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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1-Adversity to Current Clients

44-Conflicts - Miscellaneous

54-Insurance Defense Lawyers

A lawyer may charge a fixed percentage overhead fee for miscellaneous expenses in most representations, although such an arrangement would be improper in contingent fee matters (in which the client must be responsible for the actual costs incurred). (3/22/88)A law firm who occasionally represents an insurance company may represent a company whose interests are adverse to the insurance company's as long as the matters are not substantially related. However, consent would be required if the firm routinely handled the insurance company's matters "from time to time, whether on retainer or not, [or] whether presently engaged or not." (Here, no consent was required because the representation of the carrier was not "ongoing").The Bar contrasted this time-to-time representation (in which consent would be required) from what it described as a representation which was "not ongoing, but was based on the completion of a specific project which has not been completed" in which case consent would not be required. [The "not" is probably a typographical error -- the Bar probably meant "now been completed."]

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn