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Legal Ethics

Conflicts with Prospective Clients

Conflicts with Prospective Clients

Explore the obligations lawyers owe to prospective clients before the lawyer-client relationship even begins and learn about the standards for the proper handling of potential conflicts with prospective clients.


A conflict of interest can arise not only from actual clients but also from potential clients. In this lesson, we’ll discuss Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.18, which deals with conflicts involving prospective clients. We’ll define prospective clients, learn how they’re protected, and see how a lawyer can avoid or overcome prospective-client conflicts.

First, let’s define a prospective client. Under Rule 1.18(a), a prospective client is someone who consults a lawyer about possibly...