Virginia

Innovation of Note

In 2019, the Virginia State Bar released the “Future of Law Practice” report.

Differences from ABA Model Rules

Rule 1.2(c) Limited ScopeSignificant Changes
Rule 5.4(a) Fee-SharingSignificant Changes
Rules 5.4(b)-(d) Non-Lawyer OwnershipSignificant Changes
Rule 5.5. Unauthorized Practice of LawSignificant Changes
Rule 5.7 Law Related ServicesDoes Not Have
Rule 6.5 Limited Scope Same as Model Rule
Rule 7.2(b) Lawyer ReferralDoes Not Have
Cloud Computing AdvisoryYes
Technology Competency RulesYes

ABA Rule 1.2(c) (Limited Scope)

Rule 1.2 Scope of Representation


(b) A lawyer may limit the objectives of the representation if the client consents after consultation.

Modified By:

Standing Comm. On Legal Ethics, Virginia State Bar Ass’n Legal Ethics Op. 1761 (2002) (Legal aid staff may provide legal forms to pro se litigants, so long as no assistance is provided in the completion of those forms.)

Standing Comm. On Legal Ethics, Virginia State Bar Ass’n Legal Ethics Op. 1592 (1994) (An attorney representing an uninsured motorist carrier creates attorney-client relationship with uninsured driver when he gives driver legal advice. If there are no conflicts of interest between carrier and driver, then it is not unethical for attorney to advise driver even if carrier may later file a subrogation claim against driver, but attorney could not state that he was disinterested in driver. Carrier could eliminate any conflict by waiving its subrogation rights. If attorney continues to advise driver, it would be improper for him to allow driver to represent to a court that he is appearing pro se.)

Standing Comm. On Legal Ethics, Virginia State Bar Ass’n Legal Ethics Op. 1127 (1988) (It is ethically permissible for a lawyer to advise and assist a pro se litigant and provide: general legal advice, recommendations for a course of action to follow discovery, legal research, and redrafting of documents prepared by the pro se litigant. A lawyer may prepare discovery requests, pleadings or briefs for signature by the pro se litigant. However, failure to disclose that the attorney provided active or substantial assistance may constitute a misrepresentation to the court.)

Laremont-Lopez v. Southeastern Tidewater Opportunity Ctr., 968 F.Supp. 1075 (E.D. Va. 1997)

Over a period of time, pro se plaintiffs submitted pleadings that had been written by attorneys pursuant to discrete-task representation contracts. The attorneys did not sign the pleadings, and in most cases did not appear as counsel of record. When ordered to show cause by the court as to why they should not be held in contempt of court, attorneys argued that the professional relationships created with the litigants ended once they had drafted the pleadings. Court held that there was insufficient evidence to show that the attorneys knowingly misled the court or intentionally violated ethical or procedural rules and declined to impose sanctions. However, court stated that the practice of ghostwriting pleadings without acknowledging authorship and without asking court approval to withdraw from representation was inconsistent with Fed. R. Civ. P. 11 and Rule 83.1(G) of the Local Rules for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Court stated that allowing attorneys to ghostwrite pleadings for pro se plaintiffs abused additional leeway given to pro se filings.

Sejas v. MortgageIT, Inc., No. 1:11cv469 (JCC), 2011 WL 2471205, 2011 BL 161287 (E.D. Va. June 20, 2011) (ghostwriting documents filed with court by pro se litigants “inconsistent with procedural, ethical, and substantive rules of court”)

Sharp v. Sharp, 2006 WL 3088067 (Va.Cir.Court) (Complainant and respondent were co-tenants of real estate property. The respondent appeared pro se during a hearing before the commissioner in chancery, but then hired an attorney who appeared in a limited capacity at several other hearings. On appeal, the court sought to determine whether or not the attorney could appear in a limited capacity and whether the attorney’s appearance qualified him as official “attorney of record.” The court found that it was not bound by agreements made between client and attorney and that a court may “require more of an attorney than mere compliance with the ethical constraints of the Rules of Professional Conduct.” The court found that the attorney could make a motion to withdraw once he completed the tasks agreed upon, but that the court had ultimate discretion in granting the withdrawal.)

