Friday, July 15, 2016

Attorney-Client Conflicts in Litigation

As many know, an attorney cannot represent two people with conflicting interests. Because of the small number of landlord-tenant attorneys and the large number of calls, texts, and e-mails I receive, conflicts arise from time to time. When it does arise, I have to excuse myself from the matter.

Most times it occurs when a small landlord and tenant call, e-mail, or text me about the same matter. Once it is discovered through conflict checks, meetings, documents, and other disclosures, I cannot represent either side. I do a general conflicts check at the initial 10 minute call, and a detailed one before a retainer agreement is sent.

With any attorney, it would behoove the potential client to meet with the attorney at least 10 days before a deadline or trial/hearing to allow the detailed conflict check to go through before the attorney-client agreement is presented for signature. This will give you time to (1) review the contract; and (2) find a new attorney if you don't like the terms of the contract or a conflict is disclosed.