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's spouse attempted to borrow money, but the lender insisted that the lawyer be a co-borrower (which violated federal law). Because the lawyer was a party to the conversation in which the lender explained this policy, it would be in the spouse's best interests to have the lawyer's spouse as a witness. The lawyer and the lawyer's spouse have been unsuccessful in finding a lawyer to represent the spouse, but this problem did not justify the lawyer being both a witness and an advocate. "The apparent lack of available alternative representation is not sufficient to permit the attorney to serve as both attorney and witness."

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn