“Know Your Customer” Rules: Financial institutions and professionals are required to obtain complete due diligence on individuals or companies in order to “know the customer” or “know the client.” This is required under the USA Patriot Act and the Financial Action Task Force, as well as the “Best Practices” requirements of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of the American Bar Association and Circular 230. Until due diligence is completed by a prospective client, including proving the source of funds, the attorney-client relationship cannot be established. A lawyer provides advice only to a client.
In order for us to comply with the due diligence requirements, we must receive information (by e-mail, telephone, fax or mail) regarding your fact situation, your goals and desires. We can then determine whether the areas in which this firm practices will provide you with the necessary knowledge, expertise, and experience for proper representation.
The Alabama Bar Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 1.1, Competence, state: “A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client.”
The Florida Bar Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 4-1.1, Competence, state: “A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.”
A lawyer cannot have the required knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation necessary for competent representation until the prospective client completes the due diligence requirements and provides any relevant documents and instruments.
Competent representation by a lawyer for a client can occur only when the prospective client completes the required due diligence (as requested by the lawyer), including receipt from the prospective client all relevant documents and instruments, allowing the lawyer to use the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation necessary for the representation of a client and the establishment of the attorney-client relationship and the attorney-client privilege.