Almost every year, survey conducted shows that conflicts of interests have been cited as the most common alleged legal malpractice error. It’s actually one of the first or second biggest leading causes of the legal malpractice claim. Indeed this kind of error is taken seriously by the court since it’s viewed as a breach of duty of loyalty. This kind of mistake happens if the attorney is not loyal to the client. If you suspect your attorney was not dependable, and as a result, you were harmed, then there are ways you can obtain help from experienced legal malpractice lawyers. The only thing you can do is to look for those lawyers who uphold the principle of knowing that conflict of interest is a serious ethical violation.
What is Conflict of Interest?
Conflict of interest arises due to the simultaneous representation of incompatible parties without their consent. Despite any effort to help the client, conflicts of interest do arise. For instance, in litigation, if a client loses or wins less than what he/she expected, we might say that the lawyer was liable for malpractice only if he/she failed to exercise the right judgment and knowledge that could be exercised by a reasonable and a prudent lawyer. However, there are some factors that exist to determine whether there was a conflict of interest. The court will determine the relevancy of the below:
- How severely did the lawyer make the potential consequences
- How precise was the lawyer negligent when representing the client
- Can the error be made right without harming the client?
Some of the types of conflict of interest may include:
- A lawyer taking a case for someone where there is indirect or direct financial interest
- Joint representation in potentially conflicting situations where there is a probability that actual conflicts may arise such asrepresentation of two businesspeople suing each other
- Entering into a business relationship with clients. The lawyer may become a shareholder of a company while still acting as the company lawyer.
- Third- party intervention. This is where the judgment from the lawyer may be affected by other parties. For instance, when the client’s fees are being paid for by someone else other than the client.
Conflict of interest is complicated and thus hard to distinguish. The distinction can only be done by an experienced legal malpractice lawyer. If the above happens and there is a likelihood that there may raise a substantial malpractice claim, this means that there exists an apparent conflict of interest. The client then should consider the below steps.
Steps To Consider
If you believe in having a legal malpractice claim, you can consider the below steps:
- Alert the lawyer involved: The lawyer should know that you are aware of the mistake. If the lawyer is not ready to put your interest first, then you should terminate the representation. It’s much pretty a matter of reasonableness to determine whether the lawyer will continue representing you once you find that there is a potential conflict of interest.
- Look for a firm that specializes in legal malpractice cases: Professional liability is an area in itself. You require an expert who knows the procedures and rules needed in malpractice claims. You should make sure the firm is specialized in that specific area. This may even mean retaining a full-service firm. You don’t have to worry about the legal malpractice attorney contingency. Most of these firms have a well set out plan on how the legal fees will be after winning your case.
- Follow the legal discussion: Just because malpractice lawyers are handling your case doesn’t mean an attorney-client relationship. Ensure to follow your case and get to know the facts. Working with the firm only makes explicit what has been privileged.
- Save information related to your case: Be sure to keep any relevant documents pertaining to your case. You can even liaise with an IT expert to ensure nothing will be lost. This will enable you to have the follow-ups of the process.
- Stay Calm: Lawsuits may take an emotional toll on you, ensure to relax as much as possible. As legal experts are handling your case, look for ways to ensure you’re not worked up. Everybody makes mistakes, and so do lawyers. Unfortunately, these mistakes mostly lead to potential legal malpractice. Just keep the above tips and wait for the experts to work on your case.
When You Think Your lawyer Has A Malpractice Case
In case of a conflict of interest, the lawyer’s ignorance cannot be an excuse. It’s his/her responsibility to be aware of these situations and avoid them. Failure to honor your affirmative professional obligation automatically leads to legal malpractice claims. If your lawyer has committed legal malpractice, you need to sue your lawyer in court. To ensure the process runs smoothly and you recover damages, hire an experienced legal malpractice lawyer.