A court may sanction attorneys for engaging in meritless actions or tactics with the intent to harass or cause unnecessary delay. CCP §128.5. But what is meritless to one person may be a rational extension of the law to another. Luckily, there’s a safe harbor provision in the statute for that.
Yes, you have a duty to represent your client zealously. But don’t let your zeal for your client’s case trump your duty to prosecute only meritorious cases. It won’t fly to say, “My client made me do it.” Your duty to the judicial process transcends any client’s agenda. Check out a recent smackdown from a California appellate court.
You don’t have a legal duty to accept a civil matter. You can just say, “thanks, but no thanks.” But if you do decide to take on a civil case, you’ve got an obligation under California law to “maintain such actions, proceedings, or defenses only as appear to be legal or just….” Bus & P C §6068(c). Go astray on that obligation and risk actions for malicious prosecution or abuse of process—and potentially be held jointly liable with your client!