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Recognizing conflicts of interests

Handling legal matters in New York can be a daunting process given the complexities involved with the law. Thankfully, an attorney can provide you with the insight and expertise needed to navigate through them. Yet after paying for this professional service, you should expect your attorney to be completely dedicated to serving your interest in your case.

Many clients come to us here Schwartz, Ponterio & Levenson, PLLC having not had that happen. If you similarly feel as though something kept your attorney from offering you a complete and comprehensive representation, you may suspect that had a conflict of interest. Yet what does such a conflict actually look like?

Avoiding concurrent conflicts

The American Bar Association defines conflicts of interest in its Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Here it states that an attorney should not provide (or offer to provide) legal representation to you if their representation for another client will adversely affect yours in any way. Additionally, beyond their legal work, any responsibilities to other clients, former clients, third parties or personal interest that might materially limit their ability to adequately represent you can also qualify as a conflict of interest.

Accepting potentially conflicting situations

These restrictions need not necessarily preclude an attorney from representing you at all. Indeed, there are scenarios where an attorney can ethically represent you even when there is a potential conflict of interest. For this to happen, the following elements must occur:

  • The attorney reasonably believing they can represent you to their utmost abilities
  • No laws or statutes prohibiting them from representing you
  • You agreeing to them representing you (even knowing of the potential conflict)

You can find more details on recognizing potential cases of legal malpractice by continuing to explore our site.