Attorney Liability for Tortious Interference: Interference with Contractual Relations or Interference with the Practice of Law?

52 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2005

See all articles by Alex B. Long

Alex B. Long

University of Tennessee College of Law

Abstract

Allowing individuals to bring tortious interference claims against opposing attorneys for conduct occurring during the representation of a client and that lies close to the core of what it means to practice law presents courts with particularly challenging policy choices. The defendant-attorney's conduct in such cases may involve the filing of a lawsuit, pre-trial settlement strategy, the use of the rules regarding conflicts of interest to disqualify opposing counsel, and questionable trial tactics. The primary concern with permitting interference claims in this context is the potential for such claims to chill legitimate advocacy. However, if properly defined, interference claims, and tort law more generally, can serve an important role in maintaining professionalism among attorneys and preserving other important societal values. Accordingly, courts should move toward a more context-specific approach in formulating rules for determining when a defendant-attorney has interfered improperly with the relationship of another during the course of litigation.

Keywords: Tortious, Interference, Professionalism, Ethics, Tort Relational, Advocacy, Model Rules

JEL Classification: K13, K40, K41

Suggested Citation

Long, Alex B., Attorney Liability for Tortious Interference: Interference with Contractual Relations or Interference with the Practice of Law?. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=692749

Alex B. Long (Contact Author)

University of Tennessee College of Law ( email )

1505 West Cumberland Ave.
Knoxville, TN 37996
United States

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