Did your attorney ask you for informed written consent?

You expect your California attorney to represent your interests when you hire him or her. According to The State Bar of California, your attorney is bound to rules of professional conduct that dictate when he or she must inform you of potentially conflicting interests.

There are certain types of relationships between your attorney and another person or witness in your case that must be explained to you, including the following:

  • Personal
  • Professional
  • Legal
  • Business
  • Financial

As an example, your attorney used to belong to the same firm where another attorney on the case was also a member. Your attorney must provide you with written disclosure about the past relationship, and all of the ways that it could possibly affect your case. Then, you must give written permission acknowledging that you understand. 

You must also give your consent before your attorney can represent you in a matter where someone he or she has or had some kind of relationship with could be affected by the outcome of your case. This refers to someone who may benefit from your positive outcome, as well as someone who may benefit from a negative outcome. The potential for either of those circumstances to affect your representation may be significant.

If you and someone else both have similar cases against another party, you may want to hire the same attorney. In this situation, your attorney may not negotiate for a combined settlement to divide between you unless you and the other person give your written consent.

These are just a few instances where your attorney must have your permission in writing before proceeding. Many other circumstances may apply; therefore, this general information should not be interpreted as legal advice.