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

12-Withdrawing Lawyers (Including Non-Compete Issues)

55-Firm Names and Letterhead


The hypothetical law firm of "Smith & Jones, P.C.," need not immediately stop using the Internet domain name and URL "" after Smith withdraws from the P.C. An immediate termination would not serve "the interests of the public" or "the partners in the former firm who collectively built goodwill and created value associated with that firm name." The "appropriate way of explaining why is no longer the Smith & Jones website" is to place a notice on that website. Although the P.C. owns the former domain name, it may not indicate on the website that the Smith & Jones "has now become" the "Jones Law Office," because that implies that Smith is no longer practicing law. Similarly, any redirection of visitors to the website to the "" website also requires additional information. Such redirection is appropriate only if the website, or a page visable during the process of redirecting, "explains the change from Smith & Jones to Jones Law Office and that Smith continues to practice law in a different firm."

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn