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. 
 Back to main menu

  Print This Leo
LEO NumTopicsSummary

66-Lawyers Acting as "Scriveners"

Lawyers practicing at a state prison may type up legal documents for inmates without establishing an attorney-client relationship with them, but should make it clear in such situations that the lawyer is not vouching for the document or otherwise giving legal advice; if the lawyer does anything more than act as a mere typist for an inmate preparing pleadings to be filed in court, the lawyer "must make sure that the inmate does not present himself to the court as having developed the pleadings pro se"; because the existence of an attorney-client relationship depends on the lawyer's actions rather than a mere title, the following earlier opinions regarding the role of a "scrivener" are superseded: LEOs 553, 824, 1126, 1352, 1368, 1464,1726, 1761. [overruled to the extent it is inconsistent with LEO 1874 (7/28/14), which explained that the ethics rules do not prohibit undisclosed assistance to a pro se litigant, but some courts forbid it]

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn