When Friends Ask for, Then Don't Take, Your Legal Advice
Most lawyers out there have non-lawyer friends that will ask for off-the-cuff legal advice.
And while we’ve all been trained to tell that friend that “friends don’t let friends get and/or give legal advice from/to friends,” most of us will eventually hand out some free legal advice to friends. And when that friend then completely ignores your advice, to their detriment, what do you do? Below, you can read a couple tips (besides finding new friends).
Be the Bad Guy
Being the bearer of bad news is part of the job as a lawyer, and if you’ve inadvertently formed a lawyer-client relationship with a friend, you’re going to have to fix it. And if a friend doesn’t listen and suffers legal consequences, you might have to explain that it’s your job to play the role of bad guy, dream crusher, or jerk lawyer, and then hold their hand for a thirty-minute, or longer, conversation where you tell them just how wrong they are, and how bad it’s going to be.
The silver lining is that you can end whatever bad news conversation you have for them with the fact that they just saved a few hundred dollars or more on their legal services bill (but do your best to avoid bringing up the fact that they would have had a real windfall if they had listened to you in the first place as that advice was free too).
Sell Your Colleagues
If you have colleagues that you think might be able to help your friend as well as, or better than, yourself, it’s not the worst idea to nudge your friend in that direction. Providing legal services to friends for a fee after they’ve already shown they won’t listen to you for free is a risky proposition for you personally and professionally. On the other hand, giving referrals is good for your business, as it shows colleagues that you trust them with the people in your personal life.