Professional Guidelines

An agency of the Supreme Court of Virginia

The Virginia State Bar

Professional Guidelines

Rule 4.3

Dealing With Unrepresented Persons

  • (a) In dealing on behalf of a client with a person who is not represented by counsel, a lawyer shall not state or imply that the lawyer is disinterested. When the lawyer knows or reasonably should know that the unrepresented person misunderstands the lawyer's role in the matter, the lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to correct the misunderstanding.
  • (b) A lawyer shall not give advice to a person who is not represented by a lawyer, other than the advice to secure counsel, if the interests of such person are or have a reasonable possibility of being in conflict with the interest of the client.

Comment

[1] An unrepresented person, particularly one not experienced in dealing with legal matters, might assume that a lawyer is disinterested in loyalties or is a disinterested authority on the law even when the lawyer represents a client. During the course of a lawyer's representation of a client, the lawyer should not give advice to an unrepresented person other than the advice to obtain counsel.

Virginia Code Comparison

Paragraph (a) is identical to DR 7-103(B) and paragraph (b) is similar to DR 7-103(A)(2).

Committee Commentary

The Virginia Code had deviated from the ABA Model Code by using the language of ABA Model Rule 4.3(a) as DR 7-103(B). This provision continues unchanged in Rule 4.3.

Updated: October 30, 2009