Under the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, lawyers cannot represent clients if they have a marital or family relationship with opposing counsel unless they obtain informed written consent from their client. Conflicting can significantly reduce one spouse's choices when it comes to adequate legal representation. The more specialized the case, the fewer lawyers there are in a city with the experience and ability to handle the case. Once a spouse conflicts with most lawyers and law firms, you may leave the other spouse with very few options for adequate legal representation.
Bar associations prohibit lawyers from representing both spouses because of the conflict of interest inherent in the defense of two opposing clients. Both clients may agree on most, or even all, the terms of the divorce, but what is best for one spouse may not be in line with what is best for the other spouse. Plaintiff's Attorney Max Kennerly's Law Blog The first is if you're in a relationship. And the second is that if she doesn't want to date me, it could be a very uncomfortable situation to move forward professionally.
How can I ask her out, or even talk to her in a non-commercial setting to see if she has any interest? Shucks; depending on the type of work, if you have “multiple cases together” that could take years before the “legal dealings” end. The bard of Avon said: “The path of true love was never easy. Note that it usually refers to “the existence and implications of the relationship between lawyers, which would seem to speak in general terms, but is then limited to a description limited to close family members. In fact, from what I have seen, the rule is interpreted narrowly, at least in terms of whether or not an ethical violation is found, but it is interpreted a little more broadly in terms of whether the client is entitled to post-trial relief for undisclosed relationships.
Even where there is no direct adversity, there is a conflict of interest if there is a significant risk that an attorney's ability to consider, recommend, or conduct an appropriate course of action for the client will be materially limited as a result of the lawyer's other liabilities or interests. That, for me, is where the analysis begins. At what point do you think a court would seriously question your ability to represent your client? Inviting her to lunch or dinner with her shouldn't change that, not if you took your duty to be a jealous advocate seriously in the first place. But at some point, if you have any doubt that a court would say that it can carry out its professional duties fairly, then it's time to postpone the relationship, disclose the relationship to the client, or ask someone else (it may be in your company, the romance is not imputed to others in the firm) to take over.
For more than a decade, I have dedicated my legal practice to representing injured plaintiffs. I'm in Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America. Most of my cases involve (a serious injury or wrongful death) caused by someone else's negligence or litigation (nationwide) over defective drugs and medical devices. I co-founded my own law firm, Kennerly Loutey LLC.
The validity of marriage is determined by state law. Therefore, spouses in common-law marriages in states that recognize such marriages cannot be compelled to testify against each other or to disclose confidential communications to each other. In addition to conflicts with other current clients, a lawyer's duties of loyalty and independence may be materially limited by responsibilities to previous clients under Rule 1.9 or by counsel's responsibilities to other persons, such as fiduciary duties arising from the service of a lawyer as trustee, executor or corporate director. Similarly, when a lawyer has discussions about possible employment with an opponent of the lawyer's client, or with a law firm representing the opponent, such discussions could materially limit the representation of the client's attorney.
Other relevant factors are whether the lawyer will subsequently represent both parties on an ongoing basis and whether the situation involves creating or terminating a relationship between the parties. When financial costs are added to the emotional toll of ending a marriage, divorce can be overwhelming. A lawyer may receive payment from a source other than the client, including a co-client, if the client is informed of that fact and consents and the agreement does not compromise the attorney's duty of loyalty or independent judgment towards the client. The information provided on this site does not constitute legal advice, does not constitute a lawyer referral service, and no attorney-client or confidential relationship is and will not be formed through the use of the site.
In addition, the client on whose behalf the adverse representation is reasonably made may fear that the lawyer will pursue that client's case less effectively out of deference to the other client, (i). For example, counsel may reasonably conclude that failure to disclose one client's trade secrets to another client will not adversely affect the representation involved in a joint venture between clients and agree to keep that information confidential with the informed consent of both clients. As a result, each client has the right to know the existence and implications of the relationship between lawyers before the attorney agrees to perform representation. No statement is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of the legal services provided by other lawyers.
Where lawyers representing different clients in the same or substantially related matters are closely related by blood or marriage, there may be a significant risk that client confidences will be disclosed and that the lawyer's family relationship will interfere with both loyalty and independence professional judgment. The mere fact that advocating a legal position on behalf of a client may create a precedent adverse to the interests of a client represented by the lawyer in an unrelated matter does not create a conflict of interest. The opinion released Wednesday addresses a gap in model ethical rules that do not provide guidance on conflicts that may arise for lawyers in relationships with the opposing counsel that are not based on marriage or blood. The lawyer seeks to resolve potentially adverse interests by developing the mutual interests of the parties.