client is, in a very real sense, the boss in the law office.
It is the client who must make the major decisions in his or
her case. This is for two reasons.
First, the Rules of Professional Conduct
require the lawyer to leave these to the client. The ethical duty of a lawyer
is to inform a client of the important issues and consequences and then let
the client make the major choices in his or her case. The canons of ethics
under which lawyers operate impose this duty on us.
The second reason is that, in reality,
it is your case and not the attorney's. It is your obligation to decide these
matters which so vitally involve you. The lawyer has no business in telling
you, for instance, what is "enough child support" for you to receive or whether
you should pay alimony or not. It is you (in these examples) who would be
receiving the child support or paying the alimony, not the lawyer. While
the lawyer's guidance is important, it is you that must make such major decisions
At the same time, there are other matters
which must be decided by the lawyer in your case. These are not major policy
decisions, but rather tactical decisions that our training in the law helps
us make. Issues such as how to question a witness, what approach to use in
the argument to the judge or jury, or what motions to present to the court
ought to be made by your lawyer. You are free, of course, to ask us about
these matters or to give suggestions or offer criticism. In the final analysis,
these tactical decisions should be made by the lawyer using his best judgment,
just as the major policy decisions ought to be made by you, with the guidance
and information provided by us.