When you hire a lawyer, give them a chance to show you what they can do for you. It can be tempting to get a second opinion for every decision they make or recommendation they give, especially if you know someone who practices in the relevant area and can give you advice for free. But in my experience it often does more harm than good to ask your sister-in-law, uncle, college roommate, or whatever lawyer you happen to know to shadow the lawyer you are paying. There are times where it makes sense to seek a second opinion, but lawyers and clients work best when they are forced to communicate with each other and address the bumps in the road that arise.
When you run every decision your attorney makes by your friend, you undermine trust and impair the normal development of the attorney-client relationship. This is especially true if the lawyer you are paying knows or finds out that you are using a shadow. They correctly conclude that you don’t trust them, and too often that causes them to work less hard than they otherwise would. I’ve spoken to several lawyers who basically take the position that clients who use shadows from the beginning of a relationship are the kind of clients that should be avoided.
And you should generally avoid using a shadow lawyer even if you don’t disclose that fact to the lawyer you are paying. It’s the functional equivalent of having a girlfriend or boyfriend on the side. This isn’t to say that I think using a shadow lawyer is immoral or that it somehow breaks a promise to the lawyer to be exclusive with them. Using a shadow lawyer, however, means that your commitment to the lawyer is diminished. And that tends to negatively impact the results you and your lawyer can achieve together.
If you are having series concerns with your lawyer’s performance, discuss them with the lawyer. And if you remain dissatisfied, and the issue is significantly important to you, consider replacing that lawyer outright. That is better alternative to using a shadow lawyer. Who after all wants to be constantly second guessed? Would you want to be? Neither does your lawyer.