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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4-Witness-Advocate Rule

67-Lawyers Acting as Guardians Ad Litem"

Although lawyers acting as guardians ad litem generally must comply with the ethics rules, "the relationship of the GAL and child is different from the relationship of attorney and client," and the "specific duty of the guardian ad litem should prevail" if there is any conflict with a lawyer's standard ethics responsibility. A guardian ad litem who must testify on a disputed issue of material fact may continue to represent the child despite the witness-advocate rule, because the lawyer's statutory duty to "advise the court" about the child's interest and welfare trumps the witness-advocate rule (which would otherwise prohibit the guardian's representation of the child in the hearing).

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn