The Law of Defamation in Virginia

Publication Date: 2015
Available Formats: Currently available as a downloadable chapter from
The Virginia Lawyer: A Deskbook for Practitioners
Product #: 878


Content Highlights:
  • The Communication
  • Fact Versus Opinion
  • Defamatory Meaning
  • Truth and Falsity
  • Defamation by Implication/Per Se
  • Work-Related Defamation
  • Statute of Limitations
  • Privilege
  • Fault
  • Imputed Liability
  • Damages
  • Litigation
  • Appeals
  • Practical Considerations

This information included in this title is currently being offered as a downloadable chapter from 2015 Edition of The Virginia Lawyer: A Deskbook for Practitioners. Visit the Virginia Lawyer product page for a detailed table of contents and to order.

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The Virginia Lawyer: A Deskbook for Practitioners


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Thomas E. Spahn

Thomas E. Spahn has practiced law as a commercial litigator with McGuireWoods since graduating magna cum laude from Yale University and receiving his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1977. He regularly advises a number of Fortune 500 companies on issues involving ethics, conflicts of interest, the attorney-client privilege, and corporate investigations.

Mr. Spahn has received the Virginia Law Foundation’s highest award for Continuing Legal Education efforts; a special commendation from the Virginia State Bar “in recognition of his outstanding service to the Bar”; and the Virginia Bar Association’s William B. Spong, Jr. Professionalism Award and Walker Award of Merit. He is a Member of the American Law Institute and a Fellow of both the American Bar Foundation and Virginia Law Foundation. He was also selected as the 2013 metro-Washington DC “Lawyer of the Year” for “Bet the Company Litigation” by The Best Lawyers in America (Woodward/White, Inc.).

In addition to authoring this book and The Attorney-Client Priviledge and the Work Product Doctrine: A Practitioner's Guide for Virginia CLE, Mr. Spahn contributes chapters to several other Virginia CLE handbooks as well. He has also published a book on ethics issues facing Virginia in-house lawyers and written over 75 articles that have appeared in both Virginia and national publications. The ABA’s General Practice Section chose his article on Litigation Ethics in the Modern Age as one of the “Best Articles Published by the ABA” in 2004.

Since 1988, Mr. Spahn has spoken at more than 1,000 CLE programs throughout the United States and in several foreign countries. In March 2009, he was invited to Reykjavik, Iceland, to discuss an ethics issue on Iceland’s leading news and interview show. In July 2012, he was invited to Erbil, Iraq, to participate in a panel assisting the Kurdistan Bar Association in establishing ethics rules. Mr. Spahn has served on the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility; on the Virginia State Bar Standing Committee on Legal Ethics; as the Reporter for the Committee that drafted Virginia’s ethics Rules; as Chairman of The Virginia Bar Association’s Professionalism Task Force and Commission on Professionalism; on the Committee that revised Virginia’s lawyer discipline rules; on the faculty for the Professionalism Course that all new Virginia lawyers attend; and on the Virginia Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee. After personally reading, summarizing, and categorizing over 1,600 Virginia Bar Legal Ethics Opinions, Mr. Spahn made his work available to the public online through his bio page on the McGuireWoods website.


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