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Collins Law Firm :: Blog

Archive for July, 2023

Attorneys and Conflicts of Interest

Monday, July 17th, 2023

A. Dual Representation:

One of the most common scenarios presenting a conflict of interest which precludes an attorney from representing a client is when a conflict arises due to dual representation. Dual representation occurs when an attorney attempts to represent two clients with conflicting interests in the same legal matter. For instance, a conflict arises if an attorney represents both the plaintiff and defendant in a lawsuit, as their duty to advocate for one client may compromise their responsibilities to the other.

B. Prior Representation:

Attorneys may face conflicts of interest if they have previously represented a client in a matter that is substantially related to the current case. This can lead to a situation where the attorney’s access to confidential information from the prior representation might hinder their ability to zealously represent the new client. In such cases, the attorney may be precluded from representing the opposing party to avoid divulging confidential information.

C. Personal or Financial Interests:

An attorney’s personal or financial interests can create significant conflicts, precluding them from representing a client. For instance, if an attorney has a substantial financial stake in the outcome of a case or is related to one of the parties involved, it could compromise their objectivity and impair their ability to provide unbiased counsel.

D. Business Relationships:

Attorneys must be cautious not to represent clients if they have a business relationship with the opposing party or if they are in a position of influence over them. Such relationships could raise questions about the attorney’s independence and loyalty, potentially undermining the client’s trust.

III. Addressing and Avoiding Conflicts of Interest:

To address and avoid conflicts of interest, attorneys often perform comprehensive conflict checks before taking on new clients or cases. This process involves reviewing existing and past client relationships, evaluating any potential conflicts, and determining the appropriateness of representation. If a conflict is identified, attorneys must take appropriate measures to avoid preclusion from representation, which may include the following:

A. Informed Consent:

In some instances, an attorney can represent a client despite a potential conflict if they obtain the informed consent of all affected parties. Informed consent involves disclosing the nature of the conflict and the potential risks to the client, who then provides explicit permission for the attorney to proceed with representation.

B. Refusing Representation:

If a conflict of interest cannot be adequately addressed, the attorney may be required to decline representation. While this may be disappointing for the client, it is essential to maintain ethical standards and prevent harm to both parties involved.

C. Disqualification:

In cases where an attorney becomes aware of a conflict of interest after already representing a client, they may be disqualified from continuing the representation. In such situations, the attorney may need to withdraw from the case to avoid further ethical violations.


Conflict of interest is a vital aspect of legal ethics that attorneys must navigate diligently. By understanding the different scenarios that can lead to conflicts and taking proactive measures to address and avoid them, attorneys can uphold their professional responsibilities and ensure that their clients receive loyal, unbiased, and ethical representation. Maintaining high ethical standards is not only crucial for the legal profession’s integrity but also for building and preserving clients’ trust in the legal system.

By Zachary Canter, Legal Assistant

Why the law keeps changing

Tuesday, July 11th, 2023

There are many reasons why the law keeps changing. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • Social change. As society changes, so too do the laws that govern it. For example, laws around same-sex marriage and abortion have changed in recent years to reflect changing social attitudes.
  • Technological change. New technologies can create new legal challenges that require new laws to address. For example, the rise of the internet has led to new laws around copyright, privacy, and cybercrime.
  • Economic change. Changes in the economy can also lead to changes in the law. For example, the financial crisis of 2008 led to new laws around banking and finance.
  • Political change. Changes in the political landscape can also lead to changes in the law. For example, a new government may come to power with a different set of priorities, which can lead to new laws being passed.
  • Judicial decisions. The courts can also play a role in changing the law. For example, a court decision can interpret a law in a new way, or it can strike down a law as unconstitutional.

In short, the law is constantly evolving to reflect the changing needs and values of society. This is why it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest legal developments, so that you can understand your rights and responsibilities.

Here are some additional specific examples of how the law has changed in response to social, technological, and economic change:

  • In the 1960s, the law was changed to allow same-sex couples to marry in some jurisdictions.
  • In the 1990s, the law was changed to make it illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities in employment and housing.
  • In the 2000s, the law was changed to regulate the internet and protect consumers from online fraud.

These are just a few examples of how the law has changed over time. As society continues to evolve, so too will the law. It is important to stay informed about these changes so that you can understand your rights and responsibilities.

By David B. Collins, Jr.