When a Conflict of Interest Becomes a Lawsuit: Issues in Legal Malpractice Cases Based on Conflicts of Interest

24 Jul , 2024

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Many malpractice cases filed against lawyers involve allegations of conflict of interest. As a matter of professional ethics, lawyers are prohibited from accepting (or continuing) representations where there is a conflict of interest. 

This course will provide an overview of the conflict-of-interest rules, including discussion of Model Rules of Professional Conduct 1.7 and 1.9 and their New York counterparts. The course will then discuss the elements of malpractice claims and how they apply to allegations of ethical conflicts of interest, with a focus on defending against malpractice claims. Finally, we will discuss issues surrounding discovery of a firm’s conflicts clearing process and the internal discussions regarding potential conflicts, including best practices in a firm’s internal conflicts vetting process.

Learning Objectives:

A firm grounding in the purpose and application of professional ethics rules regarding conflict of interest.

A clear understanding of how allegations of conflict of interest can impact a claim for malpractice, as well as the limitations of such allegations in terms of stating a viable claim for malpractice. 

Analysis of the assertion of attorney-client privilege against the client-plaintiff with regard to discovery of the conflict clearing actions and discussions within the defendant law firm. This will also include a discussion of best practices in conducting internal conflict reviews generally.

 

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