter is being handled, you have the right to withdraw from the attorney-client relationship at any time (court approval may be required in some matters and your attorney may have a claim against you for the value of services rendered to you up to the point of discharge).
  3. You are entitled to your lawyer´s independent professional judgment and undivided loyalty uncompromised by conflicts of interest.
  4. You are entitled to be charged a reasonable fee and to have your lawyer explain at the outset how the fee will be computed and the manner and frequency of billing. You are entitled to request and receive a written itemized bill from your attorney at reasonable intervals. You may refuse to enter into any fee arrangement that you find unsatisfactory. You are entitled to have your questions and concerns addressed in a prompt manner and to have your telephone calls returned promptly.
  5. You are entitled to be kept informed as to the status of your matter and to request and receive copies of papers. You are entitled to sufficient information to allow you to participate meaningfully in the development of your matter.
  6. You are entitled to have your legitimate objectives respected by your attorney, including whether or not to settle your matter (court approval of a settlement is required in some matters).
  7. You have the right to privacy in your dealings with your lawyer and to have your secrets and confidences preserved to the extent permitted by law.
  8. You are entitled to have your attorney conduct himself or herself ethically in accordance with the Code of Professional Responsibility.
  9. You may not be refused representation on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin or disability.

Q: What do you mean when you say there are potential collateral consequences to a criminal arrest?

More often than not, a client who is accused of a criminal offense may suffer collateral consequence as a result of that arrest. These include, but are not limited to loss of certain rights and privileges such as driving privileges, license privileges, asset forfeiture consequences, immigration status consequences (permits and employment licenses), loss of contact with certain individuals in the event an order of protection is a consequences of your arrest and conviction, and loss of custody and or visitation with children in the event of certain sex and non sexual offenses. Many people do not realize that there are not only criminal penalties associated with certain criminal offenses but also potential employment consequences. The office is well versed in a variety of these areas and you are urged to ask particular questions regarding your particular situation.

Q: What should I do if I am accused of a crime?

You are best served by immediately contacting an experienced attorney who is capable of handling the particular offense of which you have been accused. In the event you are confronted by a law enforcement official who is questioning you about the possible commission of a criminal offense, it is always in your best interest to contact your lawyer immediately. Do not ask the law enforcement official if you should hire a lawyer or in the event you cannot afford one you should always ask for one. It is rarely in the client´s best interest to waive counsel but rather the client should insist upon the enforcement of his/her constitutional right to remain silent and consult with an attorney before answering any questions. Always be polite but firm. It is rarely, if ever, in your best interest to proceed without proper legal representation.

Q: What does it cost to hire an attorney?

There is no set fee for legal services in any given matter. Most experienced attorneys quote you a fee after interviewing you about your particular needs as well as the background and circumstances of your individual case. While legal fees vary from office to office, the fee is dependent upon the lawyer´s particular experience in the field, the client´s particular circumstances, and the results you expect to achieve.

Fees in this office are based on a case by case basis and are confirmed in a written letter of engagement or retainer agreement negotiated between you as a client and the office. Clients are always urged to have an open discussion with their attorney about the fees that will be charged for services rendered and the expected costs of handling your unique situation.


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Sal Piemonte assisted our son in one of the most highly publicized criminal cases in Onondaga County.

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