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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LEO NumTopicsSummary

17-Fraud on the Tribunal

31-Protecting and Disclosing Confidences and Secrets

71-Representing Corporations

A lawyer represented a corporation in settling a claim with an insurance company after the corporation's offices are burglarized. The lawyer later learned that corporate officers may have staged the burglary.The Bar held that a lawyer is permitted to reveal to a third party information which "clearly establishes" this the client has committed fraud. Likewise, a lawyer must reveal to a court information which "clearly establishes" that the client has committed fraud on the tribunal. The only information that "clearly establishes" the client's fraud is the client's acknowledgment to the lawyer that the client has committed a fraud. Even the arrest or conviction of the client "would not be relevant to the attorney's ethical duty" because the "only way" to "clearly establish" the fraud is by the "acknowledgment of the client."

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn