What A Lawyer Can And Can't Do For You


When hiring a lawyer, there's bound to be some confusion about what an attorney legally can and can't do for a client. This list of three items will help you better understand what your relationship with counsel should be.

Providing Advice, but Not Telling You What to Do

In the strictest sense, legal counsel is just advice. It's advice provided by a very knowledgeable person who has an obligation to be a zealous advocate for your interests, sure. But a lawyer is never there to overtly tell you what to do in a situation. They can at best provide you with a list of options and tell you which ones they think are work pursuing.

Take for example what occurs during negotiations in civil or criminal cases. An attorney is legally required to inform a client of every offer that's made. They can't tell the client, however, to accept the offer.

Acting as Your Representative

The term attorney implies a role as another party's representative. This is why power of attorney can be assigned to someone who isn't a lawyer or an attorney-at-law. With the right documents in place, an attorney is allowed to take actions on your behalf. They can't make choices for you, but they're allowed to render decisions based on your authorization. For example, a lawyer for a business can represent the company when its officers aren't present. A similar sort of thing occurs in estate cases when an attorney contacts named beneficiaries to inform them of the situation following someone's death.

They Can't Help Everyone

When a lawyer takes on a job for a client, they essentially swear fidelity to that person or organization. Even if you want to share your attorney's services with someone else, a lawyer is not legally allowed to do this. It is their job to solely represent your rights and interests to the best of their ability. Advising another individual or entity would produce a conflict of interests.

This is why it's always wise for all parties to a matter to retain separate counsel. Attorneys can certainly work with each other to arrive at a resolution that works best for all involved, but they have to do so while serving their client's interests faithfully.

Simply put, if someone else needs legal help, the best advice you can give them is to hire a lawyer. If they elect to proceed without counsel, it's not your attorney's job to make up the difference. Reach out to a firm like the Law Offices Of Harry G Lasser for more information.

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