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How can a lawyer be involved in a conflict of interest without supplying conflict of interest consent forms to the other lawyers

95501 |

We are in two lawsuits, one for us and one against us. The party on the other side is being represented by the same attorney. I thought this was not legal without signed consent forms from them. I have received any consent forms.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Your question is not clear. In general, a lawyer cannot represent client A in a lawsuit against B, and simultaneously represent B in another matter. To do so is a violations of the duty of loyalty to the clients.
    It isn't absolutely clear that this is your situation here, however.

    If you mean that you are suing B, and C is suing you, and the same lawyer is representing B and C, then there is nothing improper.

    You may wish to clarify your question a bit and try asking it again, if this has not cleared up the matter for you.


  2. I agree with Mr. Parry. From what you are saying, the attorney on the other side of both lawsuits you are involved in is the same attorney. This is not a "conflict of interest". It is only a coincidence. A conflict of interest would be if the attorney representing YOU later represented the other side in a lawsuit or matter involving many of the same parties or issues where he gained confidential and privileged information from you as your attorney that he might possibly now use against you.

    In your situation, if this attorney on the other side never represented you, he doesn't need your consent or anyone elses to oppose you. This is actually a common situation in small towns where there are only a few trial attorneys engaged in litigation in civil, criminal or family courts. Nice try, but you can't disqualify him from representing your opponents.

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  3. I agree with my colleagues that your question is not clear and with their answers. I only write to point out that "other lawyers" would never receive "conflict of interest consent forms." Consent forms would only be signed between the conflicted lawyer and his present and/or former client who has agreed to waive the conflict.

    The mere fact that the opposing party has the same lawyer defending and prosecuting a lawsuit that you are involved in would not seem to implicate a conflict of interest. In fact, it is the usual case where a complaint and cross-complaint have been filed in the same lawsuit. Even if there were a conflict you, as the opposing party, would never receive a copy of the waiver which is protected by the attorney-client privilege.

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  4. The only time you will ever be presented with a conflict of interest waiver is if YOUR attorney has a potential conflict. If the opposing attorney is engaged in an actual or potential conflict of interest, that is his clients' problem.

    As to whether the opposing attorney is engaging in a conflict of interest situation, the only thing I can come up with would be if the opposing attorney is representing two different clients against you seeking recovery of money, where it is likely that there will be an insufficient limited pool of money from which to recover for each of the client's cases, making it possible that he will be acting contrary to the interests of one of his clients if he moves to edge out the other for the limited pool of money. However, that is not a conflict that you have any say over. He may, however, have some explaining to do (to his client) if he acts in a way that benefits one of this clients to the detriment of the other.

    Good luck to you.

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