Get A Tough Negotiator & Strong Litigator On Your Side Today

When a lawyer tries to represent both parties involved in a dispute

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2024 | Legal Malpractice |

Legal malpractice occurs when a professional does not provide appropriate support to clients and those clients suffer harm as a result. Legal malpractice comes in many different forms, some of which are more egregious than others. Frequently, clients discover an issue with their representation after an unfavorable outcome to a serious legal matter. They may then question whether they have the option of holding their attorney accountable for the losses they incurred.

Allegations that a lawyer breached ethics rules and current professional standards could lead to a viable legal malpractice lawsuit. One of the scenarios in which legal malpractice claims are possible involves an attorney agreeing to represent more than one party involved in a dispute without being transparent about that potential conflict of interest with those affected.

Cost-cutting efforts can impact representation

Legal matters can quickly become incredibly expensive. Court costs and lawyer fees can add up to thousands of dollars. Sometimes, those trying to resolve a dispute seek to minimize the expense by only retaining one lawyer. After all, a lawyer may charge hundreds of dollars per hour for their support.

If an attorney agreed to represent more than one party involved in a dispute, then that lawyer may have had an unprofessional conflict of interest. Generally, lawyers have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of their clients. That is an impossible standard to achieve if a lawyer represents two or more parties with disparate needs in the same legal matter.

For example, an attorney who agrees to represent both business partners in a buyout dispute may offer better advocacy and advice to one party as opposed to the other. The terms they set may benefit one partner more than the other. Even if they attempt to remain neutral, their personal biases and pre-existing relationship with one party can lead to an unfavorable outcome.

Therefore, current professional standards typically dictate that lawyers should only represent one party involved in a dispute rather than trying to represent everyone simultaneously. Someone feeling dissatisfied with the outcome of a legal issue may recognize that an attorney failed them by agreeing to represent them and the other party.

Pursuing a legal malpractice lawsuit could lead to compensation for someone harmed by unethical or unprofessional conduct by a lawyer. Those who understand the types of issues that may constitute legal malpractice are potentially able to speak up for themselves and hold a lawyer accountable for their harmful professional failings.