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

4-Witness-Advocate Rule

17-Fraud on the Tribunal

31-Protecting and Disclosing Confidences and Secrets

48-Criminal Defense Lawyers

A lawyer represented husband and wife in an action brought by a bank on a note. The husband testified that the wife signed his name on the note without his knowledge. The wife was indicted for forgery, but the case was dismissed when the husband testified at the criminal trial that the wife signed his name with his permission. The Bar held that the lawyer should not have put the husband on as a witness in the criminal trial without first determining which of the husband's statements was truthful, and rectifying any false testimony (because "the conflicting testimony offered by the husband at the civil and criminal indictment proceedings clearly indicates that he was not testifying truthfully on at least one occasion") [the Bar did not discuss the "clearly established" test.]If lawyers know that they may be called as witnesses, they may continue the representation until it is apparent that their testimony is or may be prejudicial to their clients. Here, the lawyer's testimony would be prejudicial because the lawyer would have to testify about the client's possible perjury.

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn