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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Addressing a 25-year old agreement by three plaintiffs' law firms not to represent asbestos plaintiffs in lawsuits against a large manufacturer (except for workers' compensation claims), the Bar holds that: (1) it will not decide whether the restriction "broadly" restricts a lawyer's right to practice law, because that is a fact-intensive decision involving a number of factors; and (2) the three law firms' requirement that all future partners and associates sign a copy of the agreement violates the prohibition on lawyers entering into partnership or employment agreements that restrict their right to practice law (although the Bar declines to decide whether the restrictions are "void and of no effect," because that is a question of law).

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn