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Calling an attorney as a witness

by | Jan 11, 2019 | Legal Malpractice |

Witnesses are often a vital element of legal proceedings in Florida. Given the impact of their testimony, it is understandable why you would want to call as many as possible in order to support your claim. Court officials will often allow you to call as many witnesses as you believe are necessary (within reason) to effectively support your case. Nearly anyone can be called to be a witness (including attorneys). Many that come seeking our assistance here at St. Denis & Davey, PA are often surprised to learn, however, that there are limitations imposed on attorneys regarding their rights to serve as witnesses at trial. 

Having an attorney testify as a witness on your behalf may seem to offer added weight to your claim (given the assumption of their knowledge of the law). According to the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct, however, an attorney that is likely to be called as a witness in your case cannot also serve as your legal representative in that same matter. The only exceptions to this rule would be the following situations: 

  • Where the attorney’s testimony relates to an uncontested issue
  • Where the attorney’s testimony relates to the nature of the legal services being rendered
  • If the disqualification of the attorney (due to the necessity of them being called as a witness) would place an undue hardship on you

What about situations where an attorney working in your lawyer’s firm is called as a witness in your case? Such action is allowed provided that it does not violate that attorney’s obligations to past or current clients. You can learn more about the guidelines imposed on attorneys by continuing to search through our site.