Originally Posted by SanFrancisco
Remember that if RIM sue Samsung, it's RIM who retains the lawyers to represent them in court. The lawyer is not the one deciding to sue, RIM is the decision maker. This is the way it has been for hundreds of years.
In big business, high stakes litigation, lawyers merely advise and then tell the client the various options it has, from doing nothing to suing. Ultimately, it is the business entity, not the "candy loving" lawyer, who makes the decision to sue.
To state that, "lawyers merely advise" is fast footwork.
In a client attorney relationship the lawyer is the sophisticated party. While it is technically true that the client must give the final nod, it is based on the input from the attorney and what the attorney says, carries the weight in the decision to proceed or not. At the very least, every client, no matter the size of the action, asks the ubiquitous questions, "what are our chances, what should we do?" Legal advice often includes very strong opinion, at least it does if your attorney is looking out for your interests.
In the case at hand, the attorneys, both in and out of house, likely have said to their client, RIM, "in this case it isn't a question of whether to proceed or not, in order to protect your trademark, you have to go after Samsung." While that could be construed to be advice, its pretty strong advice.
While I believe you are defending the profession from the shyster label I don't think you have to understate the actual influence an attorney has in the decision making process.