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

In a partnership dispute in which their testimony would be "critical and material to the central issue of fraud," two lawyers should not have accepted employment if they knew or should have known that they ought to be called as witnesses. DR 5-101(B), which governs the initial acceptance of employment, is equally applicable to a lawyer who ought to be called either on behalf of a client or by the opposing party. Here, the lawyer should not have accepted the representation ab initio, and therefore was not entitled to the latitude of DR 5-102(B) which allows the lawyer to continue the representation if called as a witness other than on behalf of the client until it is apparent that the lawyer's testimony would be prejudicial to the client.

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn