VSB Legal Ethics Opinions approved by the Supreme Court of Virginia on November 2, 2016

(Effective immediately.)

view the Supreme Court of Virginia order (PDF file)

In November 2015, the Supreme Court of Virginia required that all legal ethics advisory opinions (LEOs) be forwarded to the Court for review after Council, the VSB’s governing body, approves or modifies an LEO. Paragraph 10-3.A. The Court then has an opportunity to approve, modify, or disapprove the LEO. Paragraph 10-4.

Beginning with Legal Ethics Opinion 1884, which was approved by the Court on September 30, 2016, all future LEOs will be promulgated under this review process.

In addition, in July 2016 the Virginia State Bar asked the court to review and approve Legal Ethics Opinions 1329, 1438, 1584, 1606, 1742, 1792, 1856, and 1869. By order entered November 2, 2016, those eight LEOs were approved and are effective immediately.

  • LEO 1329: Aiding A Non-Lawyer in the Unauthorized Practice of Law – Real Estate/Title Services: Attorney Retained by Client/Title Agency to Assist it in Preparation of Documents Incident to Conducting a Real Estate Closing.
  • LEO 1438: Splitting Fees with a Nonlawyer: Attorney Compensating an Advertising Agency Based on a Profitsharing Plan.
  • LEO 1584: Partnership with a Nonlawyer. Multijurisdictional Law Firm with Nonlawyer Partner Practicing in Virginia Through Licensed Virginia Bar Member.
  • LEO 1606: Fees (Compendium Opinion).
  • LEO 1742: Activities of Closing Attorney in Connection with Real Estate Transaction when Title Company Is Representing Seller.
  • LEO 1792: Is It Considered Assisting in the Unauthorized Practice of Law for an Attorney to Instruct a Social Worker to Assist Pro-Se Litigants to Fill-Out Small Claims Forms?
  • LEO 1856: Scope of Practice for Foreign Lawyer in Virginia
  • LEO 1869: Assisting Pro Se Litigants—Courthouse Assistance Program.

Prior LEOs issued by the Standing Committee on Legal Ethics remain in effect unless and until they have been withdrawn. Recently withdrawn LEOs are 821, 835, 856, 862, 926, 1003, 1290, 1348, 1380, 1543, 1600, 1689, 1743.

Updated: Nov 03, 2016