Andrew Rubin, Esq.

Could a business transaction be considered legal malpractice?

Business professionals in New Jersey might benefit from understanding whether a business transaction can be considered legal malpractice or not. When a lawyer enters a financial, property or business transaction, the conduct may be considered to be acting with a conflict of interest. This is primarily due to the confidence and trust that the client puts in legal counsel, as well as the training and proficiency involved with obtaining this status.

The protections do not apply to legal fees, but purchases, loans, investment and sales unrelated to the lawyer's practice may qualify for legal malpractice. Lawyers participating in the exchanges of good and services related to their particular practice of law may also be subject to legal malpractice if a conflict of interest is apparent. Lawyers purchasing property from estates they represent may also be found liable for acting on a conflict of interest.

The legal malpractice rule does not apply to commercial transactions that the client generally markets to other parties, such as medical services, brokerage services or utility services. With these transactions, any restrictions are considered to be impractical and unnecessary since the lawyer obtains no distinct advantage from dealing with the client. Contracts governing transactions between clients and about lawyers must be fair and have terms stated explicitly. The law also requires to be informed of the benefits obtaining advice from independent legal counsel may provide. Clients must also be provided a reasonable amount of time to acquire the advice.

People who need more information about legal malpractice may benefit from contacting a lawyer. If an individual has dealt with problems of fraud, conflicts of interest or disclosure issues, professional legal advice may prove to be beneficial.

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