Walker v. American Ass’n of Prof. Eye Care Spec., 268 Va. 117, 597 S.E.2d 47 (2004)

Plaintiff engaged an attorney to investigate whether she had a potential case for negligent medical treatment, and placed money in an escrow fund with him. A few months later, the attorney informed plaintiff that he would not represent her in the case. A different law office drafted a motion for judgment. The plaintiff, acting pro se, signed the pleading herself and no attorney signed it. The original attorney arranged for it to be delivered to the clerk of the circuit court with a covering letter asking for the paper to be filed on behalf of the plaintiff. A check for the filing fee, drawn on the attorney’s trust account, accompanied the letter and pleading. The attorney used money from the escrow account to retain an expert witness, and then transferred the remaining funds to other counsel who eventually represented the plaintiff. Defendants filed a motion to strike and a motion to quash, and after a hearing the trial court granted the defense motions, finding that the attorney was plaintiff’s counsel of record and that the pleading had been improperly signed by the party pro se in violation of Rules 1:4 and 1A:4. The action was dismissed with prejudice, and plaintiff appealed.   The Supreme Court reversed, finding that attorney was not plaintiff’s counsel of record and that the pleading had no been improperly signed by the pro se party.

ABA Rule 5.4(a) (Fee-sharing)

Rule 5.4 Professional Independence Of A Lawyer

(a) A lawyer or law firm shall not share legal fees with a nonlawyer, except that:        

(1) an agreement by a lawyer with the lawyer’s firm, partner, or associate may provide for the payment of money, over a reasonable period of time after the lawyer’s death, to the lawyer’s estate or to one or more specified persons;

(2) a lawyer who undertakes to complete unfinished legal business of a deceased, disabled, or disappeared lawyer may pay to the estate or other representative of that lawyer that portion of the total compensation that fairly represents the services rendered by the deceased, disabled or disappeared lawyer;

(3) a lawyer or law firm may include nonlawyer employees in a compensation or retirement plan, even though the plan is based in whole or in part on a profit sharing arrangement; and

(4) a lawyer may accept discounted payment of his fee from a credit card company on behalf of a client.

Relevant Comments:

[1] The provisions of this Rule express traditional limitations on sharing fees. These limitations are to protect the lawyer’s professional independence of judgment. Where someone other than the client pays the lawyer’s fee or salary or recommends employment of the lawyer, that arrangement does not modify the lawyer’s obligation to the client. As stated in paragraph (c), such arrangements should not interfere with the lawyer’s professional judgment. See also Rule 1.8(f).

Modified By:

Va. Ethics Op. 1783 (2003) (lawyer who represents lender collecting on note obligating borrower to pay 25 percent of balance as attorneys’ fees may rebate to lender any portion of it that exceeds actual cost of lawyer’s services).

Va. Ethics Op. 1751 (2001) (lawyer may pay local bar association reasonable percentage of fees earned from clients it refers).

ABA Rule 5.4(b – d) Non-lawyer ownership

Rule 5.4 Professional Independence Of A Lawyer

(d) A lawyer shall not practice with or in the form of a professional corporation or association authorized to practice law for a profit, if:        

  • (1) a nonlawyer owns any interest therein, except as provided in (a)(3) above, or except that a fiduciary representative of the estate of a lawyer may hold the stock or interest of the lawyer for a reasonable time during administration;
  • (2) a nonlawyer is a corporate director or officer thereof, except as permitted by law; or
  • (3) a nonlawyer has the right to direct or control the professional judgment of a lawyer.

Relevant Comments:

Paragraph (d)(2) was amended to reflect Virginia Code §54.1-3902(B)(1), which creates an exception to the general rule that a nonlawyer may not be a director or officer of a professional corporation, professional limited liability company, or registered limited liability partnership that provides legal services.

