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The Ethics of Bad Facts and Bad Law

June 29, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Every lawyer wrestles with how to handle facts or law that is unfavorable to a client. There is a natural tension between a lawyer’s duty to be honest, on the one hand, and the lawyer’s duty to provide zealous representation of a client.  In some instances, bad facts or bad law must be disclosed.  In other instances, disclosure is not required. How this tension is resolved involves substantial ethical issues.  This program will discuss the ethics issues involved and how they may be resolved in a practical setting. Ethical issues surrounding the representation of adverse facts to tribunals and adversaries

Handout Materials will be emailed to you prior to the seminar
1.0 MCLE Credit Hour, including 1 ethics hour


  • Disclosure of adverse legal precedents
  • Required discloses of bad facts or law
  • Timing issues – when must the disclosure occur?
  • Related issues of confidentiality and the attorney-client privilege
  • Ex parte communications with the courts – what’s ethically permissible, what’s not?


Thomas E. Spahn, McGuireWoods, LLP – McLean, Virginia