Effective immediately, the Supreme Court of Virginia has approved Legal Ethics Opinion 1887: Duties when a lawyer over whom no one has supervisory authority is impaired.
This opinion addresses the ethical duties of a lawyer to take remedial measures when he believes a sole partner in a firm or solo lawyer is impaired. The Ethics Committee concludes in this opinion that evidence of a lawyer’s possible impairment, standing alone, does not necessarily trigger the duty to report misconduct under Rule 8.3(a), although in many cases the impairment will lead to violations of the rules that do trigger that duty. The opinion also encourages lawyers to contact Lawyers Helping Lawyers (LHL), or another lawyer assistance program, or to suggest that the possibly-impaired lawyer contact LHL, for guidance on how to address the underlying impairment regardless of whether a bar complaint is filed.Updated: Aug 30, 2017
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