Utah. R. Prof. Cond. 1.16
(1) A lawyer should not accept representation in a matter unless it can be performed competently, promptly, without improper conflict of interest and to completion. Ordinarily, a representation in a matter is completed when the agreed upon assistance has been concluded. See Rulesand . See also Rule , Comment 4.
(2) A lawyer ordinarily must decline or withdraw from representation if the client demands that the lawyer engage in conduct that is illegal or violates the rules of professional conduct or other law. The lawyer is not obliged to decline or withdraw simply because the client suggests such a course of conduct; a client may make such a suggestion in the hope that a lawyer will not be constrained by a professional obligation.
(3) When a lawyer has been appointed to represent a client, withdrawal ordinarily requires approval of the appointing authority. See also Rule. Similarly, court approval or notice to the court is often required by applicable law before a lawyer withdraws from pending litigation. Difficulty may be encountered if withdrawal is based on the client's demand that the lawyer engage in unprofessional conduct. The court may request an explanation for the withdrawal, while the lawyer may be bound to keep confidential the facts that would constitute such an explanation. The lawyer's statement that professional considerations require termination of the representation ordinarily should be accepted as sufficient. Lawyers should be mindful of their obligations to both clients and the court under Rules and .
(4) A client has a right to discharge a lawyer at any time, with or without cause, subject to liability for payment for the lawyer's services. Where future dispute about the withdrawal may be anticipated, it may be advisable to prepare a written statement reciting the circumstances.
(5) Whether a client can discharge appointed counsel may depend on applicable law. A client seeking to do so should be given a full explanation of the consequences. These consequences may include a decision by the appointing authority that appointment of successor counsel is unjustified, thus requiring self representation by the client.
(6) If the client has severely diminished capacity, the client may lack the legal capacity to discharge the lawyer, and in any event the discharge may be seriously adverse to the client's interests. The lawyer should make special effort to help the client consider the consequences and may take reasonably necessary protective action as provided in Rule.
(7) A lawyer may withdraw from representation in some circumstances. The lawyer has the option to withdraw if it can be accomplished without material adverse effect on the client's interests. Withdrawal is also justified if the client persists in a course of action that the lawyer reasonably believes is criminal or fraudulent, for a lawyer is not required to be associated with such conduct even if the lawyer does not further it. Withdrawal is also permitted if the lawyer's services were misused in the past even if that would materially prejudice the client. The lawyer may also withdraw where the client insists on taking action that the lawyer considers repugnant or with which the lawyer has a fundamental disagreement.
(8) A lawyer may withdraw if the client refuses to abide by the terms of an agreement relating to the representation, such as an agreement concerning fees or court costs or an agreement limiting the objectives of the representation.
Assisting the Client upon Withdrawal
(9) Even if the lawyer has been unfairly discharged by the client, a lawyer must take all reasonable steps to mitigate the consequences to the client. See Rule. Upon termination of representation, a lawyer shall provide, upon request, the client's file to the client notwithstanding any other law, including attorney lien laws. It is impossible to set forth one all encompassing definition of what constitutes the client file. However, the client file generally would include the following: all papers and property the client provides to the lawyer; litigation materials such as pleadings, motions, discovery, and legal memoranda; all correspondence; depositions; expert opinions; business records; exhibits or potential evidence; and witness statements. The client file generally would not include the following: the lawyer's work product such as recorded mental impressions; research notes; legal theories; internal memoranda; and unfiled pleadings. The Utah rule differs from the ABA Model Rule in requiring that papers and property considered to be part of the client's file be returned to the client notwithstanding any other laws or fees or expenses owing to the lawyer.