Continuing Legal Education

TELESEMINAR: Ethics and Tribunals: Attorney Duties when Communicating with the Courts and Governmental Agencies – A National Perspective

March 21, 2013
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
1.00 MCLE hours, including 1.00 Professional Responsibility MCLE credit hours (PMCLE credit subject to approval)


Communications with judicial tribunals or an administrative panel can impact the outcome a case or controversy. The ethical rules governing these communications are complex – with whom may you communicate, when and in what form – and can easily lead to ethical pitfalls. Attorneys must zealously represent their clients, but to what extent can they remain silent about unfavorable facts or not disclosure certain elements of adverse law, including unpublished case law? What standards of knowledge under the ethics rules must attorneys satisfy in their communications with tribunals? And when do communications with or a relationship with the judge trigger judicial disqualification? This program will answer these and other questions, and provide you with a real world guide to the ethical pitfalls of communications with judicial and administrative tribunals.


  • Ethics of communicating with judicial and administrative law tribunals
  • Ethical duty to disclosure unfavorable facts v. duty not to misstate material facts
  • Disclosure of adverse law, including unpublished case law
  • Knowledge standard of attorneys litigating before a tribunal
  • Ex parte communications with the courts
  • Judicial disqualification based on relationships with litigants or lawyers, or past employment of judge
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Program Speaker:
Thomas E. Spahn
, McGuireWoods, LLP, Virginia


*Professional Responsibility MCLE credit subject to approval

Thomas E. Spahn is a partner in the McLean, Virginia office of McGuireWoods, LLP, where he has a broad complex commercial, business and securities litigation practice. He also has a substantial practice advising businesses on properly creating and preserving the attorney-client privilege and work product protections.  For more than 20 years he has lectured extensively on legal ethics and professionalism and has written “The Attorney-Client Privilege and the Work Product Doctrine: A Practitioner’s Guide,” a 750 page treatise published by the Virginia Law Foundation.  Mr. Spahn has served as member of the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility and as a member of the Virginia State Bar's Legal Ethics Committee.  He received his B.A., magna cum laude, from Yale University and his J.D. from Yale Law School.