Professional Guidelines

An agency of the Supreme Court of Virginia

The Virginia State Bar

Professional Guidelines

13-25 Board Proceedings For Reinstatement

  1. Waiver of Confidentiality. The filing by a former Attorney of a petition for Reinstatement shall constitute a waiver of all confidentiality relating to the petition, and to the Complaint or Complaints that resulted in, or were pending at the time the former Attorney resigned or his or her License was revoked.
  2. Readmission After Resignation. If after resigning from the Bar, a former Attorney wishes to resume practicing law in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the former Attorney must apply to the Board of Bar Examiners, satisfy the character and fitness requirements and pass the Bar examination. Before being readmitted to the Bar, the former Attorney must also satisfy any membership obligations that were delinquent when the former Attorney resigned.
  3. Petition for Reinstatement After Revocation. After a Revocation, a Petitioner may petition this Court for Reinstatement, setting forth in that petition the reasons why his or her License should be reinstated. The following requirements shall apply: the petition shall be filed under oath or affirmation with penalty of perjury; no petition may be filed sooner than five years from the effective date of the Revocation; and the Petitioner must certify in the petition that he or she has met the requirements of the following subparagraph D. This Court may deny the petition or refer it to the Board for recommendation, together with the record before the clerk of this Court. The Board may recommend approval or disapproval of the petition. Final action on the petition shall be taken by this Court.
  4. Evidence Required for Reinstatement After Revocation. After a Revocation, Petitioner’s License shall not be reinstated unless the Petitioner proves by clear and convincing evidence that Petitioner:
    1. Within five years prior to filing the petition has attended 60 hours of continuing legal education, of which at least ten hours shall be in the area of legal ethics or professionalism;
    2. Has taken the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination and received a scaled score of 85 or higher;
    3. Has reimbursed the Bar’s Clients’ Protection Fund for any sums of money it may have paid as a result of Petitioner’s Misconduct;
    4. Has paid the Bar all Costs that have been previously assessed against Petitioner, together with any interest due thereon at the judgment rate;
    5. Has reimbursed the Bar for any sums of money it may have paid as a result of a receivership involving Petitioner's law practice; and
    6. Is a person of honest demeanor and good moral character and possesses the requisite fitness to practice law.
  5. Bond Required for Reinstatement After Revocation. The Petitioner shall post with his or her petition for Reinstatement a $5,000 cash bond for payment of Costs resulting from the Reinstatement Proceedings.
  6. Determination of Costs for Reinstatement After Revocation. At the conclusion of the Reinstatement Proceeding, the Board or the Clerk of the Disciplinary System shall determine the Costs associated with such proceeding and submit that determination to the clerk of this Court as part of the Board’s findings of fact.
  7. Additional Requirements After Approval of Petition. Upon approval of a petition by this Court, the Petitioner shall meet the following requirements prior to and as a condition of his or her Reinstatement:
    1. Pay to the Bar any Costs assessed in connection with the Reinstatement Proceeding;
    2. Take and pass the written portion of the Virginia State Bar examination;
    3. If required by the Board, obtain and maintain a professional liability insurance policy issued by a company authorized to write such insurance in Virginia at the cost of the Petitioner in an amount and for such term as set by the Board; and
    4. If required by the Board, obtain and maintain a blanket fidelity bond or dishonesty insurance policy issued by a company authorized to write such bonds or insurance in Virginia at the Petitioner’s cost in an amount and for such term as set by the Board.
  8. Reinstatement After Disciplinary Suspension for More than One Year. After a Suspension for more than one year, the License of the Attorney subject to the Suspension shall not be reinstated unless the Attorney demonstrates to the Board that he or she has:
    1. Attended 12 hours of continuing legal education, of which at least two hours shall be in the area of legal ethics or professionalism, for every year or fraction thereof of the Suspension;
    2. Taken the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination since imposition of discipline and received a scaled score of 85 or higher;
    3. Reimbursed the Bar’s Clients’ Protection Fund for any sums of money it may have paid as a result of the Attorney’s Misconduct;
    4. Paid to the Bar all Costs that have been assessed against him or her, together with any interest due thereon at the judgment rate at the time the Costs are paid; and
