We asked attorneys throughout the country how they deal with friends who have legal questions. Some of their friends might ask them for their opinions regarding legal issues. How do these attorneys respond to their friends? Check out their answers below.
I know I get hit up on social media and in the real world all of the time for legal advice. For the most part, I encourage people to come into the office just to dissuade some long talks at inopportune times. I also send lawyers elsewhere if it is not in our practice area fairly quickly with a nice recommendation, such as "Call Rick. He's one of us and is great at that type of case."
As for law students, I had no idea entering law school what I would be doing upon my exit. Law schools make you take a little bit of everything in order to prepare you for the Bar exam and expose you to what's out there. In this day and age, unless you are passionate about a finite area or at the top of your class, you have few options except to go where the jobs are.
-John M. Phillips
Being an attorney and getting requests for free legal advice from friends is 'par for the course' and simply part of being a licensed attorney. Obviously, the depth of the relationship is a key criteria for whether the request is in good form or bad form. If it's a good friend who occasionally refers clients my way or reciprocates with advice, and/or does not generally abuse the privilege, then I'm fine with giving advice. However, requests that will require extensive research, time or allocation of resources, even from good friends, need to be explained as non-viable requests. At the end of the day a lawyers trade and practice is the giving of legal advice and no one should be expected to dispense their wares at a loss.
- Matthew Reischer, Esq,
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LawCrossing Fact #138: Use our “Tell a Friend” feature to refer a friend to a job you’ve come across!