Yes. Clients who have substantial estates or a private business or already have a heated custody issue, know they need lawyers and they want their own lawyers, that goes without saying. This includes people that think they don’t have these obvious issues that need help. A lot of times, people call an attorney and ask, “Well, look! We really would like to use one lawyer. Can we use one lawyer?”
And the answer to that question is both people cannot be represented by one lawyer. If you stop and think about it, there is an obvious conflict of interest there. So, if a lawyer is speaking to you and giving you advice about what you should do or what your interests and rights are, and then the lawyer talks to your husband and tells him what he should do and what he should work out, these are working and these are not consistent goals and objectives. In this case, the information that the lawyer has now learnt about one individual can be applied to the advice that is given to the second individual or vice versa. So, it’s just no way for one attorney to ethically represent two clients.
Having said that, Attorney Tafelski has had many cases where he was the only attorney involved. In such cases, he makes it clear to one client or the other that he is their attorney. The other party is then what is called “Improper”, which means representing themselves. They can call the attorney and say, “What do we have to do next”, and the attorney procedurally leads the way on the case. However, in such cases, it is always made clear that the attorney will only represent the interests of one party. That way, the lawyer prepares all the paperwork in a professional manner and it’s all done properly with all of the required language and all of the statutory requirements that the court insists upon and all of the issues are covered and not forgotten or left out and that works in many cases. The real issue with that is just to make sure that the one party who is not represented is comfortable handling things on their own because the attorney cannot give them legal advice.