Especially for an attorney in a narrow discipline, it is common for clients to know each other or at least cross paths. The strict rules of conduct for lawyers set standards for behavior, client representation and actions. Any violation of those conduct standards can lead to sanctions by the Bar Association.
Attorneys should be cautious about the clients they represent for that reason.
Conflicting interests can interfere with your ability to represent your clients effectively
Two clients with conflicting interests will see contrasting results in their interests. As an attorney, you cannot provide adequate representation to both clients. Similarly, your firm may not be able to represent both, even with different attorneys.
Clients can waive conflict concerns
In some cases, your client may sign a waiver that releases you from any conflict of interest concerns. The client must understand the extent of the potential exposure before signing the release.
Attorneys have an obligation to disclose their conflicts of interest
Failure to notify your client of a potential conflict of interest is a violation of the conduct code. Attorneys may have to appear in front of the Bar Association as a result of oversights like this.
Defending your law license against a conflict of interest or the failure to disclose a conflict can be stressful. When your law license is on the line, you need to understand the actions that jeopardize it. Be attentive to your law practice and upfront with your clients to reduce the risk of impropriety. Choose cases carefully to avoid conflicts as well.