News and Information
March 20, 2017

Comments Sought on Proposed Legal Ethics Opinion 1887

The Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Legal Ethics is seeking public comment on proposed advisory Legal Ethics Opinion 1887: Duties when a lawyer over whom no one has supervisory authority is impaired.

This proposed 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 proposed 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 proposed 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.

Any individual, business, or other entity may file or submit written comments in support of or in opposition to the proposed opinion with Karen A. Gould, Executive Director of the Virginia State Bar, not later than May 5, 2017. Comments may be submitted via e-mail to

Updated: Mar 20, 2017