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Litigators: Your Friend for Hire

In an opinion piece for The Strait Times, TSMP Law Corporation Partner Adrian Tan discusses the unique “friend for a fee” role that litigators play when assisting clients.

A lawyer will listen to you, agree totally with your point of view, and never, ever cheat on you with a rival. All for a fee, of course.

I am a litigator.

This is what I do: I am your friend for hire.

Some people will never need my friendship. They will never be accused of wrongdoing. They will never be hurt. They will never be betrayed. They will never be asked to give up something they treasure. They will live their lives free of conflict.

But there are other people, people who are seized by disputes. Such people will do three things. First, they will ignore the dispute. Second, they will wrestle with it. Third, they will search for a friend.

Ignoring a dispute is a good strategy. I recommend it. The vast majority of disputes that we encounter can be safely ignored. Most arguments are won by the first person to walk away.

Some disputes are difficult to ignore. So, people try to resolve them on their own. I am all for self-help. If a dispute can be resolved with an apology, then apologise. Apologies are opportunities for us to turn back the clock, and start again. And who among us has never wished for time travel?

But some disputes cannot be ignored or resolved on your own. That is when you will need a friend.

One of life’s greatest ironies is that it is easiest to find a friend when you are carefree and want for nothing. When you are in the grip of conflict, that is when you will be least likely to attract friends.

There is a saying: A friend in need is a friend indeed. That saying was coined by a litigator…

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