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International arbitration leads to malpractice allegation

by | Dec 30, 2019 | Legal Malpractice |

When people in Florida face a legal dispute or a criminal case, they often rely on their attorneys to provide them with accurate representation that can protect their rights. However, conflicts of interest, negligence and other issues of attorney misconduct can lead to people facing severe repercussions in court. One attorney is suing another major firm, Sullivan and Cromwell, for alleged legal malpractice after one case led to negative results. The former attorney says that the firm represented a client in a matter where one of the partners had already served as an arbitrator.

According to the complaint, a partner at Sullivan and Cromwell had chaired an arbitration panel at which the lawyer’s clients, two Laotian companies involved in a failed business deal with a Thai firm, prevailed. However, later, Sullivan and Cromwell represented the other party in opposing enforcement of the award. The Sullivan and Cromwell partner chaired an arbitration held in Malaysia that awarded the Laotian firms over $56 million. However, they could not enforce the judgment and attempted to find venues around the world to do so.

Later, a Malaysian court vacated the arbitration result. Since the case had been taken on a contingency basis, the lawyer could not collect fees. However, he discovered that Sullivan and Cromwell were involved in the Thai company’s efforts to fight collection of the judgment in both the United States and the United Kingdom. He says that the firm had a conflict of interest and that his clients should have been required to give written, informed consent to the representation.

In cases that involve thousands or millions of dollars, the costs of legal malpractice and undisclosed conflicts of interest can be high. People or companies who have lost out due to their lawyers’ actions may benefit from consulting a legal malpractice law attorney about options to pursue compensation.