When you are looking for an attorney to take on your case, you’ll probably look locally. In larger firms, it’s possible that both defense and prosecuting attorneys will work together.
One thing that you want to know is that your attorney does not have any conflict of interests with your case. You need to know that they are not going to want to be helpful to the other party or to hurt your case intentionally. Those actions are unethical, and they are a kind of legal malpractice.
If you are concerned about a conflict of interest, it’s best to talk to your attorney about who is involved in the case and if they have any conflicts that they foresee. Simply knowing the other attorney working on the case isn’t enough to create a conflict of interest, but there are some cases where your attorney may be too close to the issue to take your case.
What is a conflict of interest?
A conflict of interest happens when an attorney is in a position where they would be able to manipulate the situation to their benefit in some way. For example, you wouldn’t want an attorney taking on a case defending a drunk driver when the victim was his or her daughter. Similarly, it may represent a conflict of interest to have an attorney represent both sides of the same case.
What can you do if your attorney didn’t tell you about a conflict of interest?
Sometimes, an attorney won’t know that there is a conflict of interest at the start of your case. However, once they realize that there is one, they should let you know right away. They may be able to refer you to a different attorney if that happens.
If your attorney doesn’t let you know and you find out later, then you may be in a position to file a malpractice claim. This is particularly true if you lost your case or were hurt due to the attorney’s actions.
A conflict of interest can’t be allowed in a case, because it puts you at risk. If you find out that one occurred, then it’s worth looking into your options.