Paralegal Essentials – Ethics: Conflicts of Interest (part 2)

One of the common area where potential conflicts of interest arise is in the area of simultaneous representation of clients whose interests are adverse to each other.  If the clients have a true conflict of interest, the attorney in California is unable to represent either party no matter how lucrative it might be.  The lawyer can be forced to disgorge the fee is he or she represents parties and a conflict of interest is established.

Some of the situations where simultaneous representation conflicts and potential conflicts of interest are found are:

  • Where the parties interests are adverse to each other in litigation (two defendants whose interests are not directly aligned)
  • Representation of competitors
  • Representation of both sides in a dissolution of marriage
  • Acting as attorney as well as mediator/arbitrator
  • Drafting wills or estate planning documents for married individuals
For more on legal ethics in California, consult the California Rules of Professional Conduct
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