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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2-Adversity to Former Clients

31-Protecting and Disclosing Confidences and Secrets

71-Representing Corporations

A lawyer represented a corporation's president in 1989 and 1990, until the president resigned. New managers now run the corporation. Because the lawyer no longer represents the corporation or any of its officers, the lawyer may now represent an employee in a defamation lawsuit against the corporation -- because (1) there is no relationship between the defamation action and the lawyer's earlier representation; and (2) the lawyer did not acquire any relevant confidences. "Attorney's familiarity with the Corporation's operations or the personalities of its management, without more, is not a disqualifying conflict of interest." The lawyer might have to withdraw if a "finder of fact" determines that "either the matters were substantially related or that [the lawyer] did in fact receive secrets and confidences of President or [the] Corporation."

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn