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While attorneys are not qualified to diagnose mental illness or assess a client’s mental capacity, it is important for lawyers to be aware of each client’s mental well-being and cognizant of the ethical and procedural issues in play they suspect a client may suffer from diminished mental capacity. The client’s right to self-determination is key; however, courts and attorneys must be mindful of occasions where an individual’s diminished capacity may interfere with their ability to act within their own best interests. The RPCs, statutes, caselaw and civil procedure provide attorneys guidance in navigating the representation of a potentially mentally diminished client.

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