Modified By:

Va. Ethics Op. 1743 (2000) (improper for Virginia lawyer to form partnership with foreign legal consultant not admitted to practice in United States; lawyer licensed in another country considered “nonlawyer” for purpose of state’s unauthorized practice rules).

Va. Ethics Op. 1843 (2008) (patent lawyers may form partnerships and share legal fees with nonlawyer patent agents if practice restricted to patent law; Rule 5.4(b) trumped by Supremacy Clause and by federal regulations governing patent practice).

Va. Ethics Op. 1762 (2002) (lawyer may accept payment from mother to represent child against driver in car accident, but must not permit mother to interfere with lawyer’s exercise of judgment on child’s behalf)

ABA Rule 5.5 (UPL)

Unauthorized Practice Of Law; Multijurisdictional Practice of Law

(a) A lawyer, law firm or professional corporation shall not employ in any capacity a lawyer whose license has been suspended or revoked for professional misconduct, during such period of suspension or revocation, if the disciplined lawyer was associated with such lawyer, law firm, or professional corporation at any time on or after the date of the acts which resulted in suspension or revocation.

(b) A lawyer, law firm or professional corporation employing a lawyer as a consultant, law clerk, or legal assistant when that lawyer’s license is suspended or revoked for professional misconduct shall not represent any client represented by the disciplined lawyer or by any lawyer with whom the disciplined lawyer practiced on or after the date of the acts which resulted in suspension or revocation.

(c) A lawyer shall not practice law in a jurisdiction in violation of the regulation of the legal profession in that jurisdiction, or assist another in doing so.

(d) Foreign Lawyers:    

(1) “Foreign Lawyer” is a person authorized to practice law by the duly constituted and authorized governmental body of any State or Territory of the United States or the District of Columbia, or a foreign nation, but is neither licensed by the Supreme Court of Virginia or authorized under its rules to practice law generally in the Commonwealth of Virginia, nor disbarred or suspended from practice in any jurisdiction.

(2) A Foreign Lawyer shall not, except as authorized by these Rules or other law:        

(i) establish an office or other systematic and continuous presence in Virginia for the practice of law, which may occur even if the Foreign Lawyer is not physically present in Virginia; or

(ii) hold out to the public or otherwise represent that the Foreign Lawyer is admitted to practice law in Virginia.

(3) A Foreign Lawyer shall inform the client and interested third parties in writing:        

(i) that the lawyer is not admitted to practice law in Virginia;

(ii) the jurisdiction(s) in which the lawyer is licensed to practice; and

(iii) the lawyer’s office address in the foreign jurisdiction.   

(4) A Foreign Lawyer may, after informing the client as required in 3(i)-(iii) above, provide legal services on a temporary and occasional basis in Virginia that:        

(i) are undertaken in association with a lawyer who is admitted to practice without limitation in Virginia or admitted under Part I of Rule 1A:5 of this Court and who actively participates in the matter;

(ii) are in or reasonably related to a pending or potential proceeding before a tribunal in Virginia or another jurisdiction, if the Foreign Lawyer, or a person the Foreign Lawyer is assisting, is authorized by law or order to appear in such proceeding or reasonably expects to be so authorized;

(iii) are in or reasonably related to a pending or potential arbitration, mediation, or other alternative dispute resolution proceeding in Virginia or another jurisdiction, if the services arise out of or are reasonably related to the Foreign Lawyer’s practice in a jurisdiction in which the Foreign Lawyer is admitted to practice and are not services for which the forum requires pro hac vice admission; or

(iv) are not within paragraphs (4)(ii) or (4)(iii) and arise out of or are reasonably related to the representation of a client by the Foreign Lawyer in a jurisdiction in which the Foreign Lawyer is admitted to practice or, subject to the foregoing limitations, are governed primarily by international law.

(5) A foreign legal consultant practicing under Rule 1A:7 of this Court and a corporate counsel registrant practicing under Part II of Rule 1A:5 of this Court are not authorized to practice under this rule.

Relevant Comments:

[1] A lawyer may practice law only in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is authorized to practice. A lawyer may be admitted to practice law in a jurisdiction on a regular basis or may be authorized by court rule or order or by law to practice for a limited purpose or on a restricted basis. Paragraph (c) applies to unauthorized practice of law by a lawyer, whether through the lawyer’s direct action or by the lawyer assisting another person.

[1a] For purposes of paragraphs (a) and (b), “Lawyer” denotes a person authorized by the Supreme Court of Virginia or its Rules to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia including persons admitted to practice in this state pro hac vice.

[2] The definition of the practice of law is established by law and varies from one jurisdiction to another. Whatever the definition, limiting the practice of law to members of the bar protects the public against rendition of legal services by unauthorized persons. Paragraph (c) does not prohibit a lawyer from employing the services of paraprofessionals and delegating functions to them, so long as the lawyer supervises the delegated work and retains responsibility for their work. See Rule 5.3.

[3] Likewise, the definition of the practice of law does not prohibit lawyers from providing professional advice and instruction to nonlawyers whose employment requires knowledge of law — for example, claims adjusters, employees of financial or commercial institutions, social workers, accountants, and persons employed in government agencies.

[4] Other than as authorized by law or this Rule, a Foreign Lawyer violates paragraph (d)(2)(i) if the Foreign Lawyer establishes an office or other systematic and continuous presence in Virginia for the practice of law. Presence may be systematic and continuous even if the Foreign Lawyer is not physically present here. Such “non-physical” presence includes, but is not limited to, the regular interaction with residents of Virginia for delivery of legal services in Virginia through exchange of information over the Internet or other means. Such Foreign Lawyer must not hold out to the public or otherwise represent that the Foreign Lawyer is admitted to practice law in Virginia. See also, Rules 7.1(a) and 7.5(b). Despite the foregoing general prohibition, a Foreign Lawyer may establish an office or other systematic and continuous presence in Virginia if the Foreign Lawyer’s practice is limited to areas which by state or federal law do not require admission to the Virginia State Bar. Examples of lawyers admitted in another United States jurisdiction include those lawyers whose practices are limited to federal tax practice before the IRS and Tax Court, patent law before the Patent and Trademark Office, or immigration law. A Foreign Lawyer admitted to practice in a jurisdiction outside the United States may be authorized to practice under Rule 1A:7 as a foreign legal consultant and may likewise establish an office or other systematic and continued presence in Virginia.

[5] Paragraph (d)(4) identifies circumstances in which a Foreign Lawyer may provide legal services on a temporary basis in Virginia that do not create an unreasonable risk to the interests of their clients, the public, or the courts. The fact that conduct is not so identified does not imply that the conduct is or is not authorized. Except as authorized by this rule or other law, a Foreign Lawyer may not establish an office or other systematic and continuous presence in Virginia without being admitted to practice generally here.

[6] There is no single test to determine whether a Foreign Lawyer’s services are provided on a “temporary basis” in Virginia, and may therefore be permissible under paragraph (d)(4). Services may be “temporary” even though the Foreign Lawyer provides services in Virginia on a recurring basis, or for an extended period of time, as when the Foreign Lawyer is representing a client in a single lengthy negotiation or litigation. “Temporary” refers to the duration of the Foreign lawyer’s presence and provision of services, while “occasional” refers to the frequency with which the Foreign lawyer comes into Virginia to provide legal services.

[7] Paragraph (d)(1) requires that the Foreign Lawyer be authorized to practice in the jurisdiction in which the Foreign Lawyer is admitted and excludes a Foreign Lawyer who, while technically admitted, is not authorized to practice because, for example, the Foreign Lawyer is on inactive status.

[8] Paragraph (d)(4)(i) recognizes that the interests of clients and the public are protected if a Foreign Lawyer associates with a lawyer licensed to practice Virginia. For this paragraph to apply, however, the lawyer admitted to practice in Virginia must actively participate in and share responsibility for the representation of the client.

