Our firm represents many men and woman who are charged with domestic assault. You know, a fairly common situation does occur and this person comes to our office and it’s a husband and the wife and they say “Mike, I would like to retain you to represent me in domestic assault, my husband’s also been charged because the police had a hard time sorting out who is the aggressor so they charged us both, can you also represent my husband because we want to work things out and get these charges dropped. We are talking about getting back together, even though we are not supposed to talk due to our bail conditions”. And I say to them, “ No, that’s the very, probably one of the clearest example of conflict of interest. I can only your interest, I can’t represent your husband because he’s charged with assaulting you. You are charged with assaulting him, I’m here to help you, I’m not here to help your husband, who am I helping in that situation. I can really help neither. It doesn’t work out that way. So that’s a clear example of conflict of interest, you can retain me, the wife, or the husband as the case may be, and your husband has to go and get another lawyer.
Now a common situation, and I’ve seen this happen, perhaps it’s an inexperience lawyer, who meets with both couples, or gives advice to both couples, that lawyer’s also already in a conflict, they shouldn’t represent either. So we are very careful that way. If the wife or husband calls us first, that’s the person we can represent, and no other. So that’s the very , a common situation in criminal law, and that’s how it should be handles. Both should have their own independent lawyer representing their best interests.