News and Information
December 02, 2013

Comments Sought on Proposed Rule of Professional Conduct 5.8

Additional Info

view the proposed Rule 5.8 (PDF file)

The Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee On Legal Ethics Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Rule of Professional Conduct 5.8

Pursuant to Part Six: Section IV, Paragraph 10-2(C) of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, the Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Legal Ethics (“Committee”) is seeking public comment on a proposed new Rule of Professional Conduct, Rule 5.8, Procedures for Lawyers Leaving Law Firms and Dissolution of Law Firms.

RULE 5.8
Proposed Rule 5.8 is based on Florida RPC 4-5.8 and is not derived from an ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct. The proposed Rule codifies a number of the suggestions from LEOs on departing lawyers’ obligations into more concrete steps to follow. It does not change the Committee’s interpretation of a lawyer’s obligations in these circumstances, but it does make clear that these are obligations, not suggestions, and establishes default rules for situations where the lawyer and firm cannot agree on how to proceed, or where the client does not respond to the required notification.

Because of the significance of this issue, and the acrimony that often accompanies a firm departure or dissolution, the Committee believes that it will be helpful to have a Rule of Professional Conduct that explicitly dictates how and under what circumstances clients must be notified, rather than relying exclusively on advisory opinions.

Inspection and Comment
The proposed amendments may be inspected at the offices of the Virginia State Bar, 707 East Main Street, Suite 1500, Richmond, Virginia 23219-2800, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Copies of the proposed amendments can be obtained from the offices of the Virginia State Bar by contacting the Office of Ethics Counsel at (804) 775-0557, or can be found at the Virginia State Bar’s website at

Any individual, business, or other entity may file or submit written comments in support of or in opposition to the proposed amendments with Karen A. Gould, the Executive Director of the Virginia State Bar, not later than March 6, 2014. Comments may be submitted via e-mail to


Originally posted December 2, 2013. Updated January 7, 2014, to change the comment deadline from February 14 to March 6, 2014.

Updated: Jan 07, 2014