What if there was a Prior Relationship between the Attorney and Client?

An attorney may not accept or continue representation of a client without providing written disclosure to the client if the attorney has a legal, business, financial, professional, or personal relationship with a party in the same matter.

May an Attorney Invest in a Client’s Business?

Conflicts arise if the attorney wants to invest in a client’s business, accept an economic interest in the business in lieu of fees, or enter into transactions to provide goods or nonlegal services to a client. In any business transaction with a client or in any situation in which an attorney otherwise knowingly acquires a pecuniary interest adverse to the client, the attorney must do the following:

  • Fully disclose the transaction in writing to the client;
  • Ascertain the fairness of its terms;
  • Advise the client in writing that the client may seek independent legal advice;
  • Provide the client with a reasonable opportunity to seek such advice; and
  • Obtain the client’s informed written consent to the transaction.