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Lawyer and Client

Lawyer and Client: Who's in Charge

Douglas E. Rosenthal
Copyright Date: 1974
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Lawyer and Client
    Book Description:

    To what extent can and should people participate in dealing with the personal problems they bring to consulting professionals? This book presents two alternative models for the conduct of such professional-client relationships as those between lawyers and clients and doctors and patients. One model, called the traditional, prescribes a role of minimal participation for the client. The other, called the participatory, prescribes a role of decision-making shared by the client and the professional. After presenting the two models and their implications, the book systematically tests their validity in a case study of the lawyer-client relationship in the making of personal injury claims.

    The distinctive feature of this work is a sophisticated and objective test of the traditional proposition that passive clients get better results than active clients. Evidence drawn from a sample of actual cases of personal injury claimants reveals that active clients in fact fare significantly better than passive clients.

    The book is important and novel in four respects: it offers the first clear and realistic proposal for increasing the control people can have over the complex problems they bring to professionals; it presents concrete evidence that lay participation in complex decision making need not be inefficient; it gives practical advice to clients and to lawyers for dealing with each other more effectively and it presents a comprehensive picture of the actual and often dramatic experiences of accident victims, and what it is like to make a personal injury claim.

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-160-5
    Subjects: Law, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Tables and Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    The traditional professions of law, medicine, and science are in trouble with the public and with themselves. As this is written, lawyers are asking and being asked why so many of those implicated in the immoral and illegal activities of the Watergate affair are lawyers; how widespread is the corruption of lawyers? Physicians and surgeons are being confronted with evidence that many existing health care services, even for the middle class, are inferior, and that much of the surgery which is performed is unnecessary; and government sponsored scientific research, heretofore thought proper, is being challenged for incidents of inhumanity, as...

  6. Chapter One: Traditional and Participatory Models of the Professional-Client Relationship
    (pp. 7-28)

    There are two ideas about the proper distribution of power in professional consulting relationships. The traditional idea is that both parties are best served by the professional’s assuming broad control over solutions to the problems brought by the client. The contradictory view is that both client and consultant gain from a sharing of control over many of the decisions arising out of the relationship. The traditional view has been more systematically elaborated as part of a larger theory of professional service–especially by sociologists specializing in the study of professionalization in medicine.¹ This view is traditional in the sense that...

  7. Chapter Two: The Relationship between Client Participation and Case Result in Personal Injury Claims
    (pp. 29-62)

    The traditional model proposes that the client who participates actively in problem solving, who shares in controlling the decisions relevant to his problems, will likely end up no better off–and probably in a poorer position–than the client who passively delegates decision making to the professional. The participatory model posits the opposite result. This chapter will test the proposition that participating clients get poorer results than nonparticipating clients. To do this, we need to determine and measure meaningful indicators of client participation and case result. The data about client participation and case worth is taken from extended personal interviews...

  8. Chapter Three: The Nature of Personal Injury Problems
    (pp. 63-94)

    The appropriateness of any model of professional-client interaction depends on the way one views the problems which are the subject of that interaction. It has been suggested that the problems clients bring to professionals tend to be viewed in one of two ways, essentially either as (1) clear choices which professionals are trained to make with a high degree of certainty according to relatively standardized and objective criteria—choices and criteria which, furthermore, tend to be inaccessible to lay comprehension or as (2) open choices, with a high degree of uncertainty, upon which professionals are trained to focus, but which...

  9. Chapter Four: Conflicts of Interest between Lawyer and Client in Personal Injury Problem-Solving
    (pp. 95-116)

    An attorney plays many roles while performing his work. In the abstract, he is supposed to serve as an “officer of the court” maintaining “the public interest.” Concretely, he deals with judges and court clerks in relationships continuing beyond any individual client’s case. He builds and maintains contacts with claims adjusters, defense lawyers, and medical witnesses in the role of negotiating intermediary between the claimant and the insurer. He tries to project an attractive image to potential client markets–both to the lay public and to colleagues who may refer cases to him. Concurrently, he tries to avoid difficulties with...

  10. Chapter Five: Client Access to Effective Legal Service in Personal Injury Problem-Solving
    (pp. 117-142)

    To what extent do clients have a problem finding effective legal representation? To the extent that the legal profession sets and maintains high and thoroughly enforced standards of legal service, clients need not be concerned with problems of choice in finding a lawyer; virtually any lawyer in good standing can be relied upon to give competent service. If greater client selectivity is appropriate, to what extent do and should clients have access to appropriate criteria of lawyer selection? In Chapter 1 it was suggested that each model of professional-client relationships had distinctive answers to these questions. In this chapter we...

  11. Chapter Six: Principles and Policies Governing Professional-Client Relationships
    (pp. 143-178)

    In Chapter 1 a traditional model for the conduct of professional-client relationships, widely accepted by professionals, by laymen, and by social commentators on the professions, was delineated. This model is both normative and descriptive: it is both a statement of the ideal standards by which such relationships ought to be governed and a statement of the way these relationships usually are conducted in reality. The traditional model was stated in terms of six propositions. The central proposition is that clients who trustingly and passively delegate responsibility for the decisions involving their problems get better results in dealing with their problems...

  12. Appendix A: The Research Method
    (pp. 179-208)
  13. Appendix B: Rules Regarding Personal Injury Claims of Supreme Court Appellate Division First Department
    (pp. 209-218)
  14. Index
    (pp. 219-228)