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

16-Lawyer's Personal Interests

18-Consent and Prospective Waivers

Two indigent defendants were tried on capital murder charges in the same jurisdiction (but for unrelated crimes), and both were sentenced to death. The lawyer representing one of the defendants at trial was appointed to represent the other in habeas corpus proceedings, and vice versa. Thus, each lawyer would be asserting an "ineffective assistance of counsel" defense against the other, while defending similar charges. This created a conflict that could be cured by consent (although the "adequacy of disclosure to produce an informed consent imposes a substantial burden on counsel since an inadequate disclosure might itself become a basis for a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel"). If either of the lawyers withdrew, the other may continue because the conflict would disappear.

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn