Can a Lawyer Defend a Family Member?
As a lawyer, you can defend a family member in court. But there are certain drawbacks and risks. Let's find out about them and some benefits too here.
Having a legal problem is not an uncommon thing in today's world. A family lawyer in Winnipeg can take you through the complexities of legal processes. But what if you have a lawyer in your own family? Can a lawyer defend a family member?
The short answer is yes. A lawyer certainly can represent a family member. This is why general people want a lawyer in the family. You are getting free advice, right? And when it comes to fighting legal matters, the lawyer in your family can represent you in court.
But these things are not as simple as it sounds. There are many risks associated with it. And you might face more complications than you can even imagine!
A Potential Conflict of Interest when a Lawyer Defend a Family Member
No court will disallow a lawyer from representing a family member. But they want to make sure that the lawyer is professional, competent, and avoids negligence. But oftentimes, a conflict of interest can arise in the situation.
Conflict of interest is a common thing between family members and friends. This occurs due to the relationship a professional has with the accused or victim. Imagine you are representing your brother in court. Whether he is a victim or an accused, you might take his side out of the relation and emotion you possess towards him.
A court will be aware of it. And would significantly discourage anything like this. In a situation like this, the judge might fear that the lawyer will fail to remain objective and professional.
Different law societies in Canada have expressed their thoughts on this matter. They presume that lawyers might become personal when they defend their family members. Law societies require lawyers to be candid and honest in legal issues. But these things can be compromised when dealing with family members.
Situations when it's Okay to Represent a Family Member
Despite the potential conflict of interests, it can still be okay to represent your family member. It is okay to defend family members as long as you are a specialist. It would be best if you avoided sensitive family matters. It is also okay to represent a family member in court.
Another situation to avoid is custody matters. It is absolutely evident that custodies include differences in opinion. There will be sidings across family members. And the court will doubt the lawyer's objectivity and independence on the matter.
Avoid the Awkwardness of Payments
Billing and payments can be awkward when you represent your family member. Sometimes, they might even expect free services from you. Don't get too surprised if you face this kind of situation.
Despite that, you must look after your earnings as well. Of course, you will have to ensure some form of discount. But the scope of negotiation might be lesser than you expect. Just make sure you don't run around doing a favor to your family member or friends.
Another essential part is to ensure ambiguity and honesty. Family members tend to be informal during legal advice and court sessions. So, make sure you don't omit any formal steps and paperwork along the way.
Benefits of Defending a Family Member in Legal Matters
Defending your family member in court can seem a tough job. You might have a lot of expectations for yourself. And it is on you to possibly save your family member from a rough judgment.
Despite all these, there are certain advantages of representing a family member. The most impactful one is building a client base. Your family member could bring you more potential clients in the future.
If you successfully defend a complex case, you will get more fame than you imagine. As you practice, representing family members can add confidence and credibility.
Another advantage is that you gain added confidence in yourself. Your family member trusts you, which is precisely why you represent the person. This will give you the motivation to grow and improve as a lawyer.
So, no court can stop you from defending a family member. But there are some drawbacks and risks. The most obvious one is the conflict of interest.
Despite a few complications, representing a family member can be beneficial for lawyers too. If you have just started your practice, this could be a blessing in disguise for you.
But always remember to maintain professionalism and honesty regardless of whom you represent.