Understanding legal conflicts of interest

Hiring a California attorney involves a substantial investment, so you want to feel confident that the person you trust to advocate on your behalf has no conflicts of interest that could potentially interfere with representation. Regrettably, however, attorneys do sometimes take on clients despite having existing conflicts of interest, and they may do so intentionally or unintentionally. At the Lange Law Corporation, we understand how much an attorney conflict of interest can affect your case, and we have helped many clients who found themselves in such circumstances pursue appropriate recourse.

Per the American Bar Association, legal conflicts of interest can take on many forms, and one of them prevents lawyers from taking on new clients who have goals that are in direct opposition to those of an existing client. Known as a “directly adverse” conflict of interest, an attorney can only take on a new client with conflicting interests if the clients have given him or her informed consent to do so.

If a potential attorney has a personal conflict of interest relating to your case, this, too, can prove problematic and hurt your chances at securing a successful outcome. For example, an attorney may not lawfully represent you in a case against one of the lawyer’s own close family members, as doing so would present an obvious personal conflict of interest.

An attorney also cannot lawfully represent you if there is a chance that the lawyer’s ability to represent you is materially limited because of existing responsibilities or duties. In other words, if an attorney’s own interests or connections might affect judgment or his or her ability to produce quality work on your behalf, this may constitute a legal conflict of interest. More about legal malpractice is available on our web page.