What if a lawyer says he’s friends with the Judge?
If you are considering hiring an attorney, and he or she says that he or she is good friends with the judge, be wary. Likewise, if a lawyer says that he/she plays golf, has meals, or drinks with the judge, this is not only wrongful conduct, but unethical as well.
Although claiming friendship is completely improper, it is fine for an attorney to say that he has appeared or practiced before the judge,
Why would an attorney say he is good friends with your Judge?
An attorney will say it to get your money and have you sign a Retainer Agreement. Rather than rely upon his or her prior success, the lawyer decides to commit ethical violations to try to get you to hire him or her. This type of lawyer will usually flat out lie to a potential client and tell them that the case will be thrown out of court. Once you find out the truth, it is too late. He or she has your money, and you feel trapped.
Is the lawyer really friends with the Judge?
No. However, if you just want to believe it’s true, ask the lawyer the following questions. What’s the judge’s spouse’s name, judge’s kids names, etc. Further, ask the lawyer how his or her “friendship” is going to help your case. Is the judge going to dismiss your case because you hired this attorney?
What are the ethical violations?
The Illinois Supreme Court allows an attorney the right to practice law. If an attorney does not follow the rules, it can result in a law license suspension or even disbarment. So following ethical rule is very important not only to keep the right to practice, but also because it is just the right way to do business.
The ABA (American Bar Association) Rule 8.4(e) states. “It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to: state or imply an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official”. When an attorney says he/she is friends with the judge, it is only for purpose of suggesting he/she has influence over the judge. I have heard hundreds of times a client tell me that this or that other lawyer’s BFF is the judge. Very unethical and frustrating.
In short, if you meet with an attorney that says they are good friends with the judge, do not hire that attorney. This is just the beginning of his or her unethical actions. Don’t wait around to find out his/her next unethical act.