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How can I prevent conflicts of interest with an attorney?

Edgewater, NJ |

I am interested in discussing a problem I am having with my current employer and I want to know if I can bring suit to the employer but I just wanted to know what happens if I accidentally stumble on to an attorney who knows my employer. By law, is he/she required to tell me or will they sign a document of non-disclosure? My boss is well connected and he seems to know a lot of people so I just want to be sure I don't go to people he knows.


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Attorney answers 2


The attorney client privilege attaches to whatever you tell your attorney, and s/he has an ethical obligation to (a) disclose the existence of any conflicts to you and (b) not undertake the representation if you and the other client do not waive the conflict. That being said, you should definitely express your concerns upfront before disclosing any specific facts - indeed, you don't even have to identify yourself until you learn whether the attorney(s) you approach have a conflict. By the way, there are A LOT of attorneys in NJ, you will be able to find one!


Most attorneys have a mechanism to screen for potential conflicts before even speaking to a client. As an example, my routine is that when a potential client calls, my staff will send an email with a limited number of questions for the potential to answer. One of those questions asks the identity of the employer. When that is returned, I screen the answer for conflicts and won't speak to the potential if there is one.

A response to a question posted on Avvo is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. It is informational only. Allan E. Richardson, Esq. Richardson, Galella & Austermuhl 142 Emerson ST., Woodbury, NJ 08096 856-579-7045.

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