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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LEO NumTopicsSummary

1-Adversity to Current Clients

63-Lawyers Acting as Corporate Officers or Directors

78-Communicating with an Employee of a Corporate Adversary

A lawyer may file a lawsuit against a trust company on whose board the lawyer's partner sits (but who does not represent the trust department) if (1) the "affected client/clients" (the plaintiff suing the trust company) consents; and (2) the lawyer "reasonably believes" that he can "provide competent, diligent representation" to his clients. Although the board member's recusal is not mentioned as a cure in the rules, it is a factor in analyzing the second requirement, which could be met if the board (in consultation with its lawyer) allows such recusal, after considering "such matters as whether the litigation is 'routine' or 'non-routine' in the course of the board's business; whether the claim goes to matters that had been determined by the board, or lower level administrative staff; and whether the claim involves matters on which [the partner who is a member of the board] has voted or has been involved in." The board member's resignation might cure the conflict, unless there is some contractual undertaking that would affect his post-withdrawal activities. Under Rule 4.2, the plaintiff's lawyer should not have dealt with the company through his partner who serves on the board, but rather through the lawyer representing the trust company.

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn