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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16-Lawyer's Personal Interests

43-Conflicts of Interest - Miscellaneous

A lawyer representing another lawyer may also represent a client adverse to the other lawyer's client unless the representation of the client may be "materially limited" by the relationship between the lawyers. Determining whether such a material limit exists depends on such factors as: the importance and sensitivity of the matters; the size of the fee; any similarity between the representations; whether the representations will "cause either or both of [the lawyers] to temper advocacy on behalf of their opposing third-party clients." If the representation meets this standard, the lawyer may proceed (if at all) only with consent, although even curative consent would be unavailable if the lawyer could not make full disclosure because of other client confidences. Even if not required, it might be prudent to disclose the lawyers' relationship. Any non-curable conflict would disqualify the representing lawyer's entire firm, but representation of a lawyer in a purely personal matter would not result in disqualification of the represented lawyer's entire firm.

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn