Can a West Palm Beach trust attorney be disqualified due to a conflict of interest?
What should Florida probate lawyers know about conflicts of interest? Can a West Palm Beach trust attorney be disqualified due to a conflict of interest? Under what circumstances should an Orlando estate lawyer be disqualified? You may want to read a January 5, 2018 Second DCA opinion, Furman v. Furman. Although Furman v. Furman is a Florida divorce case, not a Florida probate case, trust and estates lawyers experience similar situations in the probate courts. “The Florida Rules of Professional conduct provide the standard for determining whether counsel should be disqualified in a given case.” Here, Rule 4-17 is discussed. You can read the entire rule below. If you have further questions, call (561)514-0900 Ext. 101 for a FREE consultation with an experienced Florida probate litigator. You can also click here to read Furman v. Furman in its entirety.
RULE 4-1.7 CONFLICT OF INTEREST; CURRENT CLIENTS
(a) Representing Adverse Interests. Except as provided in subdivision (b), a lawyer must not represent a client if:
(1) the representation of 1 client will be directly adverse to another client;
(2) there is a substantial risk that the representation of 1 or more clients will be materially limited by the lawyer’s responsibilities to another client, a former client or a third person or by a personal interest of the lawyer.
(b) Informed Consent. Notwithstanding the existence of a conflict of interest under subdivision (a), a lawyer may represent a client if:
(1) the lawyer reasonably believes that the lawyer will be able to provide competent and diligent representation to each affected client;
(2) the representation is not prohibited by law;
(3) the representation does not involve the assertion of a position adverse to another client when the lawyer represents both clients in the same proceeding before a tribunal; and
(4) each affected client gives informed consent, confirmed in writing or clearly stated on the record at a hearing.
(c) Explanation to Clients. When representation of multiple clients in a single matter is undertaken, the consultation must include an explanation of the implications of the common representation and the advantages and risks involved.
(d) Lawyers Related by Blood, Adoption, or Marriage. A lawyer related by blood, adoption, or marriage to another lawyer as parent, child, sibling, or spouse must not represent a client in a representation directly adverse to a person who the lawyer knows is represented by the other lawyer except with the client’s informed consent, confirmed in writing or clearly stated on the record at a hearing.
(e) Representation of Insureds. Upon undertaking the representation of an insured client at the expense of the insurer, a lawyer has a duty to ascertain whether the lawyer will be representing both the insurer and the insured as clients, or only the insured, and to inform both the insured and the insurer regarding the scope of the representation. All other Rules Regulating The Florida Bar related to conflicts of interest apply to the representation as they would in any other situation.