It is important for you to empathize with a client’s predicament.

If you become too invested in a client’s case, however, you may compromise your role as an effective advocate.

There are several problems that may arise when you lose your objectivity.

Developing a blind spot as to the strength of the evidence against your client

Denial is a trap for defence counsel. 

You must never lose sight of the evidence for the prosecution or the practical range of sentence for a charge as determined by Parliament and your local Court of Appeal.

Your concerns for your client must not cloud your judgment. All of the choices that a client makes must be informed by your candid assessment of the strength of the Crown's case and the potential consequences.

Failing to recognize that you can’t solve all of your client’s problems

Counsel’s expertise lies within the realm of the law. To draw from Warren Buffett, you must stay within your circle of competence.

Your client may present with many problems that fall outside the scope of your role as defence counsel.

You should make appropriate referrals, when necessary, and must not assume the role of a psychologist or a counsellor.

Wanting to win at all costs

Your mission is not to win at all costs.

You are an advocate with professional obligations and responsibilities. 

You are also an officer of the court.

By losing sight of your role and failing to maintain sufficient emotional distance from your client you risk compromising your professional ethics and may expose yourself to disciplinary proceedings or even criminal charges.

 

 

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