It is generally a good idea to tell your attorney everything about your case and your circumstances. However, there are a few things clients need to keep to themselves for ethical reasons or because attorneys have heard it a million times before.
For example, I once told my mail carrier, “could you bring more checks and less bills next time?” I though I was being funny, instead I was saying something the mail carrier heard every day.
This brings me to the 5 things to never say to your lawyer.
1. "My cousin/sister/friend is a lawyer and she says…" This is wrong for many reasons. The first is that you hired your lawyer and should trust them. It is also highly unlikely that your friend practices in the same area of law or you would have hired them instead. The friend also does not know all the important details in the case. Lastly, you are now making your attorney argue against the opposing counsel and against your friend.
2. "Keep it to x number of pages/we already came to an agreement and I just need you to type it up."- Limiting what your attorney can put into a contract hinders her ability to properly represent you. Non-attorneys just can’t think of all the necessary elements needed for your contract. Attorneys will always try to honor an agreement you made, but also need the flexibility to prevent unforeseen consequences down the road.
3. " If this doesn’t work, I will handle this myself"-This is dangerously close to threatening criminal action. If you are going to commit a crime and inform your attorney, your attorney has a duty to report the impending crime. The attorney-client privilege does not apply in that case.
4. "I am going to say X on the witness stand"-If you tell your attorney that you are going to lie on the witness stand, the attorney cannot let you take the stand. If the attorney knows you lied on the witness stand, the attorney has a duty to report it.
5. “Don’t worry about it.”-Yes, the attorney is going to worry about it. Even if the chances of something happening are remote or unlikely, the attorney is going to try and protect you and/or prevent it from happening. Remember, a minor clause in a contract that a company thinks the other side will never enforce can and will be the cause of a lawsuit in the future.
Thank you for reading, my business is to protect your business!
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