Working as an attorney can be a lucrative career. Lawyers can charge hundreds of dollars an hour for their time, and they can bill for every moment that they spend with the client.
Whether it is answering an email or discussing your case with someone with a specialized background in that area, many attorneys have the ability to make substantial money off of any work people bring to them. Unfortunately, for some attorneys, that income from their clients isn't enough.
These attorneys may involve themselves in secondary schemes of that stand to provide additional financial benefit. If you believe that your attorney has illegally monetized their relationship with you and therefore breached their fiduciary duty to you as a client, you may have the right to hold them legally accountable.
An attorney could give you advice that benefits them more than you
Most people rely on their attorneys to provide them with sound advice about anything from business decisions to real estate purchases. Unfortunately, if your attorney has a vested interest in a company, real estate holding or product, that could influence the advice and information they provide to you.
Your attorney has a legal obligation to act solely in your best interests. They should not let their own desire for secondary income or profit alter how they interact with you. In some cases, attorneys could present an investment as a lucrative opportunity to their clients because they know they will make secondary income from it.
They may also approve of or suggest a transaction because someone they are close to will profit from that. Whether it is a child's business or a spouse's property, advising you to behave in a certain manner that will profit them or someone they know is definitely a conflict of interest. Instead of providing you with impartial advice for your benefit, they seek to profit from their relationship with you.
A conflict of interest often involves a breach of fiduciary duty
The ethical thing for an attorney to do in a situation that involves the conflict of interest is to advise their client of this conflict as soon as possible and perhaps connect them with a different legal professional that can give unbiased advice.
If they fail to advise their clients of the conflict of interest and instead take financial advantage of the situation, that could lead to them placing someone else's interests above their client's. This may be a breach of fiduciary duty.
Talking to an attorney who understands legal malpractice can help you better understand if you have cause to take action against an attorney whose advice was biased or based on a conflict of interest that benefited them directly.