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Hot Topics: You and your lawyer

Having a legal problem can be intimidating. This issue will help you to understand the role of lawyers and includes practical information about how to work with a lawyer, lawyers duties, ethics, costs and complaints.

Author note

This online issue was updated in October 2015 by Georgia Millar, Office of the Legal Services Commissioner. The issue is based on the previous edition, written by Lynda Muston, Office of the Legal Services Commissioner. LIAC wishes to thank the Office of the Legal Services Commissioner for their assistance with this issue.

This online version of You and your lawyer was revised and updated in December 2015 to reflect changes to the law following the introduction of the Legal Profession Uniform Law, Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act 2014.

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Chapter one


The legal profession - what qualifications do lawyers have? - solicitors - barristers.

Chapter two

Dealing with legal problems

Do you need a lawyer? - finding and choosing a lawyer - legal information - legal help.

Chapter three

Working with lawyers

Lawyer/client relationship - Does the lawyer have to take on the work? - first interview - discussing costs - communication with your lawyer - What are instructions? - Who owns the documents? - questions for your lawyer - alternative dispute resolution.

Chapter four

Professional responsibility

Competence and promptness - national legal profession reform - case study: poor preparation - duty to account - fiduciary duties - case study: "loans" to solicitor - confidentiality - conflict of interests - duty to the court.

Chapter five

Costs and charges

How are costs calculated? - what are legal costs? - does my lawyer have to give me a quote? - costs agreements - costs assessment - liens - what are disbursements? - case study: overcharging.


Hot Topics 78: You and your lawyer. Hot Topics is intended as an introductory guide only and should not be interpreted as legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information, the Legal Information Access Centre does not assume responsibility for any errors or omissions.

© Library Council of New South Wales 2015. Copyright in Hot Topics is owned by the Library Council of New South Wales. Material contained herein may be copied for the non-commercial purpose of study or research, subject to the provisions of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).