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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21-Reporting Another Lawyer's Unethical Conduct

35-Threatening Criminal and Disciplinary Action

A lawyer may not ethically send a letter to a client's adversary threatening to "seek assistance through law enforcement and legal avenues," because this alludes to criminal prosecution and apparently was done solely to gain an advantage in a civil matter (the lawyer had represented to the court that the lawyer had no interest in seeing a criminal prosecution begun). The Bar declines to determine if another lawyer learning of the letter must report the lawyer, but indicates that under DR 1-103(A) the other lawyer would have such a duty if the other lawyer has information "to a substantial degree of certainty" of an ethical violation that would raise a substantial question as to the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness to practice law in other respects.

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn