News and Information
October 28, 2019

Highlights of the October 25, 2019, Virginia State Bar Council Meeting

At its meeting on October 25, 2019, in Alexandria, the Virginia State Bar Council heard the following significant reports and took the following actions.

Clients’ Protection Fund Rules 

Council approved by unanimous vote the proposed amendments to the Clients’ Protection Fund Rules. The proposed changes allow petitions for alleged losses caused by attorneys who transfer their class of membership, clarify a petitioner’s duty to seek reimbursement from other sources besides the Clients’ Protection Fund, move provisions in the rules pertaining to the appropriate measure/quantum of an award from the “Definition” sub-heading to the “Processing Petitions” subheading, add a requirement that alleged loss have a nexus to Virginia, add a new procedure if the CPF Board’s investigation reveals a loss greater than amount requested by a petitioner, and clarify the procedure for requests for reconsideration.  

Rule 1.15, Safekeeping Property

Council approved by unanimous vote the proposed amendments to Rule 1.15. The proposed amendments simplify and clarify the trust account recordkeeping requirements, using terminology that is more easily understood and spelling out in the body of the rule exactly what information must be included in the required records. The proposed changes will be presented to the Supreme Court of Virginia for approval. 

Legal Ethics Opinion 1890

By a vote of 41–22, the council approved proposed LEO 1890, Communications with Represented Persons (Compendium Opinion). This proposed opinion addresses 14 different scenarios arising under Rule of Professional Conduct Rule 4.2, and collects authorities including Rule 4.2 and its comments, other LEOs, case law, and other states’ ethics opinions to explain the purpose and application of Rule 4.2 to the most common issues raised by the rule. The proposed Legal Ethics Opinion will be presented to the Supreme Court of Virginia for approval. 

Legal Ethics Opinion 1891

By a vote of 53–8, with five abstentions, the council approved proposed LEO 1891, Communication with Represented Government Officials. This proposed opinion addresses whether there are instances where communication with represented government officials is “authorized by law” for purposes of Rule 4.2, considering the constitutional and statutory rights of citizens to access the government and to petition for the redress of grievances. The proposed Legal Ethics Opinion will be presented to the Supreme Court of Virginia for approval.

Updated: Oct 28, 2019