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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2-Adversity to Former Clients

13-Marketing - Miscellaneous

50-Lawyer-Owned Businesses

68-Lawyers Acting as Mediators

Under Rule 2.10(e), a lawyer who acts as a mediator in a dispute may not later represent any party in that dispute (this conflict cannot be cured with consent). Although the conflict is imputed to all the lawyers in the law firm, another lawyer in the firm may represent a party in the dispute with consent. Although a "screen" (which is the proper term for "fire wall," "Chinese wall," etc.) cannot take the place of such consent, it frequently is used as an inducement for obtaining the consent. Lawyers serving together in a mediation firm do not face imputed disqualification, because the mediation firm is not considered a "firm" under Rule 1.10. Lawyers practicing in a law firm and also acting as independent contractors or directors of a mediation firm (and who refer mediation firm clients to their law firm) must consider whether the "personal interest" they have by virtue of participating in the mediation firm creates a conflict under Rule 1.7 -- requiring disclosure and consent. Any lawyer acting as a mediator must also comply with the Virginia statute requiring confidentiality of all mediation material. Lawyers owning an interest in a mediation firm must comply with the ancillary business rules. Lawyers referring cases between law firms and mediation firms must comply with Rule 7.3, which prohibits giving anything of value in return for a recommendation.

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn