ETHICS WEEK 6 CLIENT INTERVIEW
:: MEANING AND PURPOSE OF CLIENT INTERVIEW AND COUNSELLING:
– To elicit relevant facts and information from client. (Although he should not take everything hook, line and sinker).
– To analyse client’s story and determine where legal issues arise.
– To ascertain how to go about a solution.
– To proffer advice and the way forward.
:: STAGES OF CLIENT INTERVIEW AND COUNSELLING. It depends on the author. This is my model which features a mix of Avrom and Sher and Byrne and Grimes Model.
– Preparation for the Interview: time, date and place (preferably in Counsel’s office… save in exceptional situations-Rule 22 RPC).
– Commencing the interview: Meet and greet, introduce client on sequence of interview, inform and assure client of confidentiality.
– Listening Stage: Allow Client to tell his story. The Lawyer should be patient, attentive… empathic and convincing in his body language. This would lure client to disclose all. He may note vital areas and have an interview plan handy so as to cover vital areas and narrow elicitation.
– Questioning Stage: lawyer asks clients questions to better understand the facts or to narrow client’s supply of information to most vital. He should not turn this into an interrogation.
– Analysis Stage: based on the information elicited so far, the lawyer should competently appraise the legal issues arising and possible course(s) of action.
– Advising Stage: fairly and candidly let client know the possible strength, weaknesses and course(s) of action-Rule 14. Inform client of ADR if matter is amenable to ADR-Rule 15. No champerty, maintenance, crime, or advise to corrupt public officer.
– Concluding Stage: Counsel leaves Client with remedial options to pick one and lets him know the consequences of each… without importuning. Parties arrange for any other meetings (if any) and correspondences or documents to be exchanged/furnished. In such a way that both parties are in the know of next steps.
:: CRITERIA FOR EFFECTIVE CLIENT INTERVIEWING AND COUNSELLING:
– Warm atmosphere (preferably in Lawyer’s Office) and professional relationship. – Good listening skill and empathy; – Good Analysis and appraisal Skill: facts vis a vis the law and ethical issues arising; – Good Communication Skills, – Effectively concluding the interview.
:: INVOLVEMENT IN CORRUPTION BY LAWYERS
:: SUGGEST SPECIFICALLY WHAT LAWYERS COULD DO TO MAKE THE LEGAL SYSTEM TO BE FREE FROM CORRUPTION.
DUTY OF CLIENT TO COUNSEL:
Pay professional fees including other expenses. Counsel may sue to recover fees-Bakare v Okenla, Oyo v Mercantile Bank Ltd. He may apply to court for a charge on property or right of lien until fees are paid-Rule 17. Need court order in that regard-Ayorinde v Scott, Allen v Gold Reefs.