When your attorney took on your case, you likely assumed that they would prioritize your interests over their own. You may have discovered, though, that they have a conflict of interest in representing you. No matter your attorney’s reputation, this conflict may have affected your case’s outcome. It is important, then, to hold them accountable for their actions.

Understanding conflicts of interest

As part of their professional duty, attorneys must disclose any conflicts of interest to potential clients and decline to represent them if they exist. They must also withdraw from their representation of an existing client if a conflict emerges after a case begins. The exception to these rules is if a client consented in writing to their attorney’s representation with full knowledge of the conflict.

If your attorney failed to disclose any conflicts of interest to you, you must know what situations to look out for. Common legal conflicts of interest include:

  • Representing both you and the opposing party
  • Representing you after representing the opposing party
  • Representing you after – or while – representing another client whose interests are at odds with yours
  • Having a relationship with any member of the opposing party’s team
  • Having a personal stake in your case’s outcome

Holding your attorney accountable

It is your attorney’s job to defend you until your case’s end. If conflicts of interest hindered their ability to represent you, their conduct may qualify as legal malpractice. You have the option, then, to file a legal malpractice claim against them. In making your case, you must prove:

  • Your attorney had the duty to provide you competent representation
  • Your attorney breached their duty to you
  • Your attorney’s breach hurt you and caused you financial damage

Keep in mind the limited window for filing a legal malpractice claim in Louisiana. The state’s statute of limitations for making one is three years from the date your attorney’s misconduct occurred, and one year from the date you discovered it.