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When You Need a Lawyer, Don't Call a Friend

When you need a friend, don't call a lawyer. But when you need a lawyer, don't call a friend. Over the years I have been asked countless times by friends (and sometimes family) to represent them in a case. The few times I did, I regretted taking on the task. Representing a friend in a legal matter is generally not a good idea, particularly if the matter has the potential to evolve into an involved case. The simple answer is that emotional involvement including close personal friendship or a relative can affect legal objectivity.

Of course you could ask your lawyer friend to draft a simple will or to review an uncomplicated agreement, but not in a case that involves an emotional threat to the attorney's professional status. We are referring to legal cases that could be considered a crisis, or cases that may involve a high degree of emotion, or cases where someone's license, livelihood, or liberty may be at stake.

Friends are people with whom we spend a great deal of time, share intimate details of our lives, people we trust and who understand our personalities and points of view, and generally agree with us, even if we are not 100% right.

If you are ever face some crisis that involves the legal system, that is not the time to call someone who will agree with you just because you are friends. You need someone who understands the legal system, understands how laws are interpreted and applied, and someone who will tell you the truth even if it is not what you want to hear.