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Family friend attorney

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What is the name of your state? Ohio.

Can an attorney represent a family member or friend for free and continually keep another party buried in letigation causing financial hardship or ruin? Or is there legal or ethical rules forbidding that practice?
 


quincy

Senior Member
What is the name of your state? Ohio.

Can an attorney represent a family member or friend for free and continually keep another party buried in letigation causing financial hardship or ruin? Or is there legal or ethical rules forbidding that practice?
An attorney can represent a family member or a friend for free.

No attorney should purposely cause the financial ruin of anyone - but litigation can be costly and a party in a legal action might face financial hardship.
 

TigerD

Senior Member
No attorney should purposely cause the financial ruin of anyone - but litigation can be costly and a party in a legal action might face financial hardship.
I'm going to disagree. If I can drive the opposing party's expenses up enough that they cry and quit, I'll do it. If I can force them to make the decision that settling is cheaper than fighting, I'll do it. As for financial ruin of the opposing party - I couldn't care less. Attorneys are hired guns. We aren't hired to care about the other side.

TD
 

quincy

Senior Member
I'm going to disagree. If I can drive the opposing party's expenses up enough that they cry and quit, I'll do it. If I can force them to make the decision that settling is cheaper than fighting, I'll do it. As for financial ruin of the opposing party - I couldn't care less. Attorneys are hired guns. We aren't hired to care about the other side.

TD
I can understand why you disagree.

But I do not think any attorney should purposely set out to financially ruin anyone.

I find it unfortunate that our legal system is designed so that the one with the most money - and not necessarily the one with the best case - is often the victor.
 

Just Blue

Senior Member
I can understand why you disagree.

But I do not think any attorney should purposely set out to financially ruin anyone.

I find it unfortunate that our legal system is designed so that the one with the most money - and not necessarily the one with the best case - is often the victor.
To be fair...Based on the OP we can't be sure that is the case for Cooper.
 

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
I'm going to disagree. If I can drive the opposing party's expenses up enough that they cry and quit, I'll do it. If I can force them to make the decision that settling is cheaper than fighting, I'll do it. As for financial ruin of the opposing party - I couldn't care less. Attorneys are hired guns. We aren't hired to care about the other side.
I disagree a bit. At least in the jurisdictions I practice, those tactics that are primarily designed only to add expense to the other side violate the rules of professional conduct. I'll do what is needed to do to effectively represent my client and I'm not going to worry much about what that costs the other side, but I'm not about to make it goal to do things solely to run up the costs of the other side either.
 
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Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
What is the name of your state? Ohio.

Can an attorney represent a family member or friend for free and continually keep another party buried in letigation causing financial hardship or ruin? Or is there legal or ethical rules forbidding that practice?
An attorney may represent a family member of friend for free, as much as that may irk the other side. At least in the jurisdictions I practice, the attorney cannot undertake actions that are designed only to run up the costs to the other side, but the attorney certainly may pursue anything that might help his/her client in the litigation without regard to what that is costing the other side. So if I need to make a discovery request or file a motion to advance my client's case, I'm going to do that and it's not my concern what it costs the other side. But it would be unethical and a violation of the rules of conduct for me to do things solely for the purpose of running up the other party's legal costs.
 

TigerD

Senior Member
I disagree a bit. At least in the jurisdictions I practice, those tactics that are primarily designed only to add expense to the other side violate the rules of professional conduct. I'll do what is needed to do to effectively represent my client and I'm not going to worry much about what that costs the other side, but I'm not about to make it goal to do things solely to run up the costs of the other side either.
I'm not talking about frivolous motions or pleadings. But there are things that can be resolved with a conference call and frequently are. However, I don't mind making opposing party pay their attorney to drive three hours-each way to come to a hearing. Right now I am thinking specifically plaintiff's work. They are unreasonably withholding requested discovery. The local attorneys have the Judge's cell phone number and know we can just call to resolve some of these issues. Them big shot city attorneys don't. And so they get to drive. In family law, breaking the other side - emotionally and financially - is sometimes necessary to end the litigation. Had a case where they were on the fifth motion to modify filed by opposing party in four years. So we proceeded attack with everything we could. Mental health exams, drug tests, depositions. Discovery sanctions. And we asked for and got attorney fees. There was a valid reason for everything we did. But it could have been handled without going nuclear. However, it has been two years and that party has not filed another motion to modify. They now understand that we will make it hurt.

I will also say that my favorite case was one where I and opposing counsel discussed the case and agreed that we both needed a little bit of discovery to confirm our evaluations, which took place in less than a week. The case was settled within two weeks right in line with how we valued it. It as a great experience and we both got the best possible result for our clients.

I try to never become the dick first. Only when opposing party is abusing my client in some manner. Law can be practiced cleanly and politely. Or you can roll around in the mud.

TD

** But that is also a factor of the local bar. I have one attorney I practice with that is the very definition of courtesy and class. And I have one that I tell prospective clients when he is on the other side they need to add five thousand to their expected costs in the action. He is very aggressive and I've found the way to fight that with him is to be aggressive back.
 
Thanks for the responses.

I know this isn't Dear Abbey but just so you have some background info.....

The case is an ugly divorce case involving my niece, her ex is the one with free legal representation, a long time family friend. My niece was married into the family for eleven years so knows he doesn't usually charge for his services. Every time the judge or magistrate makes a ruling they either appeal or file some new motion, her ex even tells her he is going to do it. A few years ago when her exes brother got divorced they also buried that woman in litigation, so my niece knew what to expect but is still feeling frustrated by the legal system.

It's an unfortunate scenario and I believe it will continue until the kids grow up.

I appreciate the responses.
 

Just Blue

Senior Member
Thanks for the responses.

I know this isn't Dear Abbey but just so you have some background info.....

The case is an ugly divorce case involving my niece, her ex is the one with free legal representation, a long time family friend. My niece was married into the family for eleven years so knows he doesn't usually charge for his services. Every time the judge or magistrate makes a ruling they either appeal or file some new motion, her ex even tells her he is going to do it. A few years ago when her exes brother got divorced they also buried that woman in litigation, so my niece knew what to expect but is still feeling frustrated by the legal system.

It's an unfortunate scenario and I believe it will continue until the kids grow up.

I appreciate the responses.
Does your niece have an attorney?
 
Does your niece have an attorney?
Yes she does. I have been involved a bit with the process and have sat down with her attorney a couple of times. He seems to stay on top of things but seems reactive as opposed to proactive, but in his defense I know my niece has tried to minimize his fees.
 

quincy

Senior Member
Thanks for the responses.

I know this isn't Dear Abbey but just so you have some background info.....

The case is an ugly divorce case involving my niece, her ex is the one with free legal representation, a long time family friend. My niece was married into the family for eleven years so knows he doesn't usually charge for his services. Every time the judge or magistrate makes a ruling they either appeal or file some new motion, her ex even tells her he is going to do it. A few years ago when her exes brother got divorced they also buried that woman in litigation, so my niece knew what to expect but is still feeling frustrated by the legal system.

It's an unfortunate scenario and I believe it will continue until the kids grow up.

I appreciate the responses.
Thank you for the additional information, Cooper.

I don't know of many divorce cases that aren't ugly, even when the divorcing partners start off with all good intentions of seeking an amicable end to their marriage.

Good luck to your niece.
 

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