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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4-Witness-Advocate Rule

A lawyer represented a client in a personal injury case. The lawyer arranged a settlement, but the defendant reneged. The lawyer may not represent the client in a breach of contract case against the defendant, because the lawyer will have to be a witness. However, the lawyer may continue to represent the client in the underlying tort case, because the lawyer will not be a witness in that case. If the lawyer's testimony in the breach of contract case would be adverse to the client, the lawyer should then withdraw from representing the client in the tort case (because it might be inconsistent with the lawyer's duty to the client).

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn