Ethical Issues For Family Lawyers
Practicing family law can be very rewarding for Texas attorneys, but there are some challenges when you are representing clients in connection with their closest relationships. Family law is toward the top of the list of practice areas for grievances received by the State Bar of Texas, though many of the issues can be resolved without disciplinary action. Still, there are some situations where a client may sue an attorney for matters arising out of a family law case. Therefore, it is important to understand some of the key ethical issues for family lawyers.
Under Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1.03 on Communication, an attorney must keep a client reasonably informed about relevant legal matters and promptly supply information as requested. You are also charged with providing explanation on legal concepts so that a client can make informed decisions about areas within the scope of representation.
In the context of family law, communication can become an ethical issue because of the emotional factors. It may be tough to keep the client informed and provide legal explanation when he or she is driven by anger, anxiety, or depression.
The rules state that lawyers should not accept a matter outside their area of competence, unless there is an emergency or they can rely on assistance from another attorney. Competency can be an ethical issue because of the numerous matters that fall under the family law umbrella. A client seeking divorce may naturally turn to you to assist with domestic violence, but it would be a mistake to take on this type of case if you are not knowledgeable in orders of protection.
Conflicts of Interest
There are multiple ethical considerations regarding conflicts of interest, but the most common issue that occurs in family law cases is representing closely connected parties. The rule against handling opposing parties to the same litigation is an easy and obvious mistake to avoid.
You may run into problems where the lines are blurred, especially since cost drives people to want just one attorney representing the whole family. However, this is where conflicts of interest are a serious problem for lawyers in family law cases.
Consult with a Knowledgeable Texas Lawyer About Attorney Ethics
Ethical issues in family law are unique because of the relationships involved, but it is possible to avoid lawsuits or disciplinary matters with the help of an experienced attorney. If you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation, please contact the Campbell & Associates Law Firm PC in Dallas, TX.