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In legal malpractice cases, plaintiff’s counsel will often try to exploit conflict allegations to taint the fact finder’s view of the defendant and to provide a “motive” for the alleged failure of the defendant-attorneys to meet standards of competence and diligence. However, a conflict of interest does not automatically give rise to malpractice liability; plaintiff’s counsel still must establish proximate cause. While proximate cause is often a question of fact, it may be possible to raise certain defenses and negate proximate cause on a motion before trial.

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