Is it wise to bring another person to an initial consultation?

Law firm initial consultationGoing into the law office of a divorce or family law attorney is an extremely stressful experience for most.  For many individuals, they never thought this day would come.  They didn’t think they’d ever need a divorce or family law attorney.  Now that this has become a reality, many want some moral support.

This moral support often comes by way of an individual bringing a friend or family member with them.  The idea is noble.  They want some help and guidance.  They want somebody with them that they know and trust to stand by their side, help make sure they are making the right decisions or help ensure that they don’t forget to tell the attorney something during the meeting.

The idea makes sense in many different ways.  Who would want to go to a stressful meeting alone?  It feels good to have a friend or family member with them to help make the stressful situation more palatable.

The reality, however, is there are risks involved with bringing another person to the initial consultation.  For example, conversations between an attorney and potential client/client are generally privileged and confidential in a family law matter.  This means that the attorney cannot disclose what was said.

But when another attorney is sitting in the room during these conversations, problems can arise.  In theory, this third-party could be subpoenaed in the future to testify in trial or at a deposition.  They could theoretically be asked what was said during these meetings.  With a third-party in the room, privilege and confidentiality may arguably be waived.

All of a sudden the confidential information that the potential client/client thought they were telling their lawyer might not be that confidential any longer.  What they said (even their deepest, darkest secrets) could then be put in peril and come out in court.

In other cases, this friend or family member could potentially become adverse during the divorce or family law litigation.  This is because tensions can often run high during these cases.  Your friend today, unfortunately, may not be your friend tomorrow.  This friend could then go to the other side’s attorney voluntarily and disclose what was said and the advice given.

For these reasons, it’s generally not wise for friends and family members to participate in important meetings about a case where confidential information is being disseminated and legal advice given.  At a minimum, a party should know the risks and make an informed decision.

If you are going through a divorce or family law matter, Stange Law Firm, PC can help.  You can contact us at 1-855-805-0595.

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