10 reasons a lawyer might need their own lawyer

You often hear the term ‘if you want things done right do it yourself’ but it’s not always the case with professionals such as lawyers. This article will delve into the reasons why.

On average, it takes around seven years (and a lot of work) to become a lawyer. With all that education and training, you’d be forgiven for wondering why commercial lawyers don’t just do their own legal work.  

The law is an incredibly complex and multifaceted business, with lots of different genres. So, legal proffesionals can’t be expected to always fix their own legal cases. Keep reading for 10 reasons why…

1. Swamped with work

Most lawyers have huge workloads and, quite often, simply won’t have the time to complete their own legal work at the same time as effectively serving their clients. Because of this, it makes sense for them to hire their own lawyer in order to save themselves precious time.

2. Specialised knowledge in different legal fields

In most cases, a lawyer will specialise in a particular area of the law, which may not relate to a legal issue in their own life. For example, a criminal lawyer may seek advice from a family lawyer during a divorce.  

A family lawyer will have a great deal of knowledge about all aspects of family law and be able to apply specialised knowledge to a situation that a criminal lawyer may lack experience in.

3. Not permitted to perform legal work everywhere

A lawyer may not be permitted to defend themselves or complete legal work for themselves in another country. For example, in California, a registered foreign legal consultant will only be permitted to perform legal work if they have received special certification from the State Bar of California.

Because of this, a lawyer abroad may need to hire local representation for themselves, by law.

4. Difference of location

One practical reason that a lawyer might need their own lawyer is a simple matter of location. If the legal action requires a court case, it may be that this will be held in a different town, city or even country to the one that the lawyer lives in. 

As some court cases can go on for many months, this would mean considerable disruption for the lawyer, including extensive travel.Therefore, it’s usually more practical to have somebody local handle the case.

5. Potential language barriers

As with the above point, a lawyer may find themselves in a country where they do not speak the language adequately enough to be able to effectively conduct legal work. In fact, trying to do so can lead to some quite serious problems. 

In this instance, a lawyer would always be advised to hire native legal counsel to ensure that mistakes and misunderstandings are avoided.

6. Conflict of interest

Sadly, a large percentage of UK marriages end in divorce and lawyers are by no means exempt. When a lawyer is going through a divorce, they are not permitted to complete the legal work themselves as this would be considered a conflict of interest and they will need to hire outside counsel.

7. Emotional detachment

Often, there will be a fair bit of emotion attached to legal action. Whether it’s wrangling over a property or saving your business, when we’re experiencing high levels of emotion we’re not always thinking rationally.

For these reasons, it’s usually not a good idea to represent your own interests. Instead, it’s best to hire a talented lawyer who is able to conduct the work with a cool head and without their judgement being clouded by emotion and opinion.

8. The need for counselling

When it comes to legal action, lawyers do a lot more than just quoting what they learned in law school. A big part of the lawyer’s job is to counsel the client on the best action to take and how to go about it. 

Needless to say, an attempt to counsel oneself will usually be unsuccessful, hence the saying, ‘any lawyer who represents himself, has a fool for a client’.

9. Remaining impartial

If a legal action directly or indirectly involves a lawyer’s spouse or family member, it’s usually considered wise to hire outside counsel. This is because a lawyer is unlikely to be able to remain impartial when a loved one is involved.

The same goes for a colleague, as a lawyer would very much be considered too close to that person to be able to successfully remove personal feelings from the case.

10. Chargeable time

Different types of lawyers charge different amounts of money for their time hourly. For example, a criminal lawyer will usually charge more than a lawyer who deals with personal injury claims.

Different hourly rates mean, in some cases, it will simply not be cost effective for a lawyer to tackle a personal lawsuit themselves as their hourly rate may be vastly larger than the job requires.

Think you’re a lawyer who needs a lawyer?

While it may seem strange for a trained and qualified lawyer to hire their own lawyer, it’s usually simply common sense. After all, a dentist wouldn’t perform their own dental work, however skilled they may be. 

Similarly, psychiatrists and counsellors always hire other, similar professionals.  Whenever legal action involves ourselves or our loved ones, it’s almost impossible to remain impartial as a certain air of detachment is necessary in order to focus on the facts. 

For this reason, most lawyers will have at least a couple of other lawyers on speed dial in the unhappy event that they will need to call upon them.

Photo by Saúl Bucio on Unsplash.