Lawyer Jeopardy – Potpourri Edition

Lawyers spend a good portion of their day answering legal questions for friends and family. A day rarely goes by when I don’t get a phone call or e-mail asking for advice on a random legal matter. How can my mortgage company sell my loan to a different company?….How can the cop write me a ticket if I was just following traffic?….What do I do if my neighbor’s fence is in my yard? You would think attorneys could easily rattle off answers to these “simple” question, but with a biased partial fact pattern (and the Missouri Bar always in the back of our minds), we’re often disappointing Uncle Bill at the family reunion or a friend of a friend of a friend at happy hour. Lawyers have to closely monitor how their answers to these “simple questions” affect or create an attorney-client relationship with their new best friend. In Missouri, Supreme Court Rule 4-1.2 discusses how an attorney-client relationship is formed and Rule 4 goes on to describe each party’s responsibilities thereafter. Bottom line, lawyers must be very careful answering these seemingly casual and simple questions for their friends and family We must also respect the Supreme Court’s view on how this banter affects our relationship with Uncle Bill. We also don’t have the answer to every question, however “simple”. Sorry Bill!

Here is a link to the Missouri Supreme Court Rule 4: Check it out: http://www.courts.mo.gov/page.jsp?id=707

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