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

3-Multiple Representations on the Same Matter

15-Representing Other Entities - Miscellaneous

24-Representation of or Adversity to Witnesses

31-Protecting and Disclosing Confidences and Secrets

A lawyer represents a condominium board. During the deposition preparation of one board member (the board's former president), the lawyer learns that the president exceeded the president's authority and contributed to the injury of which plaintiff complains. The lawyer must advise the former president to seek independent counsel. The lawyer may not continue to prepare the former president for the deposition because the former president and the condominium board have conflicting interests which cannot be cured by consent. The lawyer may not tell the condominium board what the former president has told the lawyer, unless the lawyer had earlier advised the former president that the lawyer represented the condominium board and not the president, and that any information divulged during the deposition preparation would be shared with the board. Although the lawyer had no attorney-client relationship with the former president, absent such disclaimer the meeting "created an expectation of confidentiality which must be protected by the attorney." The opinion seems to indicate that the lawyer may also find it nearly impossible to continue representing the condominium board, because the lawyer cannot both represent the condominium board and protect the confidences of the former president. [Rule 1.13 provides guidance for lawyers who represent organizations and face this situation. The litigation in this opinion was pending in D.C. so under Rule 8.5 the D.C. court's ethics rules would now govern this situation.]

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn