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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28-Law Firm Staff

31-Protecting and Disclosing Confidences and Secrets

Lawyers must comply with their Rule 1.1 competence and Rule 1.4 communication duties even "when a client's ability to receive information from or convey information to a lawyer is impeded because the lawyer and the client do not share a common language, or when a client is a person with a non-cognitive physical condition, such as a hearing, speech, or vision disability." Lawyers in that situation: (1) must select a qualified translator or interpreter (taking "particular care" if relying on the client's relatives, given the risk of bias or personal interest); (2) exercise their Rule 5.3 supervision responsibilities (emphasizing assistants' confidentiality duty); and (3) keep in mind any social and cultural differences when communicating with clients.

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn