These summaries were prepared by McGuireWoods LLP lawyer Thomas E. Spahn. They are based on the letter opinions issued by the Virginia State Bar. Any editorial comments reflect Mr. Spahn's current personal views, and not the opinions of the Virginia State Bar, McGuireWoods or its clients. 
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31-Protecting and Disclosing Confidences and Secrets

46-Confidentiality - Miscellaneous

Under ABA Model Rule 1.9, lawyers may not disclose former clients' protected client information unless the rules permit it, and may not "use" such information to the former clients' disadvantage unless the rules permit it -- or unless the information has become "generally known." Information is not "generally known" simply because it is publicly available, is discussed in open court, is in court records, or is otherwise a matter of public record. Instead, information is "generally known" if "through traditional media sources" or "through publication on internet web sites; or through social media" the information is: (1) "widely recognized by members of the public in the relevant geographic area"; or (2) "widely recognized in the former client's industry, profession, or trade without being widely recognized by the public."

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn