What is an Attorney Conflict of Interest?

Posted August 5th, 2020.

Categories: Legal Malpractice.

When an attorney earns his right to practice, he or she swears to always act ethically and in the best interests of his or her clients. Unfortunately, not all attorneys follow these rules. There are many ways attorneys can engage in malpractice, though one of the most common forms of malpractice is having a conflict of interest. That being said, you should note that having a conflict of interest is not always technically malpractice, though attorneys should always do their best to avoid these conflicts whenever possible. If you recently hired an attorney who you believe had a conflict of interest, the most important thing you can do now is to continue reading and speak with our experienced New Jersey legal malpractice attorney to learn more about the legal process ahead. Here are some of the questions you may have:

Are attorneys obligated to avoid conflicts of interest?

In most cases, yes, they are. That is why they should always ensure the following before taking somebody’s case:

  • That they are not representing an opposing client. This is not always clear-cut, however, this is why attorneys are responsible for doing the necessary research before taking on a case.
  • That they are never fighting against a client they once represented.
  • That they do not represent a client with an identical or very similar legal issue if they once worked for a firm that represented the opposing client. This is because in many cases, that attorney would have obtained confidential information regarding that client that could be unfairly used against him/her.

Is a conflict of interest always malpractice?

In short, no. As stated earlier, though attorneys should try and avoid conflict of interests whenever possible, representing a client in a conflict of interest is not always a breach of ethical violations. In certain cases, attorneys will genuinely do everything they can for a client, working to fight for the best outcome possible on their behalf, and believing that no other attorney could do as good of a job as they, though a conflict exists. In this case, depending on the specific circumstances, the attorney is most likely not committing an act of pure malpractice. That being said, very often, a conflict of interest is indeed malpractice, which is why you need a seasoned legal malpractice attorney who can work to determine whether your case qualifies or not. Generally speaking, however, if you can prove that your attorney had a conflict of interest, and that conflict of interest directly caused you to lose your case, there is a very good chance you can, in fact, sue that attorney for malpractice.

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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