LEO: Hearing Officer - Conflict of Interest LE Op. 981
Hearing Officer - Conflict of Interest.
October 12, 1987
You advise that you are an attorney in private practice and that 60% of
your practice is the representation of parents and children in special
education administrative hearings against local school divisions in
Virginia. You have asked to be added to the list of hearing officers that
the Supreme Court maintains. Your inquiry is whether or not you may be on
the Supreme Court's list of hearing officers for special education cases
and also serve as a hearing officer while still continuing to represent
parents and children in special education cases before other hearing
LE Op. 847 is dispositive of your inquiry. That opinion states in
pertinent part, "it would be improper for an attorney to represent a
client against a state agency in a lawsuit or administrative hearing where
the attorney is currently serving as part-time hearing officer."
LE Op. 847 also affirmed LE Op. 632, which states, "it is improper
for an attorney on the list of state agency hearing officers maintained by
the executive secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia to represent a
client before a state agency in a proceeding which involves the same
subject matter as that which the attorney considers when serving as a
hearing officer for the said state agency."
Committee Opinion October 12, 1987