Conflicts with Other Clients
Attorneys who represent clients with adverse interests eventually will be forced to compromise the interests of at least one of the clients. This is a particular problem in legal specialty areas such as medical law. There are advantages to the client in hiring a law firm that has experience in the problems at hand. In medical law, this often means a law firm with experience in representing health care providers. Twenty years ago, there were few conflicts between medical clients. Now, with the competition between hospitals and between individual physicians, it is important to ask the identity of the law firm’s other medical care clients. (This is not privileged information.) If the law firm represents real or potential competitors, it is best to hire a different law firm. Sometimes it is impossible to find another law firm with the appropriate expertise. It is then up to the law firm and the client to discuss the potential conflicts and establish a plan for avoiding them. This is especially important in medical malpractice defense.