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May 22, 2018

Comments Sought on Proposed Revisions to Imputed Disqualification Rule

The Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Legal Ethics is seeking public comment on proposed revisions to Rule 1.10, Imputed Disqualification: General Rule.

This proposed revision provides that a conflict is not imputed to other lawyers in a firm when the conflict arises from a personal interest of the affected lawyer and does not present a significant risk of materially limiting the representation by other lawyers in the firm. 

The proposed revision also adds Comment 3, an ABA Model Comment that gives examples of the types of personal interest conflicts that might or might not affect other lawyers’ ability to represent a client. Under the proposed rule, a lawyer’s personal relationship with a witness involved in a case, for example, would not create a conflict for other lawyers in that firm unless those lawyers’ relationship with the conflicted lawyer would materially limit their own representation of the client. 

The proposed amendments also add Comment 4, an ABA Model Comment that is unrelated to the proposed change to Rule 1.10(a). This comment explains the imputation rules for nonlawyers in a firm, and provides helpful guidance that is consistent with existing LEO 1800.  

The full proposal can be viewed here. Comments are due by July 13, 2018.

Updated: May 22, 2018

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