[9] Foreign Lawyers not admitted to practice generally in this jurisdiction may be authorized by law or order of a tribunal or an administrative agency to appear before the tribunal or agency. Under paragraph (d)(4)(ii), a Foreign Lawyer does not violate this Rule when the Foreign Lawyer appears before a tribunal or agency pursuant to such authority. To the extent that a court rule or other law of Virginia requires a Foreign Lawyer to obtain admission pro hac vice before appearing before a tribunal or administrative agency, this Rule requires the Foreign Lawyer to obtain that authority.

[10] Paragraph (d)(4)(ii) also provides that a Foreign Lawyer rendering services in Virginia on a temporary basis does not violate this Rule when the Foreign Lawyer engages in conduct in anticipation of a proceeding or hearing in a jurisdiction in which the Foreign Lawyer is authorized to practice law or in which the Foreign Lawyer reasonably expects to be admitted pro hac vice. Examples of such conduct include meetings with the client, interviews of potential witnesses, and the review of documents. Similarly, a Foreign Lawyer may engage in conduct temporarily in Virginia in connection with pending litigation in another jurisdiction in which the Foreign Lawyer is or reasonably expects to be authorized to appear, including taking depositions in Virginia.

[11] ABA Model Rule Comment not adopted.

[12] Paragraph (d)(4)(iii) permits a Foreign Lawyer to perform services on a temporary basis in Virginia if those services are in or reasonably related to a pending or potential arbitration, mediation, or other alternative dispute resolution proceeding in this or another jurisdiction, if the services arise out of or are reasonably related to the Foreign Lawyer’s practice in a jurisdiction in which the Foreign Lawyer is admitted to practice. The Foreign Lawyer, however, must obtain admission pro hac vice in the case of a court-annexed arbitration or mediation or otherwise if court rules or law so require.

[13] Paragraph (d)(4)(iv) permits a Foreign Lawyer to provide certain legal services on a temporary basis in Virginia that arise out of or are reasonably related to that lawyer’s practice in a jurisdiction in which the Foreign Lawyer is admitted but are not within paragraphs (d)(4)(ii) or (d)(4)(iii). These services include both legal services and services that nonlawyers may perform but that are considered the practice of law when performed by lawyers.

[14] Paragraphs (d)(4)(ii), (d)(4)(iii), and (d)(4)(iv) require that the services arise out of or be reasonably related to the Foreign Lawyer’s practice in a jurisdiction in which the Foreign Lawyer is admitted to practice. A variety of factors evidence such a relationship. The Foreign Lawyer’s client may have been previously represented by the Foreign Lawyer, or may be resident in or have substantial contacts with the jurisdiction in which the Foreign Lawyer is admitted. The matter, although involving other jurisdictions, may have a significant connection with that jurisdiction. In other cases, significant aspects of the Foreign Lawyer’s work might be conducted in that jurisdiction or a significant aspect of the matter may involve the law of that jurisdiction. The necessary relationship might arise when the client’s activities or the legal issues involve multiple jurisdictions, such as when the officers of a multinational corporation survey potential business sites and seek the services of their Foreign Lawyer in assessing the relative merits of each. In addition, the services may draw on the Foreign Lawyer’s recognized expertise developed through the regular practice of law on behalf of clients in matters involving a particular body of federal, nationally-uniform, foreign, or international law.

[14a] Paragraph (d)(4)(iv) recognizes that a Foreign Lawyer may provide legal services when the services provided are governed by international law or the law of a foreign jurisdiction in which the Foreign Lawyer is admitted to practice.

[15 – 18] ABA Model Rule Comments not adopted.

[19] A Foreign Lawyer who practices law in Virginia pursuant to this Rule is subject to the disciplinary authority of Virginia. See Rule 8.5(a).

[20] ABA Model Rule Comment not adopted.

[21] Paragraph (d)(4) does not authorize communications advertising legal services to prospective clients in Virginia by Foreign Lawyers who are admitted to practice in other jurisdictions. Whether and how Foreign Lawyers may communicate the availability of their services to prospective clients in Virginia is governed by Rules 7.1 to 7.5.

