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The pros and cons of hiring a friend to represent you

We frequently discuss the various kinds of illegal mistreatment that Americans often suffer in the workplace. If you have experienced discriminatory treatment, sexual harassment or mistreatment related to hours and compensation, you may be thinking about hiring an attorney to represent you. Generally, if you have any legal questions it is best to consult an attorney who can advise you in light of your unique circumstances.

Perhaps you are fortunate enough to have a friend who is experienced in the area of employment law. If you have some relatively simple questions, it almost certainly cannot hurt to consult your friend for a little advice. But when it comes time to actually hire an attorney, you may want to think carefully before hiring a friend.

First, it is important to understand that you generally need to consult an attorney who is licensed to practice in the state where you wish to file your claim. If your friend is not licensed in your home state, it is likely not going to be a good choice to hire him or her. A firm understanding of the nuanced laws governing your state is essential when filing a claim on your behalf.

Second, it is important to understand that your attorney owes you a different duty of care than a friend does. If your claim becomes frustrating, your attorney will need to advise you as a client, not as a friend. This kind of interaction may ultimately strain your friendship.

With these things said, if your friend practices in your home state and you trust his or her approach and level of experience, it is ultimately up to you to decide if hiring your friend is the healthiest choice for you and the best choice for your case.

Source: Findlaw Law & Daily Life, “Do's and Don'ts of Hiring a Friend as Your Lawyer,” Le Trinh, April 9, 2015

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