In the medical world it is a common phenomenon, but outside it is often regarded as a vote of no confidence: asking for a second opinion. In the legal profession, too, we believe it is too rare for clients to ask for a second opinion. Second opinions on our own work and that of our colleagues in the legal profession should be requested more often. It keeps everyone on their toes and the interests of the client can be well served by it.
In a second opinion, you consult a lawyer other than your own, after your own lawyer has analyzed your case or even started to handle it. You can do this, for example, if you have doubts about the handling of your case, but also from the idea that ‘two professionals know more than one’. For a second opinion to be useful, it is advisable to ask for it from a lawyer from a different firm than your own.
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Asking another lawyer for a second opinion
Clients sometimes feel uncomfortable asking for a second opinion and are afraid that this will put pressure on the relationship with their lawyer. Although understandable in itself, this fear is often unjustified. Consulting another lawyer for a second opinion does not necessarily mean the end of the relationship with your own lawyer. In fact, it is often advisable to involve your own lawyer in the decision to ask for a second opinion. Experience shows that lawyers actually only encourage such a choice. They do not see it as a hairline crack in the relationship, but rather as an opportunity to have their own advice and strategic choices in your case confirmed by a fellow professional.
The lawyer who is asked for a second opinion may withdraw after his or her involvement, so that your own lawyer can continue to handle the case for you. It is also conceivable that both lawyers will handle your case jointly in the future. In doing so, one of the lawyers may take the lead and the other lawyer may be used as a line of consultation. Joint handling can also sometimes be useful in legal proceedings. One lawyer may have greater professional knowledge, while the other lawyer may be a better performer in the courtroom. That combination can benefit your case. To avoid duplication of costs, it is important to make good working arrangements in advance.
We ourselves regularly encourage clients to have our advice checked by other lawyers. This prevents tunnel vision (even the best lawyers can suffer from this) and in the vast majority of cases the second opinion from another lawyer confirms that we are on the right track with our analysis of the case. Especially when taking important turns in a case, such as deciding whether or not to appeal, it may be wise to listen to another lawyer. His or her approach can sometimes be enlightening and refreshing. It is often the experience (for example in a similar case) rather than the professional knowledge of a second opinion lawyer that can make the difference.
Are you in need of a second opinion? Contact VIOTTA
Do you need a second opinion, but do not know how to discuss this with your own lawyer? Please feel free to contact the specialists of VIOTTA Advocaten. We ourselves regularly encourage our clients to get a second opinion from a fellow lawyer when making important decisions. Conversely, we also regularly give second opinions in cases that require them. For advice without any obligation, please contact Arnoud Fioole or Martijn Kesler. They will be happy to assist you.
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VIOTTA is a law firm based in Amsterdam, specialising in providing advice in the areas of corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, contract law and corporate & commercial dispute resolution. We advise in transactional matters and litigate in commercial disputes. VIOTTA provides legal advice to its clients on Dutch corporate law matters, such as corporate governance, board structures, directors’ duties and liabilities, joint ventures and other collaborations. VIOTTA advises purchasers, sellers, management and other stakeholders in domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions (M&A).