If you have ever needed to hire an attorney in Florida, you should know that you have rights as a client. One of these rights is that your attorney should provide you with independent judgment and be loyal to you and your needs according to the American Bar Association. There are a few things that may interfere with these rights and one is a conflict of interest.
An example of a situation in which a conflict of interest exists would be an attorney representing both parties in a legal dispute. This by nature would eliminate the lawyer's ability to be loyal to one client in a given matter. There are other situations that may represent conflicts of interests and they could involve other current clients and even former clients. The personal interests of a lawyer may also provide a conflict and prevent a lawyer from being independent in their judgment of a client.
If an attorney is aware of a conflict of interest before accepting a new client, that new relationship should not commence. If a conflict comes to light after a lawyer has agreed to represent a client, the lawyer must inform the client and receive their approval in writing to continue to represent them so long as such representation could continue without undue bias.
If you would like to learn more about what might constitute a conflict of interest for an attorney and what that may mean for a client, please feel free to visit the legal conflict of interest page on our Florida legal malpractice website.