An attorney has following duties towards his clients:
One major function of an attorney is to keenly represent his client in front of the court. He has to take into consideration all the evidences, testify all the witnesses rigorously and thoroughly, to do all the required paper work, exercise every law he can to defend his client and prove him innocent in front of the court. But he must also consider that whatever he does to prove his client’s innocence, he does so by remaining n the boundaries of law. A criminal attorney may also face conflict of interest when it comes to protecting his own job, serving the law and defending his client.
Another major responsibility of a criminal attorney is the privileged communication he has with his client. He is bound to keep all the discussions between himself and his client. This communication is allowed to be so by the law. Law protects this kind of communication between the attorney and his client. But this status of privileged communication no longer exists if the client discloses the discussion with a third person who is not a part of this contract. The discussion between a client and his attorney is considered to be privileged if it takes place in a closed room where no one else can listen.
Proper communication and guidance
One big duty of an attorney is to be available to the client for communication and inform him about any updates in his case. The client should have proper means to correspond with his attorney and discuss anything he wants. But, sometimes, the court order refrain him to communicate something specific to the client. In such a case, the attorney should follow the court order. Similarly, it is the duty of the attorney to do all the required documentation related to the client’s case as small negligence in this matter may harm the case.
Loyalty towards the client
There is no doubt to the fact that the criminal attorney should be loyal to his client. His first duty should be for the benefit of his client. If he has a bad repute, no one will choose him to handle the case. But he should also consider what his responsibility is towards the court and law. He should not commit something that causes conflict of interest.
Duty towards law
This is true that the sole responsibility of an attorney is to defend his client but he also holds some responsibility towards the law and the court. An attorney should, under no circumstances, lie to the court or the jury. He should use all his expertise to defend his client but care should be taken that he is not lying to the court. If he knows that his client is committing perjury, it is his duty to inform the court about the same even if it means disclosing the privileged communication with his client to the court. This is where the conflict of interest arises and it all depends upon the skills of the attorney how he handles such a situation.