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. 
 Back to main menu

  Print This Leo
LEO NumTopicsSummary

31-Protecting and Disclosing Confidences and Secrets

56-Duty to Advise the Court

A client told a lawyer that the client would take criminal action against the client's adversary and also commit suicide if the client lost a case. If the lawyer "has determined that a reasonably prudent and competent lawyer would conclude that the client in fact intended to take such action should the conditions precedent [losing the case] take place," the lawyer had a duty to reveal the intentions. However, because the court hearing the case would be unable to prevent the crimes, it would be improper to reveal the client's intent to the court.

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn