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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5-Lawyers Changing Jobs

9-Government Lawyer Conflicts

16-Lawyer's Personal Interests

18-Consent and Prospective Waivers

51-Government Attorneys

One of two 50% shareholders in a professional corporation becomes a Commonwealth's Attorney. As long as the lawyer continues to own the stock, the lawyer may not prosecute defendants represented by the former firm (at least as to prosecutions begun after the lawyer left the firm). Consent would not cure this conflict, because the Commonwealth's Attorney is a "constitutional officer elected by the public." An Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney may prosecute such defendants, because DR 5-101(A) contains no vicarious disqualification provision. The firm may defend cases brought by the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office only if its clients consent after full disclosure. If the Commonwealth's Attorney learned confidences from any criminal defendant while at the former firm, a special prosecutor must prosecute the cases.

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn