Hiring a lawyer for a family member requires understanding the “role” the individual takes in the case. For instance, what the individual hiring the attorney says to him or her is confidential, not privileged. Confidential means they lawyer has an ethical duty not to voluntarily reveal what is said. Privileged refers to the power a client has to prevent a lawyer from releasing information to anyone. This is called attorney-client privilege.

Am I Excluded from the Attorney-Client Privilege If I Am Paying?

You may be excluded from any communications between lawyer and client deemed attorney-client privilege. Some exceptions may apply when it is necessary to assist a family member such as:

  • Assisting a disabled adult under guardianship
  • Assisting a deaf or blind family member

What Happens If I Disagree about How to Handle the Case?

The person who hires the lawyer for the family member has no control over the case. The client makes the final decisions on how the case proceeds, such as whether to accept a plea deal or to go to trial.

What Happens to Any Unused Money?

Any unearned fees or money the lawyer does not use usually belongs to the client and will be refunded to them.

Should I Talk to a Lawyer about My Relative’s Case?

Hiring a lawyer for a family member is helpful. When searching for a criminal law lawyer for your family member, remember to hire one who has the legal knowledge to adequately work on the case.