Modified By:

Va. Ethics Op. 1792 (2006) (lawyer may not train social workers to assist pro se litigants in filling out forms used in small-claims court if assistance goes beyond translation, transcription, or filing instructions). ABA

Va. Ethics Op. 1872 (2013) (discussing ethical issues arising in virtual law practice); ABA

Virginia Unauthorized Practice Op. 214, 25 Law. Man. Prof. Conduct 167 (2008) (CPA’s representation of claimants in securities arbitrations would be unauthorized practice of law);  ABA

See Also: http://www.vsb.org/site/regulation/upl-opinions-on-line-numeric-index

In re Jay, 446 B.R. 227 (Bankr. E.D. Va. 2010) (ordering disgorgement of fees)

In re Soulisak, 227 B.R. 77 (Bankr. E.D. Va. 1998) (nonlawyer advised clients and determined what information was needed from them before clients met with attorney for first time at creditors’ meeting)

In re Tanksley, 174 B.R. 434 (Bankr. W.D. Va. 1994) (appearing on behalf of debtor at creditors’ meeting constituted unauthorized practice of law).

Landrum v. Chippenham & Johnston-Willis Hosps., Inc., 717 S.E.2d 134 (Va. 2011) (excluding expert witness in part because notice not signed by local counsel)

Wellmore Coal Corp. v. Harman Mining Corp., 568 S.E.2d 671 (Va. 2002) (dismissing appeal of $6 million trial court judgment because notice of appeal signed only by foreign counsel). ABA

Other Definitions:

ANNOTATED CODE OF VIRGINIA RULES OF THE SUPREME COURT OF VIRGINIA PART SIX. INTEGRATION OF THE STATE BAR SECTION I. UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE RULES AND CONSIDERATIONS PRACTICE OF LAW IN THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

Part 6, §1. Practice of Law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

(A) No non-lawyer shall engage in the practice of law in the Commonwealth of Virginia or in any manner hold himself out as authorized or qualified to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia except as may be authorized by rule or statute.(B) Definition of the Practice of Law. The principles underlying a definition of the practice of law have been developed through the years in social needs and have received recognition by the courts. It has been found necessary to protect the relation of attorney and client against abuses. Therefore, it is from the relation of attorney and client that any practice of law must be derived. The relation of attorney and client is direct and personal, and a person, natural or artificial, who undertakes the duties and responsibilities of an attorney is nonetheless practicing law though such person may employ others to whom may be committed the actual performance of such duties. The gravity of the consequences to society resulting from abuses of this relation demands that those assuming to advise or to represent others shall be properly trained and educated, and be subject to a peculiar discipline. That fact, and the necessity for protection of society in its affairs and in the ordered proceedings of its tribunals, have developed the principles which serve to define the practice of law. Generally, the relation of attorney and client exists, and one is deemed to be practicing law whenever he furnishes to another advice or service under circumstances which imply his possession and use of legal knowledge or skill. Specifically, the relation of attorney and client exists, and one is deemed to be practicing law whenever

(1) One undertakes for compensation, direct or indirect, to advise another, not his regular employer, in any matter involving the application of legal principles to facts or purposes or desires.(2) One, other than as a regular employee acting for his employer, undertakes, with or without compensation, to prepare for another legal instruments of any character, other than notices or contracts incident to the regular course of conducting a licensed business.(3) One

undertakes, with or without compensation, to represent the interest of another before any tribunal–judicial, administrative, or executive–otherwise than in the presentation of facts, figures, or factual conclusions, as distinguished from legal conclusions, by an employee regularly and bona fide employed on a salary basis, or by one specially employed as an expert in respect to such facts and figures when such representation by such employee or expert does not involve the examination of witnesses or preparation of pleadings.

ABA Rule 5.7 (Law Related Services)

ABA Model Rule Not Adopted.

ABA Rule 6.5 (Court annexed/Non-profit limited scope)

Same as Model Rule.

