What is Diligence in the Practice of Law?

A person considering becoming a lawyer or working in a related law profession may want to know, “What is diligence in the practice of law?” This is important because it helps a person understand what a lawyer’s obligations are once they are licensed to practice law in a particular lace. Diligence in the practice of law also has a big effect on the clients of a lawyer.

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Earnest and Persistent Work on Behalf of a Client

A big part of what diligence is in the practice of law relates to how earnest a lawyer is in working on behalf of their client. For example, a lawyer who takes on too many clients in an effort to boost their own income might not be able to diligent work for all of them. Persistence is another part of diligence. It involves not stopping after one attempt to get information, investigate or compel witnesses to speak on behalf of their client.

Degree of Care in the Work Performed

Another part of diligence in the practice of law is the degree of care in the work performed by the lawyer. The lawyer should have a vested interest in the outcome for their client. The level of care that the lawyer puts into their information-seeking, depositions, negotiations and other services will play a big role in the outcome of a case. A lawyer who is diligent in seeking the relevant information about a case might be able to get a better out-of-court settlement for an accident victim or a shorter prison sentence or smaller fine for a person who has committed a criminal act.

Use of Reasonable Skill and Knowledge

When it comes to the practice of law, a lawyer is expected to use a reasonable level of skill and knowledge when handling their client’s case. This includes diligence when filing documents with the court, entering negotiations with another party, negotiating contracts and communicating with clients. If a lawyer fails to do their work with diligence, a client may have recourse in court. If a lawyer is found to not be acting in the client’s interest and not living up to the standards of practice for lawyers, they could find themselves facing legal penalties and/or the loss of their license to practice law.

Acting With Reasonable Promptness

Clients hire lawyers to handle different aspects of the legal process. For example, when paperwork must be filed with the court, the client has an expectation that it will be done on time and with accuracy and precision. The lawyer has a duty to act with reasonable promptness on behalf of their client, explains the District of Columbia Bar Association.

Diligence in law is a part of ethics and the requirement to practice law. A lawyer has a legal obligation to work in the best interests of their client, and if they are not able to do that, then they need to either ask the client’s permission in order to proceed in the way they think is best or to resign from being that person’s lawyer and advise the person to find new counsel. Familiarity with the answer to, “What is diligence in the practice of law?” could help a person know more about what is expected and required of a lawyer.