I was recently at a malpractice program given by a carrier we use and they were talking about where their claims are coming from. One of the top 3 causes they presented was conflict of interest. I can’t say that this shocked me but I was a little bit surprised this was in the top 3!
Back in the 90’s conflicts of interest was a huge risk management topic and was on everyone’s radar. For the past several years however the topic seemed to cool when discussing legal malpractice, so to hear it was in the top 3 did catch my attention. It should also catch your attention too!
Conflicts of interest are easy to get caught up in if you’re not careful. They come in many different disguises right? Representing both parties in the same case be it divorce or accident, representing a new client against a former client, having an ownership interest in your client, managing and or directing a clients business. The list can go on and on.
Be careful to not get caught up in the friends and family plan either. You may have had this happen to you when a family member might say “My wife and I want a quick divorce, here is what we agreed to. Can you draw up the paperwork and we’ll both sign and be done?” or a similar situation where you are asked to help save your friends money by representing both sides in any transaction. Friends and Family can and do sue.
So just a heads up to stay vigilant with COI checks so you don’t become part of the top 3.