Conflicts of interest arise in several different environments. A conflict may arise when the personal interests of someone in a position of trust clashes with the person’s professional interests. A conflict may also arise when a person has different professional responsibilities and those responsibilities collide. A person who has these types of competing interests may have difficulty in fulfilling professional obligations.
Examples of professionals that may face conflicts of interest are numerous, although such conflicts generally arise in some professions more than others. For instance, judge may have personal interests that could be affected by the outcome of a case. Likewise, an attorney or law firm may have interests that conflict with the interests of a client. Similar problems may arise in the fields of accounting, stock analysis, education, and business, as well as federal employment. Elected officials also face conflicts of interest in fulfilling their duties and are subject to rules of ethics that regulate how the officials must handle these conflicts.