Lawyers are allowed to represent their family members. But is it advisable? Not always. Lawyers have a duty to provide objective and unbiased representation. However, emotional conflicts may interfere with proper discharge of this duty when family members are involved in the case.
Potential emotional conflicts should be taken into account by every lawyer before undertaking to represent and while representing any person with whom they have family or emotional ties. The ability to provide dispassionate counsel may be impaired when a lawyer is emotionally involved in a case. That is why a lawyer should always think long and hard before accepting any case that involves a family member.
The practice of law can be stressful. Lawyers need to set boundaries and this can be difficult with close family members. That is why some lawyers carefully consider a case before accepting it. They ask questions like, “Do I really want to step into that beehive?”
It’s hard to say no to family. If you honestly don’t have the time to do the matter or if it is outside your practice area, don’t be afraid to just say no. Lawyers should make sure that they are not getting into a situation where emotions can get the better of them.
. And if a lawyer takes a case where he/she needs to represent his/her spouse, children, or any other family member, establishing a professional demeanor from the very beginning is very important since you want them to take your advice seriously.
It is equally important to be completely upfront with the merits and likelihood of success. All too often some lawyers want to impress their family and/or don’t want to impress them by breaking the hard truth. Family members, like any other client, need to know sooner rather than later if their case is shaky or not.
On the other hand, representing friends and family can also prove to be an excellent way to build up your client base. Who knows you better than your family?
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