Client's Rights

Matrimonial/Family Law STATEMENT OF CLIENT'S RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES SALTZMAN CHETKOF & ROSENBERG LLP is providing you with this document to inform you of what you, as a client, are entitled to by law or by custom. To help prevent a misunderstanding between you and your attorneys, please read this document carefully. If you have any questions about these rights or about the way your case is being handled, do not hesitate to ask your attorney. He or she should be readily available to represent your best interests and keep you informed about your case. An attorney may not refuse to represent you on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin or disability. You are entitled to an attorney who will be capable of handling your case, show you courtesy and consideration at all times, represent you zealously and preserve your confidences and secrets that are revealed in the course of the relationship. You are entitled to a written retainer agreement which must set forth in plain language, the nature of the relationship and the details of the fee arrangement. At your request, and before you sign the agreement, you are entitled to have your attorney clarify in writing any terms or additional provisions. You are entitled to fully understand the proposed rates and retainer fee before you sign an agreement, as in any other contract. You may refuse to enter into any fee arrangement you find unsatisfactory. Your attorney may not request a fee that is contingent on the securing of a divorce or on the amount of money or property that may be obtained. Your attorney may not request a retainer fee that is non-refundable. That is should you discharge your attorney, or should your attorney withdraw from the case before the retainer is used up, he or she is entitled to be paid commensurate with the work performed on your case and any expenses, but must return the balance of retainer to you. However, your attorney may enter into a minimum fee arrangement with you that provides for the payment of a specific amount below which the fee will not fall based upon handling the case to its conclusion. You are entitled to know the approximate number of attorney and other legal staff members who will be working on your case at any given time and what you will be charged for the services of each. You are entitled to know in advance how you will be asked to pay legal fees and expenses and how the retainer, if any, will be spent. At your request, and after your attorney has had a reasonable opportunity to investigate your case, you are entitled to be given an estimate of approximate future costs of your case, which estimate shall be made in good faith but may be subject to change due to facts and circumstances affecting the case. You are entitled to receive a written, itemized bill on a regular basis, at least every 60 days. You are expected to review the itemized bills sent by counsel and to raise any objections or errors in a timely manner. Time spent in discussion or explanation of bills will not be charged to you. You are expected to be truthful in all discussions with your attorney and to provide all relevant information and documentation to enable him or her to competently prepare your case. You are entitled to be kept informed of the status of your case and to be provided with copies of correspondence and documents prepared on your behalf or received from the court or your adversary. You have the right to be present in court at the time that conferences are held. You are entitled to make the ultimate decision on the objectives to be pursued in your case and to make the final decision regarding the settlement of your case. Your attorney's written retainer agreement must specify under what circumstances he or she might seek to withdraw as your attorney for nonpayment of legal fees. If an action or proceeding is pending, the court may give your attorney a "charging lien", which entitles your attorney to payment for services already rendered at the end of the case out of the proceeds of the final order or judgment. You are under no legal obligation to sign a confession of judgment or promissory note or to agree to a lien or mortgage on your home to cover legal fees. Your attorney's written retainer agreement must specify whether, and under what circumstances such security may be requested. In no event may such security interest be obtained by your attorney without prior court approval and notice to your adversary. An attorney's security interest in the marital residence cannot be foreclosed against you. You are entitled to have your attorney's best efforts exerted on your behalf but no particular results can be guaranteed. If you entrust money with an attorney for an escrow deposit in your case, the attorney must safeguard the escrow in a special bank account. You are entitled to a written escrow agreement, a written receipt, and a complete record concerning the escrow. When the terms of the escrow agreement have been performed, the attorney must promptly make payment of the escrow to all persons who are entitled to it. In the event of a fee dispute, you may have the right to seek arbitration. Your attorney will provide you with the necessary information regarding arbitration in the event of a fee dispute, or upon your request. NOTE: This Statement is not a Retainer Agreement and does not obligate you to retain us nor does it serve to require Saltzman Chetkof & Rosenberg LLP to provide you with any legal advice or to represent you in relation to any legal matter. Proper retention may be effectuated upon compliance with the rules set forth in the "Matrimonial Rules" (22 NYCRR Part 1600).

General STATEMENT OF CLIENT'S RIGHTS 1. You are entitled to be treated with courtesy and consideration at all times by your lawyer and the other lawyers and non-lawyer personnel in your lawyer's office. 2. You are entitled to have your attorney handle your legal matter competently and diligently, in accordance with the highest standards of the profession. If you are not satisfied with how your matter is being handled, you have the right to discharge your attorney and terminate the attorney-client relationship at any time. (Court approval may be required in some matters, and your attorney may have a claim against you for the value of services rendered to you up to the point of discharge.) 3. You are entitled to your lawyer's independent professional judgment and undivided loyalty uncompromised by conflicts of interest.  4. You are entitled to be charged reasonable fees and expenses and to have your lawyer explain before or within a reasonable time after commencement of the representation how the fees and expenses will be computed and the manner and frequency of billing. You are entitled to request and receive a written bill from your attorney at reasonable intervals. You may refuse to enter into any arrangement for fees and expenses that you find unsatisfactory. In the event of a fee dispute, you may have the right to seek arbitration; your attorney will provide you with the necessary information regarding arbitration in the event of a fee dispute, or upon your request. 5. You are entitled to have your questions and concerns addressed promptly and to receive a prompt reply to your letters, telephone calls, emails, faxes, and other communications. 6. You are entitled to be kept reasonably informed as to the status of your matter and are entitled to have your attorney promptly comply with your reasonable requests for information, including your requests for copies of papers relevant to the matter. You are entitled to sufficient information to allow you to participate meaningfully in the development of your matter and make informed decisions regarding the representation.  7. You are entitled to have your legitimate objectives respected by your attorney. In particular, the decision of whether to settle your matter is yours and not your lawyer’s. (Court approval of a settlement is required in some matters.) 8. You have the right to privacy in your communications with your lawyer and to have your confidential information preserved by your lawyer to the extent required by law.  9. You are entitled to have your attorney conduct himself or herself ethically in accordance with the New York Rules of Professional Conduct. 10. You are entitled to be represented without regard to race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin or disability.