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

1-Adversity to Current Clients

31-Protecting and Disclosing Confidences and Secrets

58-Real Estate Lawyers

A law firm represents a property-owner wishing to sell the property and resist imposition of a lien on it. The firm receives a letter of intent to buy the property from an individual who is a judgment debtor of another firm client (and against whom the firm obtained the judgments and is attempting to collect them).Although the judgments against the individual are "available in the public record," the firm may not advise the property-owner of the judgments against the individual, and likewise may not advise its judgment-creditor client that the individual has offered to buy the property. Because the assets the individual might use to buy the property from one client might otherwise be used to satisfy the other client's judgments, the law firm had an irreconcilable conflict and would have to withdraw from both representations (without explanation, because the firm "may not reveal specifics to either client with regard to the nature of the conflict"). If the property-owner client sues the law firm, it may defend itself by revealing the conflict, but "only to the extent necessary to rebut any accusation . . . of the firm's wrongful conduct."

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn