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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8-Bills and Fees

34-Limiting Liability to Clients

Lawyers and clients may agree to arbitrate fee and malpractice disputes, but: the client would have to be independently represented if the agreement limits the lawyer's possible liability (for instance, by precluding punitive damages that would be available in a lawsuit); the lawyer must explain "the possible adverse consequences as well as the benefits" of such an arrangement, such as the client's waiver of jury trial, broad discovery and appellate rights, the details of arbitration process and the possibility that the client may have to pay fees and costs of arbitration.

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn