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Could a lawyer’s conflict of interest be legal malpractice?

On Behalf of | Dec 19, 2022 | Legal Malpractice |

You hire a lawyer because you need someone on your side who understands the law and can negotiate on your behalf. Whether you face criminal charges, are headed to divorce court or intend to sue a business for an injury it caused you, you rely on your lawyer to give you the right advice and to act in your best interests.

Unfortunately, not every lawyer will always put their clients first the way that they should. Although attorneys do have a fiduciary duty to their clients, which means that the client’s needs should come before any other consideration, lawyers may fail to fulfill that duty for many different reasons.

Some of them will fail due to incompetence or overworking themselves. Others might offer poor representation in part because they have something to gain from their client’s unfavorable outcome. Did you discover after your loss in court that your lawyer had a significant conflict of interest related to your case that makes you question the outcome?

Lawyers should be honest about their interests

Any attorney has certain obligations to their clients and must also adhere to state law and ethical standards maintained that the state level by professional organizations. Informing clients of a potential conflict of interests is crucial to providing adequate representation.

Clients need to know that a lawyer’s spouse works for the company that they want to sue or that they’ve previously worked with the spouse of someone planning a divorce. In fact, lawyers should also refuse to take cases where there could be a conflict of interest to avoid any allegations of inappropriate behavior.

When a lawyer takes your case despite a conflict of interest and fails to secure a positive outcome for you, you may have grounds to bring a legal malpractice claim.

Their deviation from best practices leaves them vulnerable

Anytime a lawyer violates the law or does something that violates professional standards, they may leave themselves open to allegations of legal malpractice from their clients. Legal malpractice claims can potentially compensate those harmed by a lawyer’s misconduct or professional negligence.

Even in a scenario where a lawyer was not consciously aware of the conflict of interest, it may have influenced their behavior and contributed to a poor outcome. Fighting back against legal malpractice helps maintain a high standard for legal services and protects those harmed by unethical attorneys.