Not so legal advice

Occasionally I have cause to say to a client something like, This is not legal advice, but…

Now I’m pretty sure that when we were at university such behaviour was warned against. We were not accountants. We were not taxation consultants, nor were we counselors or financial advisors, and so we were not to give information that was not strictly legal advice. It was sound advice, and certainly designed to prevent many young lawyers falling into all kinds of traps. And as one should with wise advice, I heed it well and generally confine my dealings with clients to giving legal advice within my expertise.

But then I broke the rules. I suggested to my client (off the record, of course, and certainly with the appropriate disclaimer that it was not legal advice) that perhaps court action was not the most helpful next step in their situation. My suggestion was that they make a time to have a cup of coffee with the person who they were going to take to court, and see if they couldn’t figure it out between themselves first.

Hopefully, I’ll never see them again.


For the American readers, if you’re still there, translate vacation, (or if you’re English, maybe, ‘going away to the seaside’).

Like we all should do, I went on holidays last week and spent five or six days picking up rocks from the beach, spending an hour with a cup of coffee and a book while watching a small town wake up, and generally taking a long time to do almost nothing.

The late flight yesterday brought me back to work and to what some would call reality. Strange to say, I do miss it, and the tasks of the morning were enjoyable. I don’t think it’s an adrenaline junkie thrill-of-closing-the-big-deal sort of thing (because I’m not closing any big deals) but it was still satisfying to be back at work.

Having said that, when the firm does close for Christmas that will be satisfying too… I might go back to my little town, my newspaper and my long macchiato with milk on the side. (It’s ok, I don’t really ask for that. Not often, anyway. Actually, I’m just as happy with a well brewed plunger coffee.)

For the vision splendid-

The Outback Lawyer.

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2 Responses to Not so legal advice

  1. Jess says:

    Hmmm..interesting. So what is it that prompts you when you get to the point that you break the unbreakable rule? How do you know when its right to break it, and how do you know when you’re just being a ‘young lawyer’?

  2. Rebecca says:

    “… generally taking a long time to do almost nothing”

    This must truly be the essence of a holiday. So enjoyable.

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