Does a Conflict of Interest Count as Legal Malpractice?

Posted January 14th, 2020.

Categories: Legal Malpractice.

If you trusted an attorney with your legal situation and that attorney made your life even worse due to negligence, incompetence, or ulterior motives, you may have a valid legal malpractice lawsuit. Conflicts of interest are oftentimes considered a form of legal malpractice, and if you believe your previous attorney had a conflict of interest that affected the outcome of your case, you must read on and speak with our experienced New Jersey legal malpractice attorney to learn more.

How should attorneys avoid conflicts of interest?

To avoid conflicts of interests, attorneys must do the following before taking on any case:

  • Ensure they are not representing an opposing client or that the opposing client is adverse in some way to their own–attorneys must always identify both sides of the suit to ensure there is no conflict of interest
  • Review previous records of cases handled in the past. It is generally a conflict of interest if an attorney acts against a client he previously served. Accidental overlap isn’t necessary an insidious conflict of interest, however, it can have detrimental impacts on a case. Attorneys have what is known as an attorney-client relationship with each individual they serve. This means that they may not divulge certain information provided by the client without the client’s consent. This is true even after the case has concluded.
  • Ensure they are not representing new clients in either an identical or a significantly associated legal matter if they had once worked for the law firm representing the opposing client and had obtained confidential information about that client months, or years prior.

Can an attorney ever represent a client if there is a conflict of interest?

Though conflicts of interests are very often examples of ethical violations, this is not always the case. For example, in certain scenarios where an attorney genuinely believes that they are their client’s best option for the case, and that he can provide “competent and diligent” representation while acting in an honest, open and dignified manner, a conflict of interest may not live up to the standard of legal malpractice. Additionally, if an attorney can prove that the representation was 100% legal, that he wasn’t representing two opposing clients in the same lawsuit, and that each of his clients provides informed consent in writing, he may successfully beat a legal malpractice lawsuit. It is oftentimes difficult to determine whether an attorney’s behavior legally qualifies as malpractice, as there are several gray areas. This is why it is so important you hire an experienced legal malpractice attorney as soon as possible.

Contact our experienced New Jersey firm

The Law Offices of Mark S. Guralnick is an experienced and committed legal team for clients throughout the state of New Jersey. Our team effectively serves victims of legal malpractice. If you require the services of a dedicated attorney, please contact The Law Offices of Mark S. Guralnick today for a free consultation.

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