Conflicts of interest

We started out with a large firm and there was a lawyer there we really liked and got on with. When that lawyer moved to a smaller firm we went with her. The new smaller firm also acted for my husbands workplace. A few years later my husband was offered a chance to buy shares in his workplace company. Supposedly our lawyer was working for us but we were never sure how much he had to do with my husband’s workplace legal affairs. We got some professional advice in respect of the financials which indicated the buy-in deal wasn’t that great an offer. I felt like our lawyer tried to convince us it was a good deal rather than go in to bat for us to try and improve the offer. I think it’s a challenge in a small business to have “Chinese walls” and something young lawyers need to understand, especially in an NZ context where two degrees of separation is quite common.