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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3-Multiple Representations on the Same Matter

58-Real Estate Lawyers

A law firm represented a noteholder. When the borrower declared bankruptcy and foreclosure proceedings began, the same law firm represented the trustee under the deed of trust note. The trustee is considering whether to sell the land piecemeal to obtain a better value, although the noteholder opposes such a partial sale. Because the trustee has a fiduciary duty toward both the noteholder and the borrow, the disagreement about the partial sale creates a conflict precluding the same firm from representing both the noteholder and the trustee. Because it is not obvious that the law firm may adequately represent both, disclosure and consent would not cure the conflict. [The Bar's conclusion that consent would not cure this conflict might be different under Rule 1.7(a)'s "reasonably believes" subjective standard rather than the old Code's "obvious" standard.]

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn