Most people in California find themselves in legal trouble due to an unfamiliarity with local laws. Thus, you (as an attorney or law student) may assume that avoiding such issues (including those regarding ethical legal practice in particular) might be easy.
Such is the assumption of many in your same position that come to us here at The Law Office of Zachary D. Weschler, APC facing action brought by the state bar. One of the more causes of such action is conflicts of interest. Knowing the guidelines detailing such conflicts may help you in answering to charges of you allegedly engaging in them.
Preserving the integrity of the client-lawyer relationship
Per the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct, conflict of interest exists between you and a client only if your representation of them adversely affects your work with another client, or if your obligations to another client, third party or your own personal interests limits your ability to provide a client with apt representation.
Working under potentially conflicting conditions
Even when potentially conflicting conditions exist between you and a client, you can still represent them provided the situation meets certain criteria. This includes:
- You believing that despite potential conflicts, you can still ably and competently represent them
- The law not expressly prohibiting you from representing them
- You not representing both sides of the same legal dispute concurrently
- Your client clearly consenting to you representing them (even knowing of the potentially conflicting conditions)
Establishing an environment of transparency in your work with all your clients may go far in helping you avoid conflicts of interest and challenging such charges in the event they do arise. You can find more information on defending yourself before the state bar by continuing to explore our site.