What Does Conflict Of Interest Mean In Law?

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If you ever go to an attorney for help with a legal issue, there is a chance that he or she might deny helping you based on the premise of "conflict of interest." If this has recently happened to you and you don't understand why, here are three things you should know.

What Does It Mean?

When an attorney turns down a person's request for services based on it being a conflict of interest, it means that the attorney cannot fully represent the individual because he or she has an interest in an opposing party, concept, or situation.

For example, when a couple gets divorced, each spouse must get their own attorney. This is because one attorney could not fully represent both spouses by looking out for each person's best interest. The attorney could only do this for one of the spouses, and therefore if the other spouse tries to hire this attorney, the attorney would have to turn him or her down based on the conflict of interest principle.

Why Does It Matter?

Conflict of interest is a very important concept in the legal industry. When you hire an attorney to represent you in any matter, you will undoubtedly believe that the attorney will be working on your behalf only. The attorney should not have any stakes or interest in any parties opposing you, because this could hinder your services and outcome of the legal matter.

Another example that might help you understand this is if an attorney was representing a criminal facing charges of theft. If the person that had been robbed wanted to hire this particular attorney for any reason, the attorney would have to turn the person down because of a conflict of interest. If the attorney accepted this client, it could pose threats to that person's case, or to the case of the criminal the attorney is currently representing.

What Happens If An Attorney Finds Out There Is a Conflict of Interest?

If an attorney already accepted you as a client and began working on your case, it is the legal responsibility of the attorney to withdraw from the case if he or she discovers a conflict of interest. This might seem unfair to you, especially if the case has been going on for months, but it is something attorneys must legally do if they find this out during a case.

The principle of conflict of interest is actually designed to protect consumers, which means that you are protected by this principle. If you have any questions or need legal assistance, contact a lawyer today or visit a website like http://gomezmaylaw.com/