Relevant Comments:

[1] Legal services organizations, courts and various nonprofit organizations have established programs through which lawyers provide short-term limited legal services – such as advice or the completion of legal forms – that will assist persons to address their legal problems without further representation by a lawyer. In these programs, such as legal-advice hotlines, advice-only clinics or pro se counseling programs, a client-lawyer relationship is established, but there is no expectation that the lawyer’s representation of the client will continue beyond the limited consultation. Such programs are normally operated under circumstances in which it is not feasible for a lawyer to systematically screen for conflicts of interest as is generally required before undertaking a representation. See, e.g., Rules 1.7, 1.9 and 1.10.

[2] A lawyer who provides short-term limited legal services pursuant to this Rule must secure the client’s informed consent to the limited scope of the representation. See Rule 1.2(b). If a short-term limited representation would not be reasonable under the circumstances, the lawyer may offer advice to the client but must also advise the client of the need for further assistance of counsel. Except as provided in this Rule, the Rules of Professional Conduct, including Rules 1.6 and 1.9(c), are applicable to the limited representation.

[3] Because a lawyer who is representing a client in the circumstances addressed by this Rule ordinarily is not able to check systematically for conflicts of interest, paragraph (a) requires compliance with Rules 1.7 or 1.9(a) only if the lawyer knows that the representation presents a conflict of interest for the lawyer, and with Rule 1.10 only if the lawyer knows that another lawyer in the lawyer’s firm is disqualified by Rules 1.7 or 1.9(a) in the matter.

[4] Because the limited nature of the services significantly reduces the risk of conflicts of interest with other matters being handled by the lawyer’s firm, paragraph (b) provides that Rule 1.10 is inapplicable to a representation governed by this Rule except as provided by paragraph (a)(2). Paragraph (a)(2) requires the participating lawyer to comply with Rule 1.10 when the lawyer knows that the lawyer’s firm is disqualified by Rules 1.7 or 1.9(a). By virtue of paragraph (b), however, a lawyer’s participation in a short-term limited legal services program will not preclude the lawyer’s firm from undertaking or continuing the representation of a client with interests adverse to a client being represented under the program’s auspices. Nor will the personal disqualification of a lawyer participating in the program be imputed to other lawyers participating in the program.

[5] If, after commencing a short-term limited representation in accordance with this Rule, a lawyer undertakes to represent the client in the matter on an ongoing basis, Rules 1.7, 1.9(a) and 1.10 become applicable.

Modified By:

Va. Ethics Op. 1869 (2013) (lawyers volunteering in Family Court Self-Help Center answering general questions, preparing support calculations, or handing out materials available on website are not providing legal services and therefore may use customer agreements disclaiming lawyer-client relationship altogether; if lawyer helps attendee complete legal documents or gives legal advice, however, relationship arises and Rule 6.5 will apply)

Virginia Ethics Op. 1869, 29 Law. Man. Prof. Conduct 366 (2013) (Rule 6.5 not implicated unless there is lawyer-client relationship; if lawyers volunteering as facilitators in family court self-help kiosk merely answer general questions, prepare support calculations and hand out materials from websites, they can use disclaimers and “customer agreements” to avoid creating lawyer-client relationship at all)

ABA Rule 7.2(b) (Lawyer referral)

Deleted

Cloud Computing

Legal Ethics Opinion 1872 http://www.vsb.org/docs/1872-final.pdf

Reasonable Care Standard

Recommendations

  • Exercise care in selection of the vendor.
  • Have a reasonable expectation the vendor will keep data confidential and inaccessible.
  • Instruct the vendor to preserve the confidentiality of information.

Technology Competency

Comment to Rule 1.1
[6] To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should engage in continuing study and education in the areas of practice in which the lawyer is engaged. Attention should be paid to the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology. The Mandatory Continuing Legal Education requirements of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia set the minimum standard fbI’ continuing study and education which a lawyer licensed and practicing in Virginia must satisfy. If a system of peer review has been established. the lawyer should consider making use of it in appropriate circumstances.