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

5-Lawyers Changing Jobs

7-Family Conflicts

31-Protecting and Disclosing Confidences and Secrets

54-Insurance Defense Lawyers

71-Representing Corporations

A lawyer represented an insurance company's insureds and also represented the company in coverage issues. The Bar affirmed that the insured is the client of an outside lawyer selected by the carrier to represent the insured (relying on LEO 598). Once the lawyer leaves the firm, the lawyer may represent plaintiffs against other insureds (because "there was no attorney-client relationship" between the lawyer and the insurance company) as long as the new representations are not the same or substantially related to the specific matters on which the lawyer represented the company's insureds at the lawyer's old firm. [The Bar's conclusion that there was "no attorney-client relationship" between the lawyer and the insurance company seems inconsistent with its earlier statement that the lawyer handled "coverage issues" for the insurance company.] The lawyer's "familiarity with the general operation of [the insurance company] does not constitute a confidence or secret." Although the lawyer's spouse is an insurance company employee with access to claim files, the lawyer will not be disqualified as long as the lawyer has not acquired any confidential information from the spouse.

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn