How to Help a Friend with a Legal Problem: A Guide for Non-Lawyers

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One day, you may be chilling out on the weekend with your friends. The next, you might find yourself on the receiving end of unexpected situations: a divorce, an auto accident attorney snafu in Kent or elsewhere, and some other difficult legal conundrum. It’s fortunate to avoid legal troubles, but your loved ones may be embroiled in one for lack of a choice or inability to negotiate terms with the other party.

How do you act prudently and supportively to your loved ones as they go through this trying time? Here are some ways that you can help make things better or at the very least, avoid making things worse.

Respect Your Loved One’s Case Confidentiality at All Costs

A harrowing and tragic story of how media botched a delicate rescue mission in North Korea happened after Masaji Ishikawa, a successful escapee from North Korea, detailed his journey in his book A River of Darkness. He escaped first via the river separating China and North Korea’s territories and was able to successfully return to Tokyo, where his mother was originally based before their migration to North Korea in the eighties. He, unfortunately, got media attention, which may have compromised the safety of the loved ones left behind in North Korea. He was not able to rescue them out of the dictatorial state as he originally planned.

Any legal entanglements require secrecy or utmost delicacy. It may be juicy or an object of your outrage that this happened to your family or friend, but posting the details of the legal action on social media will only serve to make things worse.

Help Your Friend or Loved One Find a Good Lawyer or Law Firm

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The reality is that your case is often as good as your lawyer. Many heinous criminals ran away scot-free from their cases because they had good lawyers who were able to bend the system to their advantage. If you feel that your friend or family member is incredibly aggrieved and you have the resources, help him or her find a good lawyer who will allow him or her to have the best legal management and support as he or she goes through this incredibly harrowing experience.

In some cases, it may even be helpful to have multiple legal opinions before making a sound decision.

Cut Your Loved One Some Slack and Help Carry the Load

Never underestimate the power of a home-cooked meal here and there or just chilling out with a beer in the evening after a day in court. You can do some gestures like helping him or her with babysitting the kids while he or she goes about doing legal errands for his or her case. You can also provide encouraging stories. If your friend needs to discuss the case to someone and vent about it, just sitting and listening may already contribute a lot to his or her well-being and resilience.

People with legal troubles are often under a lot of pressure. The best thing you can do for them is to have the most empathy you could muster and provide both practical and emotional assistance.

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