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

2-Adversity to Former Clients

24-Representation of or Adversity to Witnesses

31-Protecting and Disclosing Confidences and Secrets

A law firm represented a doctor in two malpractice cases. The doctor later appeared as an expert witness for plaintiff in a case defended by another of the firm's lawyers. The doctor denied ever having been a defendant in a malpractice action, but the defense lawyer learned from a partner that the firm had earlier represented the doctor on two occasions.The Bar ruled that this information was a "secret" (although it could be obtained from public records) because it was gained in a professional relationship. The Bar therefore prohibited the lawyer's continued representation of the client, because the lawyer could not effectively cross-examine the plaintiff's expert doctor (unless the doctor consented to disclosure of the confidential information).

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn