Client Steven Bristol was scheduled to have his deposition taken regarding his lawsuit against the city. He had forgotten when the deposition was scheduled but was certain it was coming up soon. He contacted his lawyer to ask for the date of the deposition. The secretary told him the attorney was in court but took his name and number and said he would ask the attorney to return Steven’s call. The attorney did not return Steven’s call, so two days later, Steven phoned the attorney again.
Again, the attorney did not return Steven’s call. Steven made two more attempts to contact the attorney for the deposition date and each time received the same reply from the secretary. Two weeks later, Steven was at work when he received a telephone call from his attorney’s secretary:
“Mr. Bristol! Where are you? We are all here in the office ready to take your deposition! We’re waiting for you. When will you be here?”
“What?” said Steven. “I had no idea my deposition was today. I’ve called you four times over the last two weeks to determine the date and could get no information at all! I have made no arrangements with my work to be gone this afternoon, and I have an important meeting to attend. What type of law firm do you run down there, anyway?! Tell the attorney that I want to speak to him immediately!”
Steven’s deposition had to be canceled; the court reporter was sent home, and Steven’s attorney and the city’s attorney wasted an afternoon because of lack of communication.
a. What do you suppose Steven’s response was when he received a bill for legal fees and court reporter costs for that afternoon?
b. How did this incident affect the attorney-client relationship?
c. How should the situation have been handled?
d. Which one of the five Cs of client relations does this situation illustrate?
e. What ethical obligation did the attorney violate?
f. How could a paralegal have helped in this situation?

  • CreatedFebruary 12, 2015
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