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Meeting with your Lawyer : Bringing Someone?

Meeting with your Lawyer: Bringing Someone?

“Can I bring someone with me when I meet with my divorce lawyer?”

Yes, for the most part, you may bring whomever you like with you when you meet with your divorce lawyer.

Meeting with your Lawyer:

Benefits of Bringing Someone with You

1. Reduces Stress:

Divorces and other family law situations can be incredibly stressful and some people find it calming to be able to bring a family member or friend along with him/her for additional support.  

meeting with your lawyer - bringing a family member or friend

2. Provides Additional Support:

If you’re shy, sometimes bringing someone along can make it easier to open up to your lawyer by being in the presence of someone familiar.

3. Assistance with Remembering Things & Providing Information:  

The person you bring may also provide helpful information that you may not be thinking about or otherwise may have forgotten to mention to your lawyer. In addition, s/he  may be able to help you recall what was said during the meeting if you have trouble remembering later. 

Meeting with your Lawyer:

Possible Downside of Bringing Someone with You

1. Reduce Focus and Concentration:

Sometimes, especially if the person you’re bringing with you is a family member or a close friend, s/he may be angry at your spouse. Especially if that person is vocal, this may end up causing you more stress and can distract you from staying focused on your goals at the meeting. 

meeting with your lawyer - can i bring someone with me

* Therefore, you should use your best judgment, as you know your family and friends best. In addition, only bring someone you know who will be a positive support in the context of the meeting.  

2. Lack of Privacy & Confidentiality:

You’ve probably heard of the “attorney-client privilege”. In a nutshell, anything that you tell your lawyer, just like with a doctor, is  considered confidential information and therefore, cannot be released without your consent. However, if you bring someone with you to the meeting with you and your lawyer, you waive that privilege and your information is no longer protected.

meeting with your lawyer - pros of bringing someone along

*Although this rarely arises in practice, privacy and confidentiality can’t be guaranteed when you bring someone else into the mix. In addition, even if you trust the person you’re bringing with you, you still may not want them to know everything and therefore, may not be completely honest about your concerns and up front with your lawyer, which can end up hurting you in the end.  

3. Unwanted Opinions and/or Differing Goals:

Sometimes when you bring someone to meet with your attorney, the guest starts to offer his/her suggestions. This is can especially troublesome if you don’t share the same opinion nor have the same priorities as your guest. This happens more frequently when the individual that the person brings is also the individual that is paying the lawyer for his/her legal services. 

* Therefore, if the person you’re bringing with you is also the person who is paying for the retainer, it’s important that your lawyer is clear that you’re the client, not the individual who is paying the bill. In addition, the lawyer should inform the person paying, that the lawyer serves your wishes and your wishes only, as you are his/her client. 

Meeting with your Lawyer:

What if the Person I’m Bringing is my Spouse?

Sometimes when the divorce is almost completely agreed upon, and the other spouse doesn’t have an attorney, we’ve had individuals who would like to bring in their soon to be ex-spouse as a gesture of good faith and mutual respect. 

What to Know if you Bring Your Spouse:

1. Your spouse does not have an inherent right to sit in on your meetings with your lawyer, even if s/he doesn’t have a lawyer of his/her own. However, if you want, you can ask your spouse to visit your lawyer with you, although it may not be in your best interests.

2. If you decide to bring your spouse, your lawyer should make clear to you and your spouse that s/he is your lawyer only and represents only your interests.

3. If you decide to bring your spouse, your lawyer, also, should not provide any legal advice to your spouse other than to advise him/her of the right to get his/her own lawyer.

Meeting with your Lawyer:

Last Thoughts on Bringing Someone With You…

  • No one has a right to meet with you and your lawyer if you don’t want them to be there. This is regardless of the individual’s relationship to you and whether or not s/he is paying for the legal services. Who comes with you and who is allowed to meet with you and your attorney is completely and 100% up to you.

meeting with your lawyer - cons of bringing someone along

  • There are pros and cons to bringing someone with you when meeting with your lawyer. We just shared a few to give you an idea and get you thinking. Your best bet is to make a list that is specific to your own needs and current situation. 
  • In addition, although you may bring a guest to your meetings with your lawyer, it’s a good idea to let your lawyer know ahead of time if you will be bringing someone and who you will be bringing with you. This way, your lawyer can also discuss any potential issues or concerns particular to your case that you may want to consider before bringing someone with you and you can be assured that it will be in your best interest to do so.