As you decide whether to hire an attorney to represent you for your legal issue, you may wonder whether more than one attorney will be working on your case. The answer to this question depends on your situation. This blog will explain some of the scenarios that require more than one.
Often, your case becomes more serious as the medical treatment unfolds. For instance, if you were injured in a car accident and you sustained an injury to your lower back, it may be months before the doctors know the seriousness of your injury. Once the seriousness of your injury becomes apparent, your case may be transferred from a younger attorney to a more experienced attorney at Morris Bart, L.L.C. to give you the best chance of success. This is one of the more common scenarios of more than one attorney working on your case.
Another situation is if there is a conflict of interest between you and other clients at the firm. Conflicts of interest arise in many different factual scenarios, which are listed out in the Rules of Professional Conduct. These rules govern the relationship between attorneys and clients in Louisiana. An example of a conflict of interest would be if you are the guest passenger in a vehicle that is involved in an accident, and you hire an attorney at Morris Bart, and the driver of your vehicle also hires us. If the driver of your vehicle has some fault in the accident, then it is in your best interest to make a claim against the driver of the vehicle. However, both you and the driver have hired Morris Bart, L.L.C., and the Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit a law firm from making a claim against its own client. This is codified under Rule 1.7, which states in pertinent part:
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), a lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation involves a concurrent conflict of interest. A concurrent conflict of interest exists if:
(1) the representation of one client will be directly adverse to another client; or
(2) there is a significant risk that the representation of one 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.
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In this situation, your case may have to be transferred to another law firm altogether, and another attorney will be working for you. However, in some situations involving a conflict between current clients who do not have a claim against each other, the clients can give informed consent to allow the attorney to represent both of you. This is also governed by Rule 1.7, which states:
(b) Notwithstanding the existence of a concurrent conflict of interest under paragraph (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 claim by one client against another client represented by the lawyer in the same litigation or other proceeding before a tribunal; and
(4) each affected client gives informed consent, confirmed in writing.
As you can see, there are instances in which you have a conflict of interest but you can waive the conflict through informed consent. Your attorney will then be able to represent you both, and another attorney will not have to work on your case.
Sometimes, your case may have an issue that another attorney at our firm or an attorney at another law firm altogether specializes in handling. These issues include a products liability claim or a medical malpractice claim. When this comes up, it may be in your best interest to have your case referred to another lawyer, either inside or outside of the Morris Bart, L.L.C. law firm, to give you the best chance of success. If your claim is referred to an attorney at another law firm, there will usually be a fee split among the attorneys. This is another situation that is governed by the Rules of Professional Conduct. Rule 1.5, titled “Fees,” provides in pertinent part:
A division of fee between lawyers who are not in the same firm may be made only if:
(1) the client agrees in writing to the representation by all of the lawyers involved, and is advised in writing as to the share of the fee that each lawyer will receive;
(2) the total fee is reasonable; and
(3) each lawyer renders meaningful legal services for the client in the matter.
As you can see, the attorneys are required to get the client’s written consent to split a fee amongst attorneys at different law firms. The written consent must include how much each lawyer will receive for the representation, and advise the client of all of the lawyers involved. Also, each attorney must provide meaningful work on your case. This guarantees that the client is well informed if their case is referred to an attorney at another law firm.
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As you can see, there are countless situations in which your case may be handled by more than one attorney. At Morris Bart, L.L.C., the attorneys must always serve the best interests of the client, within the Rules of Professional Conduct, and the law as a whole. Many times that means having more than one attorney work on your case to give you the best chance at success.
If you have any questions about whether one or more attorneys will be working on your case, feel free to give us a call. We will gladly answer any questions you may have.