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Jan 18, 2021

No-contact rule: Court rejects proposed looser standard for talking to adversary’s employees

The Supreme Court of Virginia has tightened the ethical boundaries for lawyers investigating possible litigation claims. The change puts Virginia more in line with other states and federal courts for what’s referred to as the “no-contact rule.” The justices balked at a revised legal ethics opinion expressly allowing lawyers to talk with employees of a […]

Jan 7, 2020

Bar urges clear rule against sex with clients

A Virginia State Bar committee proposes a “bright-line rule” prohibiting sexual relations between a lawyer and a current client unless the intimate relationship predated the lawyer-client relationship. Bar prosecutors regularly get complaints about lawyer-client liaisons, the committee chair said. Incidents often arise in divorce cases, reports indicate. At least 43 other states clearly prohib[...]

Oct 31, 2016

Substitute judge barred from work for police union

A Virginia lawyer who serves as a substitute judge may not ethically accept an offer to represent a lo­cal police union and its members, a new judicial ethics opinion says. The police union work, including representation of individual officers in grievance matters, would create both real and perceived conflicts of interest for a substitute judge […]

Aug 29, 2016

Court modifies UPL regs

Lawyers no longer control the in­vestigation of complaints about the unauthorized practice of law in Vir­ginia. The Supreme Court of Virginia has revamped the Virginia State Bar’s in­vestigation procedures for reports of UPL in the wake of new U.S. Supreme Court guidance on self-regulated pro­fessions. The federal justices cautioned against professional regulation unbri­dled by state [&hell[...]

Jul 25, 2016

Loose talk

No matter how insightful your views, that judge you just met at a cocktail party really does not want to hear your observations about the big case you’ve been reading about. Your unsolicited wisdom could compel the judge to explain the awkward encoun­ter to the lawyers involved in the case and – in extreme cases […]

Jul 14, 2016

Lawyer cleared of fraud in family assets battle

A three-member arbitration panel has rejected a dozen claims of fraud, self-dealing and other unethical conduct against an Alexandria attorney after a high-stakes family feud over years of complex financial transactions. The arbitrators decided in favor of lawyer Bruce W. Henry on all 12 claims advanced by the daughter of an Alexandria businessman who died […]

Mar 28, 2016

What’s your password?

“What’s your password?” It’s a question no one answers. For most folks, security mandates silence. You never give out your password, especially not to some official sounding IT person on the phone. Some lawyers might not disclose their password for another reason: It’s embarrassingly simple. Whether from annoyance or lack of imagination, a lot of […]

Feb 15, 2016

Liar, liar

The Virginia State Bar is seeking comments on a proposal to relax ethics rules for a lawyer confronted with a client who wants to commit perjury.

Dec 14, 2015

Lawyer beats bar discipline charge

A lawyer charged with lying to a Virginia State Bar investigator has avoided bar discipline with a three-judge deadlock. The circuit court panel issued an order last month stating the three judges could not reach a majority decision on whether the bar had proved by clear and convincing evidence that Brandon H. Ziegler knowingly made […]

Contract being examined
Nov 25, 2015

Lawyer’s payout forfeiture barred by ethics rule

A law firm cannot enforce a 50-percent penalty clause in its payout contract for departing attorneys who take firm clients with them, an Alexandria federal judge has ruled. The Nov. 6 ruling could be worth as much as $150,000 to the departing lawyer, according to figures disclosed in an earlier opinion in the case. The […]

Oct 22, 2015

Court revives judicial ethics committee

The Supreme Court of Virginia is bringing back the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee, the court said on Oct. 20. Virginia Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons signed an order re-establishing the advisory committee, which first saw life in 1999 and effectively went out of business in 2008, when it released its last advisory opinion. The opinions […]

Jul 23, 2015

Prosecutor beats ethics charges

A prosecutor accused of intentionally withholding evidence required to be disclosed to a criminal defendant’s lawyer won dismissal of bar charges on July 22. A district committee of the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board unanimously determined to dismiss the bar charges, according to the attorney for Archana J. McLoughlin of Williamsburg. McLoughlin was an assistant […]

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