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

21-Reporting Another Lawyer's Unethical Conduct

31-Protecting and Disclosing Confidences and Secrets

40-Trust Accounts

73-Family Law Lawyers

A lawyer representing the ex-wife of another lawyer in a divorce case found irregularities in the other lawyer's trust accounts. The ex-wife asked the lawyer to keep the irregularities secret, because revealing them could jeopardize the ex-wife's support payments. Although generally trust account violations must be reported, in this case the lawyer would violate the duty of confidentiality if the disclosed the husband's trust account irregularities to the Bar (the court had already been advised of the irregularities, and had placed all the information under seal). [The Bar did not discuss the circumstances under which the court had been advised of the trust irregularities.] [If information about the ethics violation is a client confidence, a lawyer may report the other lawyer's misconduct only if the client consents under Rule 1.6(c)(3); the lawyer considering whether to report must consult with the client under that Rule.]

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn