By Jedidiah McKeehan
Here’s a situation that comes up often in the legal world. An individual will be contemplating legal action, whether it is divorce or something else, and the other side will tell them, “Well, I already talked to an attorney and they told me that XYZ would happen.”
The person on the receiving end of this statement may contact me and relay this story and I will always ask, “Who is the attorney who told them that?” The answer is almost always, “They wouldn’t tell me.”
I don’t know how this became such a commonplace thing. For people to just outright lie about whether they have spoken to an attorney, but it seems to happen all the time. To my knowledge, no one is going around making up stories about what a plumber told them!
So when I get told a story like the one above, my response is always the same, “if they won’t tell you who the attorney is, then they didn’t actually talk to an attorney.”
Why do I say this? Unless the attorney knows both of the parties to the potential legal action, there is no reason for the attorney to hide their identity. Attorneys usually want their identity known by people.
If I tried to dive into why this exchange occurs, I suppose it would be because individuals believe that if they have the opinion of an attorney stating what might occur on a case then that opinion carries a certain amount of weight and will force the other individual to relent and give in.
Thinking about that makes me feel personally good. “Hey, I’m an attorney, my opinion matters to people!” Despite that, it does seem like an unusual thing that so many people have decided to lie about talking to an attorney, completely independently of each other.
Another reason I am able to conclude that this other individual didn’t talk to an attorney is that they will state that something is going to happen that simply is not going to happen.
If you find yourself in the position of speaking to someone who claims that they have spoken to an attorney and the attorney told them what was going to happen, DO NOT BELIEVE THEM!
Go and seek your own legal advice. There are so many attorneys who offer free initial consultations, it simply makes no sense to make a significant life decision based on things told to you by the other person.
Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties. He works in many areas, including criminal, personal injury, landlord-tenant, probate, and estate planning. Visit attorney-knoxville.com for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.