Legal ethics is important for the daily work of attorneys; yet, it hardly receives enough attention in the training of lawyers. This article seeks to show how legal ethics matters and which consequences seemingly small ethics violations can have for attorneys. One key aspect of the client-attorney relationship is the trust which is placed in the attorney by the client. Both Germany and Lithuania prohibit that attorneys represent both parties in a legal dispute, a prohibition which can be surprisingly far-reaching. In this article the authors, both of whom are practicing attorneys, look at the differences and similarities between the legal frameworks in Lithuania and Germany as well as the impact the globalization and Europeanization of legal ethics has had on the domestic laws in their respective jurisdictions.
Particular attention is given to the sanctions which can be imposed on attorneys for misconduct in the form of representation which betrays the trust of a client and which is therefore specifically prohibited by the law. Among other issues, the distinction between professional sanctions and punishments under criminal law will be dealt with, as well as the conditions under which attorneys in either jurisdiction are barred from accepting a specific case to begin with.