602.449.7980         office@woodnicklaw.com        1747 E Morten Ave #205 Phoenix AZ 85020

Although the thought of consulting with another attorney may feel like you are “cheating” on your current attorney, it is something attorneys do all the time. Good attorneys understand the value of having a fresh legal perspective on the case, especially when they have been working on a matter for a long time or when something happens that is out of their wheelhouse. It is also highly possible that the second attorney might see the situation differently and suggest a creative option and/or have access to an expert that may change the perspective of the case. 

Lawyers are professionals and understand that, just like someone would seek a second medical opinion before having surgery, clients may want to have their case reviewed by separate counsel before making the decision to move forward. An effective lawyer is one that would encourage their client to seek a second opinion and would not be offended if the client decides to take a different approach to their case. After all, at the end of the day, the outcome of the litigation is one that only the client has to live with. 

Consultation Services (include, but are not limited to): 

– Sexual Abuse 

– Physical Abuse 

– Shaken Baby Syndrome/Abuse Head Trauma 

– Child Neglect 

– Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy 

Note: Out of State Consultation Services are available but subject to local Bar admission requirements.

My Two Cents: The Benefit of a Second Opinion

Gregg Woodnick

 As an attorney and former adjunct professor with over twenty years of experience, I know the benefit of having a second opinion and a second set of eyes on a complicated case. As lawyers, we all (myself included) can get myopic in our cases. Having a second set of eyes on a case, both pretrial and trial, can be invaluable. I enjoy providing advisory services in cases, which can be as simple as meeting with an attorney and helping them vet strategy and limit possible presentation issues, and often it involves expert selection and strategy.

In Arizona, we have case law that allows Knapp counsel in criminal cases.  Often, a lack of financial resources leaves people using appointed attorneys (public defenders) rather than hiring private counsel. Most PDs are wonderful but they are all overworked and might not have access to the resources that private attorneys do.  As Knapp counsel,we can consult on a case and often help the appointed provider. E.g., cases in which a young parent is accused of abusing their child, but they maintain the harm was really the result of a medical issue that is being misidentified by doctors and police as child abuse. As Knapp counsel, we may be able to help a public defense attorney obtain more qualified experts with controverting opinions and help present them to the prosecutor to help resolve matters prior to an indictment or trial. 

The same approach applies in family court, where a parent may be making an abuse allegation to gain leverage in a custody dispute. For example, a parent may claim the other parent is suffering from Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (AKA Factitious Disorder) to convince the court that they should be awarded sole legal decision-making. As a consultant, we can help bring in experts and help an attorney develop strategy to help assure that the family court judge has a full and fair presentation of the evidence. 

While my approach varies on a case-by-case basis, my general philosophy is that providing a second opinion or merely taking a second look at a case helps strengthen the case and ensure that every unique aspect of the case is being addressed.