What is a Conflict of Interest?
Generally speaking, a conflict of interest is any outside relationship or situation that makes it difficult for an attorney to be impartial in a case. Why is it important for prospective clients to be mindful of potential conflicts of interest when they hire lawyers in Tampa or elsewhere? Because conflicts of interest can end up truly hurting one’s case.
A Perfect Example
One of the most typical examples of a conflict of interest is a situation in which the attorney tries to represent two parties in a case, such as both the husband and wife, when what is best for one spouse may not be the best for the other. Another type of conflict of interest, not as cut and dried, is a situation where the attorney is receiving gifts from another party or attorney that may seem innocent but could be misconstrued as bribes. There are many other fact situations that could present a possible conflict of interest, forcing a client to question: does my attorney really have my best interest at heart? If you do suspect that a situation may be giving rise to a conflict of interest, you do have some rights.
Your Rights if You Suspect a Conflict of Interest
The first thing you can try to do is to talk to your attorney honestly and let him or her know that you are not comfortable with the current situation. It is possible that your attorney has a good explanation that will rightly and fully rule out the suspected conflict of interest. Of course, you always have the right to fire your lawyer – especially if you are not satisfied with the explanation provided to you. After you fire your lawyer – or even before you do — consider consulting an attorney who specializes in legal-malpractice law, to get his or her opinion as to whether your lawyer is operating under a conflict of interest.
The Florida legal malpractice attorneys at our Law Firm have extensive experience in legal malpractice law and would be pleased to consult with you. Call our office today, at 813.225.4000, for a free consultation, or contact us online at www.trialsanderrors.com.