Client Control

Gary Muldoon

Note: This article was excerpted from The Education of a Lawyer, by Gary Muldoon, published by the American Bar Association. It is available at a discount to ABA Young Lawyers Division members.

About half the practice of a decent lawyer consists in telling would-be clients that they are damned fools and should stop.

—Elihu Root

A good attorney is one who can maintain “client control.”

In a lawsuit, the authority is divided between the client and the attorney.  Certain things are the absolute authority of the client—in a criminal case, for example, whether to plead guilty or to waive a jury trial—while strategic issues are the realm of the attorney.

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