Vacaville, CA asked in Divorce, Family Law and Civil Rights for California

Q: Can a client tell their lawyer who they don’t want involved anymore as a witness?

Like if a client asked someone to say a statement to their lawyer and the person said yes because the client reassured that they would remain anonymous but the lawyer asked the witness to testify but the client doesn’t want them too. Can they tell their lawyer to no longer involve them or put them as a witness?

1 Lawyer Answer
Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Newport Beach, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: This is called "lawyering your own case." It happens all the time and is usually a bad thing for the client. You hired an attorney for his professional evaluation on how to best handle your case and now you want to contradict him? When a client refuses to follow my counsel, I usually charge double. You hired the attorney, you are no longer "driving the case" and need to be a cooperative passenger to help the driver. Provide the requested documents, listen to guidance about how to testify properly, tell the truth, and cooperate in getting your best witnesses to the stand to testify for you. We deal with reluctant witnesses all the time, this is what a subpoena is for. I once had a case, my client said Ms. X was a good witness, I subpoened her, she called me, said she did not think she had anything to offer. 1 day after her deposition the other side wanted to settle the case, it was HUGELY significant. You don't know, the witness doesn't know, the attorney knows how significant the witness is.

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