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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2-Adversity to Former Clients

A law firm represented a subcontractor on a state construction project. The law firm completed its work, but its bill was never paid. The firm later represented the prime contractor in dealing with the state in a dispute over the same project. The firm advised the prime contractor that it could not represent it if a dispute arose with the subcontractor, and likewise could not represent it (absent the subcontractor's permission) if a dispute with the state involved the subcontractor's work. The subcontractor objected to the law firm's representation of the prime contractor on any matter. The Bar held that the firm's former representation of the subcontractor was not related to its current representation of the prime contractor, and therefore that the firm could represent the prime contractor in its dispute with the state. If the representation later developed adverse to the subcontractor, the law firm would have to withdraw absent the subcontractor's consent to the continued representation.

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn