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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31-Protecting and Disclosing Confidences and Secrets

46-Confidentiality - Miscellaneous

48-Criminal Defense Lawyers

Criminal defense lawyers whose clients have claimed ineffective assistance of counsel may not disclose client confidences to defend themselves immediately upon the filing of the habeas petition, because it is "unlikely that it is reasonably necessary for the lawyer to disclose confidential information at the time the petition is filed, when the court has not made a determination whether the petition is legally and procedurally sufficient." The lawyer would be justified in disclosing confidential information under the Rule 1.6 self defense exception "under judicial supervision at a formal proceeding, after a full determination of what information should be revealed."

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn