Understanding conflicts of interest

There can be many situations in which you may need to seek the advice of a lawyer in California. Regardless of the reason for which you seek legal counsel, you always deserve to know that the attorney you hire is able to provide unbiased and fair representation for you. An attorney’s interests in other matters or other people may prevent this from happening. If this does, it may be considered a conflict of interest.

As explained by the American Bar Association, no interest of an attorney should bar that person from acting in the best interest of a client. A conflict may be based on a lawyer’s personal views or relationships. It may also be based on representation of another client at the same time, such as if one attorney attempted to represent people on opposing sides of the same matter. Even representation of a prior client may come into play and make a lawyer unable to properly represent a new or potential client. 

There may be select situations in which an attorney has a relationship that could potentially be a conflict of interest but that representation is still possible. However, this should only happen if the attorney has obtained the express written consent of the client involved in the matter.

If you would like to learn more about the types of situations that may interfere with the independent judgment of an attorney representing you, please feel free to visit the conflict of interest page of our California legal and professional malpractice website.