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What constitutes a conflict of interest.

Ridgefield, NJ |
Filed under: Professional ethics

My attorney told me that he got a call from the plantiff and that he represented her before.
But I told him her name and he never mentioned that he had a conflicts check program. He got taken off the case at the second hearing, when the plantiff told the judge that she used him before. He is suing me for $6000 after the $2500 I gave him. He created pages of billing and charged me to research, if this was a conflict of interest before the hearing.

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

Under these facts, your lawyer is at a minimum in hot water with the NJ Bar. He is required to do a conflicts check prior to representing you, and get a waiver of any conflicts from you before proceeding. If he did not do this, he could be subject to discipline. See http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/oae/. Did you sign an engagement letter? What did it say about conflicts?

This comment does not constitute legal advice, but rather the poster's personal opinion, and should not be relied upon without consulting your own legal counsel.

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Asker

Posted

I signed an engagement letter and it said nothing about conflicts. This attorney is ready to get away with it. Understand I'm no dummy and I trusted him as me my family[ mother and father] and I used him 2x before many years ago.... WHEN HE WAS HONEST!

Asker

Posted

By the way, yours [info] is quite appreciated!

Posted

While I am not familiar with details of NJ law, in Michigan this looks like a case where you would have a reasonable claim for a full refund, rather than you having to pay him, because it appears it was the attorney's duty to refuse the case upon learning the identity of the plaintiff. You should file a counterclaim. Unfortunately, to pursue a lawsuit successfully against an attorney, you probably will need to get -- you guessed it -- another attorney. However, you have a potential ally on your side, the NJ Office of Attorney Ethics, found at http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/oae/index.htm

Contact me at 248-399-6930 for a free consultation. You and I do not have an attorney-client relationship formed by our communications on this website. Advice given by me on this website is general advice based on partial information. You should not rely on any advice given without first hiring a lawyer in the area where the case is pending, and providing that lawyer with full information.

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Posted

There are several different areas of concern with the facts you have set out. As James identified this is something you should likely find a new attorney to assist you with. At the very least you should gather all relevant documents and schedule an initial consultation with a local attorney who offers a free initial consultation just so you can get some feedback after she assesses all relevant facts and documents specific to your case, rather than high-level generalities.

Best of luck

There is NO attorney-client privilege based on this interaction. I am NOT your attorney. Further, everything we both just wrote is publicly available on the internet and would be the same as if we were talking in a crowded restaurant. If you need legal assistance use Avvo to find a local attorney in your jurisdiction that you feel can best represent your interests as a zealous advocate. My experience is in corporate tax, white collar criminal defense, partnership tax, and tax controversy/litigation. If you're being audited by the IRS or state taxing authority, or you are taking an unusually risky tax position on a return, that is the kind of thing you should have experienced counsel on your side and we can set up an initial consultation. If you have a family law, debt collection, violent crime sort of issue then I do not handle that. Do not contact me for an initial consultation on non-tax matters.

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Posted

Thanks for the answer

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