by Rebecca Berlin
If you've never worked with a lawyer before, you may not know what to expect from the Attorney-Client relationship. A lawyer owes certain duties to his or her clients, including a duty to avoid conflicts of interest, a duty of confidentiality, a duty to provide competent representation, and others. But what does this mean to you?
The lawyer's duty to avoid conflicts of interest means that your lawyer cannot represent someone else whose interests are adverse to yours. This doesn't necessarily mean that a lawyer can't represent someone whose business is in competition with yours. If you need a lawyer to draw up articles of incorporation for your bakery it doesn't mean that the lawyer cannot draft articles of incorporation for another bakery or assist another bakery in negotiating a lease. It does mean that if a lawyer is representing you, he or she can't represent someone else whose interests are adverse to yours in that matter. So if the lawyer is helping you negotiate a lease, the lawyer can't represent the other party to that lease or another person who wants the same space. A lawyer can represent two parties who may have adverse interests if both parties are fully informed and consent to the representation. This might happen where two people want to go into business together, but just want to hire one person to draft their partnership agreement. It might seem like their interests are the same