The following summarizes About to act for family and friends? (Resist — it's just too risky), Insurance Issues: Risk Management, July 2005.

“My daughter the lawyer.”

— mother as she proudly presents you to an old family friend who just needs “a little legal advice”

“We’ve been friends since high school.”

— an old buddy sizes you up as the secret weapon against his ex’s “unreasonable” demands

“Every family needs a lawyer.”

— dad laments over your cousin’s failing business venture (and recalls your uncle’s contribution to your education)

“That’s what friends are for.”

— one of your inner circle thinks she can swing the condo timeshare deal “if only you’d look after the paperwork”

“You’re a lawyer, aren’t you?”

— almost anyone you know, at almost any family gathering

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Sound familiar? Words like these reflect sentiments that can trigger a call to duty, tapping into your genuine desire to help those who have helped you. Coupled with a request for legal services, you can find yourself acting for friends and family against your better judgement. Read more about:

  • The risks

    • Clouded judgment

    • More casual service

    • Acting outside your areas of expertise

    • Conflicts

    • More pressure

    • Unmanageable client expectations

    • Unhappy firm

  • Loss of insurance if acting for family

  • Managing the risks