I got hurt in a truck wreck. I spoke to a Tennessee lawyer and he said I had a really good case. I have lost my job as a result of the wreck and my finances are a complete mess. This lawyer said that if I would hire him to help me on the case he would loan me $1000 per month while the case was pending and that I could pay him back, without interest, when the case was over. Is there any reason I shouldn’t do that?
Yes. You should not do it because the lawyer’s offer of money to you was a violation of Tennessee ethics rules for lawyers. A lawyer can advance the costs of pursing the case, but cannot give a client money for living expenses or a fee for hiring the lawyer for the case.
So, you might ask, why should you care? The lawyer’s ethics are not your problem. You need money. The lawyer is willing to loan it to you. Whether he or she violates ethics rules is really none of your concern.
Perhaps. But I suggest you think about it like this: If a lawyer is willing to violate the rules of ethics to get a client – to risk getting kicked out of the legal profession to get you as a client, what else will he do to actually make money on your case? Will he give you his true opinion of the value of the case, or deliberately lower it to make sure it settles and he gets his money back? Will he pay a witness to testify in your favor – a crime that puts your entire case at risk? Is this really the kind of person you want representing you>
No, stay away from any lawyer who offers to pay you money or loan you money. Such lawyers are dishonest and do not deserve you as a client.