Paul Waldron

Bad Legal Advice: taking advice from friends, relatives & coworkers vs. taking advice of a lawyer

In How to Choose a Lawyer, Representing Yourself, Uncategorized on August 28, 2012 at 12:30 pm

I was representing a client in a mediation last week and, in the opening, the mediator, a former judge, reminded the parties that they both were paying good lawyers to be present to give them good advice as they considered their options for settlement during the mediation.  The mediator told the parties that they may have heard stories from from friends, relatives or coworkers how other cases like theirs may have been resolved.  The mediator warned that parties that they needed to pay close attention to the advice their lawyers were going to give them, and not disregard the advice of the lawyers to follow the advice of friends, relatives or coworkers.

Of course, when it said out loud, it makes sense.  When most parties are reminded that they have legal counsel they are paying to advise them, parties will consult with their lawyer(s) and take their advice be able to make the best decisions on how they want to resolve or pursue their case.

However, sometimes parties pay good money to get legal representation and advice from their lawyers, but then disregard it because the party thinks someone else knows something more than the lawyer.  This is possible, but not very probable, are the vast majority of the time the party hurts their case and outcome by disregarding their attorney.

If a party has a question about something, they should ask their attorney.  I have many clients who come to me and tell me that they heard in so-and-so’s case this is what happened.  I am able to then discuss the similarities and differences in the cases and the anticipated outcomes.  We also remember that the friend, relative or coworker may have related the case inaccurately because they, themselves as a party, are too close to the case or they are relating something they were told second-, third-, or fourth-hand.

When you seek legal advice from a lawyer, provide all the information to the lawyer, make sure they consider all you want them to know, then listen.

I look forward to receiving reply comments and questions to further develop this issue.

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