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Ethics: Is it unlawful for an Attorney to be the beneficiary of the litigation which his Client will acquire in a Prop Dispute?

Pismo Beach, CA |

For example, registered Domestic Partner represent his girlfriend. If she wins, she acquires full ownership of property. But so potential does the Attorney… as either husband or domestic Partner. (Communitiy Property.) Or the Attorney is a business Partner in the trust that acquires the property. Isn't that prohibited? And isn't the Attorney also a witness?

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Posted

This can become a serious ethical problem when any attorney enters into a business arrangement with a client. Some types of cases lend themselves to a contingency fee arrangement which is very common, such as personal injury and debt collections. I would not consider such a case for ethical reasons. I would strongly recommend the attorney review the proposal with the State Bar Ethics Hotline.

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Posted

I Wish it were a law school question. Contingencies are not allowed under Family Law. And if the Domestic Partner is not getting paid, except with sex, is he still capable of remain competent to representing his client objectively if he is going to get rich if they win. Won't it possibly cause him to fabricate some evidence. Maybe generate some ex parte drama to confuse the situation. Maybe it is a custody battle and he has had ex parte contact with the Opposing party or the kid previous to representation.?

Posted

I am not clear whether this is a hypothetical "law school" question, or whether you are a party where this is actually happening.
If the later, the potential conflict is between the attorney and his client, and it the attorney has proper waivers, it is probably acceptable conduct. If you are the opposing party - any potential conflict has nothing to do with you.
whether the attorney is a potential witness depends on the particular facts of the case. In any event, that too is a waivable conflict between the attorney and his clientl.

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I Wish it were a law school question. Contingencies are not allowed under Family Law. And if the Domestic Partner is not getting paid, except with sex, is he still capable of remain competent to representing his client objectively if he is going to get rich if they win. Won't it possibly cause him to fabricate some evidence. Maybe generate some ex parte drama to confuse the situation. Maybe it is a custody battle and he has had ex parte contact with the Opposing party or the kid previous to representation.?

Posted

It's one thing if the attorney is a domestic partner of his client, quite another if he is engaged in a pure business arrangement with a client. The latter is ethically suspect.

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