Does a lawyer have to agree with client 100%?

A friend of mine is going through a bitter divorce, it’s going to court. During the divorce he was in a very bad car wreck - broken back and lots of screws/plates in his back. Medical bills so far are $400k and he was out of work for 3 months. He was stopped at a stoplight and hit from behind by a car estimated to be doing 60 mph. He’s lucky to be alive and not paralyzed.

His wife is planning on telling the court his wreck was his own fault, I guess she says it’s a scheme to pay her less money. I’m pretty sure the judge will laugh that out of court. My question is does her lawyer have to make this ridiculous argument in court? Is his only option to make this argument or quit the case?

Lawyers do what their clients tell them to do (as long as it’s legal). They can dissuade the client from doing something, but if the client insists, you have to do as they direct you.

I was on a jury for a case where the lawyers begged their clients to take a plea, but the clients insisted on going to trial.

I don’t believe a lawyer can support perjury though, so if the wife knows it wasn’t the husband’s fault she would be lying.

Was she in the car? How on Earth would she know whether the wreck was his fault?

And as for the original question, no expert has to agree with their clients on anything. Whether the expert has to do something against his own best judgment is a different question.

“The customer is always right” isn’t a principle, it’s a con. Part of the job of an expert is, precisely, telling their clients when they’re trying to do something really stupid.

There are certain things that are exclusively the province of the client: whether to take a plea/enter a settlement; whether to testify in a criminal trial.

Then there are things that are the province of the lawyer, in terms of strategy: what witnesses to call, what defense to raise, what questions to ask.

Now, if the lawyer and the client are completely apart as to strategy, it might create an “irreconcilable difference” that causes the lawyer to move to withdraw. But the lawyer doesn’t have to raise an argument they do not have good faith to raise.

(In terms of allowing a client to lie: a lawyer should not facilitate a lie; but, a lawyer can take his or her client’s side, and give them the benefit of the doubt. So, if she tells her lawyer that she thinks this was a ploy to reduce the amount owed, the lawyer can raise it, unless he had some specific and identifiable reason to know otherwise).

he has the police report that says he was not at fault in the accident . I guess she could argue the police are in on the scheme too.

Also they had a retired judge mediator to try to settle the case. The mediator said she’s asking for stuff such as alimony that she will not get in court but she is not dropping those requests . I think she just cannot accept reality in terms of the divorce.

This doesn’t make sense to me. What am I missing? :confused:

Seems to me the guy would be able to sue for a butt-load if the accident wasn’t his fault, and the wife could try to grab some of that sweet cash.

he is looking into a lawsuit against the other driver but right now he’s focused on his medical recovery , I think that is the right move for now.

Also it’s a little bit more complex than most cases because he lives in NC and the accident was in Indiana. He would have to hire a lawyer up there and file the case there rather than here in NC.

Not quite.

A lawyer’s paramount duty is to the court and the administration of justice.

In terms of client instructions, the rule in my jurisdiction is that the lawyer must follow their client’s ‘lawful, proper and competent’ instructions.

A lawyer doesn’t have to do as their client directs. If you don’t agree with the client you can try to change their mind. And if they won’t change their mind, you can quit and tell them to find another lawyer. There are some exceptions, like in the middle of a trial, and some others.

But if you are a divorce attorney and your client wants you to do something unethical you can just refuse, and if the client doesn’t like it they’ll have to find another lawyer to take the case.

The way I read it and inferred by the OP’s post, she’s trying to get what she can out of the divorce now. Settlements can take years to resolve and even if her husband wins, there’s no guarantee he’ll receive the money. I could be sued for a million dollars and if I have insurance for what happened, they’ll pay up the limit of my coverage and leave the rest for me to pay. Since I don’t have even a fraction of a million dollars, the plaintiff will never get the full amount. Can’t get blood out of a (poor) stone! :stuck_out_tongue:

Edit: Also, AFAIK, his medical bills, rehab and reasonable living costs come first. Can’t get blood out of a (broken) stone!