The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Clients

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

CLIENTS, citizens of the lower ranks in ancient Rome who chose a patron from the higher classes, whose duty it was to assist them in legal cases, and to take a paternal care of them. The clients, on the other hand, were obliged to portion the daughters of the patron if he had not sufficient fortune, to follow him to the wars, to ransom him if taken prisoner and to vote for him if he was candidate for an office. If a client died without issue and had made no will, his property fell to the patron. Clients and patrons were under mutual obligation not to accuse each other, not to bear witness against each other and in general not to do one another injury. This relation continued till the time of the emperors. It may be considered as the transition from a patriarchal state, in which family relations are predominant, to a well-developed political system, securing the rights and independence of the individual. In modern law, a client is one who retains or consults an attorney or counsellor at law for advice, or to manipulate any action at law or to represent him in legal matters. The strictest confidence is required of the attorney, the breach of which may be heavily punished.