“in all matters,” 38 including scope of authority39 and confidentiality. 40 The Child’s Attorney
must follow the client’s directives so long as the child is competent to give instructions. 41 The
Child’s Attorney must abide by the client’s decisions, making a separate decision about whether
the client has the capacity to direct counsel on each distinct legal issue. 42 If the child does not
express his or her wishes, the Child’s Attorney must “make a good faith effort to determine the
child’s wishes . . . [and when the child’s opinion is unavailable] the Child’s Attorney should
determine and advocate the child’s legal interests or request the appointment of a Best Interests
Attorney.” 43 In the event that the Child’s Attorney determines that the child’s expressed
objective would put the child at substantial risk, the Child’s Attorney may request the separate
appointment of a Best Interests Attorney. 44
The Best Interests Attorney’s role is to investigate and advocate for the child’s best interests; 45 to
investigate the child’s views and inform the court unless the child does not wish them to be
38 Id. at § IV.A ( 1) (“Child’s Attorneys are bound by their states’ ethics rules in all matters.”).
39 ABA Standard, supra note 3, at § IV.A ( 1).
40 Id. at § IV.A ( 1) cmt. (“The child is an individual with independent views. To ensure that the child’s independent
voice is heard, the Child’s Attorney should advocate the child’s articulated position and owes traditional duties to
the child as client, subject to rules 1. 2(a) and 1. 14 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct.”).
41 Id. at § IV.C (“The child is entitled to determine the overall objectives to be pursued. The Child’s Attorney may
make certain decisions about the manner of achieving those objectives, particularly on procedural matters, as any
adult’s lawyer would. These Standards do not require the lawyer to consult with the child on matters which would
not require consultation with an adult client, nor to discuss with the child issues for which the child’s developmental
limitations make it not feasible to obtain the child’s direction, as with an infant or preverbal child.”).
42 Id. at § IV.C ( i) (“The Child’s Attorney should make a separate determination whether the child has “diminished
capacity” pursuant to Model Rule 1. 14 (2000) with respect to each issue in which the child is called upon to direct
44 ABA Standard, supra note 3, at § IV.C ( iii) (“If the Child’s Attorney determines that pursuing the child’s
expressed objective would put the child at risk of substantial physical, financial or other harm, and is not merely
contrary to the lawyer’s opinion of the child’s interests, the lawyer may request appointment of a separate Best
Interests Attorney and continue to represent the child’s expressed position, unless the child’s position is prohibited
by law or without any factual foundation. The Child’s Attorney should not reveal the reason for the request for a
Best Interests Attorney, which would compromise the child’s position, unless such disclosure is authorized by the
ethics rule on confidentiality that is in force in the state.”).
45 Id. at § V.E (“The Best Interests Attorney should conduct thorough, continuing, and independent investigations . .