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

31-Protecting and Disclosing Confidences and Secrets

48-Criminal Defense Lawyers

A lawyer representing two clients in unrelated criminal matters who learns from one client that the client would like to cooperate with the prosecutor and offer to testify against the other client the lawyer is representing (in an unrelated criminal matter) faces an incurable conflict, because: (1) the lawyer cannot advise the client who wants to cooperate, because it would be adverse to the lawyer's other client; and (2) the lawyer cannot obtain that other client's consent to the adversity, because the first client's interests in cooperating is a client confidence that cannot be disclosed without consent. The conflict would be incurable even if the prosecutor disclaimed any interest in using information obtained from the cooperating client, because the lawyer still could not advise the cooperating client adverse to the other client (and could not obtain the other client's consent, because the first client's interest in cooperating is a client confidence).

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn