Paralegal Essentials – Ethics: Conflicts of Interest

In California, conflicts of interests are an important area of legal ethics.  Lawyers cannot represent parties whose interests are in direct conflict.  Conflicts can arise in many different situations.  The followning are some of the more common ones:

  • Simultaneous Representation (representing two or more individuals or entities at the same time)
  • Successive Representation (representing two or more individuals or entities with conflicting interests in succession or one after the other)
  • Attorney witness conflict (where an attorney is forced to act as both witness and advocate in the same matter)
  • Business transactions with clients
  • Financial assistance to clients
  • Lawyer having stake or interest in litigation
  • Gifts from client
  • Limiting malpractice liability
  • Payment of attorneys fees by a third party (other than client
For more on legal ethics in California, consult the California Rules of Professional Conduct
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