Sunday, December 12, 2010

Conflict Resolution

How would you feel if you found out your lawyer was representing you and your opponent?  Perhaps you would feel your lawyer may not give his all to your cause because either way he wins the case. This may be the feelings some athletes are having. Agents who primary represented athletes are now representing the club owners and coaches as well. This creases a conflict of interest. How is the agent going to create the best deal for his athlete if he is also working to create the best deal for the owner. Certainly they have different interests. The owner wants to pay the athlete as little as he can, within reason of course. The athlete wants a record breaking deal. The coach wants the best athletes. The various interests cannot co-exist. This article by Rick Karcher describes the situation as being a violation of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. These rules are found on the American Bar Association website. This could mean some serious consequences for attorney agents. If a bad deal resulted after half-hearted negotiations a client could create a bit of noise in the media. Public attention could lead to more than a tarnished reputation.  So how does a client make sure his needs are honored by his agent if the agent has also pledged his allegiance to the boss?

It seems natural that an agent would want what is best for his athletic client. The more the client succeeds the more likely they are to stay around and demand bigger deals. But some agents are finding new ways of making money off their clients. Many find this new method unethical. In his article Dashiell Bennett comments Ted Forstmann's admission to betting on clients his firm represents. I am sure this is a violation of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. It is not in Ted Forstmann's interest, nor his clients, for him to bet for or against his clients. Besides appearing he does not have faith in his clients' abilities betting on the games his firm has a financial interest in makes him look as if he has some control over the outcome of the games. It then calls into question the legitimacy of the wins. As Bennett suggests, it is the responsibility of the agent to use the information they attain from the clients to further the clients' interests, not their own. Bennett says agents like Forstmann should not be allowed to represent clients. I have to agree

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