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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45-Law Firms - Miscellaneous

50-Lawyer-Owned Businesses

As additional states "permit business structures that allow nonlawyer ownership of law firms and the sharing of legal fees with nonlawyers," lawyers "may acquire a ‘passive' investment interest" in what are called alternative business structures, as long as: (1) the passive investment "does not include scenarios in which the investing lawyer practices law through the ABS [alternative business structure], manages or holds a position of corporate or managerial authority in the ABS, or is otherwise involved in the daily operations of the ABS"; and (2) "the investing lawyer does not have access to information protected by [ABA] Model Rule 1.6 without the ABS client's informed consent." Although a law firm's lawyer's personal interest resulting from her investment in an ABS is not automatically imputed to her colleagues under ABA Model Rule 1.10, lawyers must analyze a possible ABA Model Rule 1.7(a)(2) "material limitation" conflict.

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn