United States District Court
Northern District Of Illinois
LR83.51.2. Scope of Representation
(a) A lawyer shall abide by a client’s decisions concerning the objectives of representation, subject to sections
(c), (d), and (e), and shall consult with the client as to the means by which
they are to be pursued. A lawyer shall abide by a client’s decision whether to accept an offer of settlement of a matter. In a criminal
case, the lawyer shall abide by the client’s decision, after disclosure by the lawyer, as to a plea to be entered,
whether to waive jury trial and whether the client will testify.
(b) A lawyer’s representation of a client, including representation by appointment, does
not constitute an endorsement of the client’s political, economic, social or moral views or activities.
(c) A lawyer may limit the objectives of the representation if the client consents
(d) A lawyer shall not counsel a client to engage, or assist a client, in conduct
that the lawyer knows is criminal or fraudulent, but a lawyer may discuss the
legal consequences of any proposed course of conduct with a client and may
counsel or assist a client to make a good-faith effort to determine the validity,
scope, meaning or application of the law.
(e) A lawyer shall not present, participate in presenting, or threaten to present
criminal charges or professional disciplinary actions to obtain an advantage in
a civil matter.
(f) In representation of a client, a lawyer shall not:
(1) file a suit, assert a position, conduct a defense, delay a trial or take other
action on behalf of the client when the lawyer knows or reasonably should know
that such action would serve merely to harass or maliciously injure another;
(2) advance a claim or defense the lawyer knows is unwarranted under existing law,
except that the lawyer may advance such claim or defense if it can be
supported by a good-faith argument for an extension, modification, or reversal of
existing law; or
(3) fail to disclose that which the lawyer is required by law to reveal.
(g) A lawyer who knows a client has, in the course of the representation,
perpetrated a fraud upon a person or tribunal shall promptly call upon the client to
rectify the same, and if the client refuses or is unable to do so, the lawyer
shall reveal the fraud to the affected person or tribunal, except when the
information is protected as a privileged communication.
(h) A lawyer who knows that a person other than the client has perpetrated a fraud
upon a tribunal shall promptly reveal the fraud to the tribunal.
(i) When a lawyer knows that a client expects assistance not permitted by these
rules of professional conduct or other law, the lawyer shall consult with the
client regarding the relevant limitations on the lawyer’s conduct.
Committee Comment. Scope of Representation. Both lawyers and clients have authority and responsibility in the objectives
and means of representation. The client has the ultimate authority to determine
the purpose to be served by legal representation, within the limits imposed by
law and the lawyer’s professional obligations. Within those limits, a client also has a right to
consult with the lawyer about the means to be used in pursuing those
objectives. At the same time, a lawyer is not required to pursue objectives or employ
means simply because a client may wish that the lawyer do so. A clear distinction
between objectives and means sometimes cannot be drawn, and in many cases the
client-lawyer relationship partakes of a joint undertaking. In questions of
means, the lawyer should assume responsibility for technical and legal tactical
issues, but should defer to the client regarding such questions as the expense to
be incurred and concern for third persons who might be adversely affected.
In a case in which the client appears to be suffering mental disability, the
lawyer’s duty to abide by the client’s decisions is to be guided by reference to LR83.51.14.
Independence from Client's Views or Activities. Legal representation should not be denied to people who are unable to afford
legal services, or whose cause is controversial or the subject of popular
disapproval. By the same token, representing a client does not constitute approval of
the client’s views or activities.
Services Limited in Objectives or Means. The objectives or scope of services provided by a lawyer may be limited by
agreement with the client or by the terms under which the lawyer’s services are made available to the client. For example, a retainer may be
for a specifically defined purpose. Representation provided through a legal aid
agency may be subject to limitation on the types of cases the agency handles.
When a lawyer has been retained by an insurer to represent an insured, the
representation may be limited to matters related to the insurance coverage. The terms
upon which representation in undertaken may exclude specific objectives or
means. Such limitations may exclude objectives or means that the lawyer regards as
repugnant or imprudent.
An agreement concerning the scope of representation must accord with the rules
of professional conduct and other law. Thus, the client may not be asked to
agree to representation so limited in scope as to violate LR83.51.1, or to
surrender the right to terminate the lawyer’s services or the right to settle litigation that the lawyer may wish to
Criminal, Fraudulent and Prohibited Transactions. A lawyer is required to give an honest opinion about the actual consequences
that appear likely to result from a client’s conduct. The fact that a client uses advice in a course of action that is
criminal or fraudulent does not, of itself, make a lawyer a party to the course
of action. However, a lawyer may not knowingly assist a client in criminal or
fraudulent conduct. There is a critical distinction between presenting an
analysis of legal aspects of questionable conduct and recommending the means by which
a crime or fraud might be committed with impunity.
When the client’s course of action has already begun and is continuing, the lawyer’s responsibility is especially delicate. The lawyer is not permitted to reveal
the client’s wrongdoing, except where permitted by LR83.51.2(g) or LR83.51.6. However,
the lawyer is required to avoid furthering the purpose, for example, by
suggesting how it might be concealed. A lawyer may not continue assisting a client in
conduct that the lawyer originally supposes is legally proper but then discovers
is criminal and fraudulent. Withdrawal from the representation, therefore, may
Where the client is a fiduciary, the lawyer may be charged with special
obligations in dealings with a beneficiary.
Section (d) applies whether or not the defrauded party is a party to the
transaction. Hence a lawyer should not participate in a sham transaction; for
example, a transaction to effectuate criminal or fraudulent escape of tax liability.
Section (d) does not preclude undertaking a criminal defense incident to a
general retainer for legal services to a lawful enterprise. The last clause of
section (d) recognizes that determining the validity or interpretation of a statute
or regulation may require a course of action involving disobedience of the
statute or regulation or of the interpretation placed upon it by governmental