    5. Reimbursed the Bar for any sums of money it may have paid as a result of a receivership involving Petitioner's law practice.
  9. Investigation of Impairment in Reinstatement Matters. Upon receipt of notice or evidence that an individual seeking Reinstatement has or may have an Impairment, Bar Counsel shall cause an Investigation to be made to determine whether there is reason to believe that the Impairment exists. As part of the Investigation of whether an Impairment exists, and for good cause shown in the interest of public protection, Bar Counsel may petition the Board to order the individual:
    1. To undergo at his or her expense a psychiatric, physical or other medical examination by a qualified physician or other health care provider selected by the Board; and
    2. To provide appropriate releases to health care providers authorizing the release of his or her psychiatric, physical or other medical records to Bar Counsel and the Board for purposes of the Investigation and any subsequent Reinstatement Proceedings.
    3. The Board shall hold a hearing to determine whether such examination(s) and releases(s) are appropriate, upon notice to the individual petitioning for Reinstatement.
  10. Reinstatement Hearings. The Clerk of the Disciplinary System shall advise the Petitioner in writing upon receipt of a petition for Reinstatement from the clerk of this Court and arrange a hearing date with the Petitioner and Bar Counsel.
    1. Quorum. A quorum shall be five members of the Board.
    2. Powers of the Board in Reinstatement Cases. The Board is empowered to hold a hearing and make its recommendation to this Court either to approve or disapprove the petition.
    3. Hearing Date. The date of the hearing shall be determined by the Chair. Upon the scheduling of a hearing date, the Clerk of the Disciplinary System shall file six copies of the available transcript, exhibits, pleadings, and orders from the original Disciplinary Proceeding.
    4. Investigation. Bar Counsel shall conduct such Investigation and make such inquiry as it deems appropriate. On request of Bar Counsel, the Petitioner shall promptly sign such forms and give such permission as are necessary to permit inquiry of the Petitioner’s background through the Internal Revenue Service, the National Criminal Information Center, the National Criminal Information Network and any other similar information network or system.
    5. Notice. Reasonable notice of filing of the petition and the date of the hearing shall be mailed by the Clerk of the Disciplinary System to all members of the Bar of the circuit in the jurisdictions in which the Petitioner resided, and of the circuit in which the Petitioner maintained a principal office, at the time of the Revocation or Suspension. The Clerk of the Disciplinary System shall also mail the notice to the members of the District Committee who heard the original Complaint, to members of the Board who heard the original Complaint, to the members of the District Committee for the judicial circuit in which the Petitioner currently resides, to the complaining witness or witnesses on all Complaints pending against the Petitioner before the Board, a District Committee or a court at the date of the Revocation or Suspension and to such other individuals as the Clerk of the Disciplinary System deems appropriate. The Clerk of the Disciplinary System shall publish a synopsis of the petition in the Virginia Lawyer Register and in a newspaper of general circulation in the judicial circuit where the Petitioner currently resides and where the Petitioner maintained a principal office at the time of the Revocation or Suspension. The entire petition and exhibits together with the documents referred to in subparagraph 13-25.D. above, shall be available for inspection and copying by interested persons at the office of the Bar on reasonable notice and on payment of costs incurred to make the copies.
    6. Bill of Particulars. On written request by Bar Counsel, served by certified mail, return receipt requested, a Petitioner seeking Reinstatement shall file with the Clerk of the Disciplinary System within 21 days after service of the request, an original and six copies of a bill of particulars setting forth the grounds for Reinstatement.
    7. Hearing. On the date set for the hearing, the Petitioner shall have the right to representation by counsel, to examine and cross-examine witnesses and to present evidence. The testimony and other incidents of the hearing shall be transcribed and preserved, together with all exhibits (or copies thereof) received into evidence or refused. Bar Counsel shall appear and represent the Commonwealth and its citizens. Bar Counsel shall have the right to cross-examine, call witnesses and present evidence in opposition to the petition. Board members may examine witnesses called by either party. Legal advice to the Board, if required, shall be rendered by the Office of the Attorney General.
    8. Factors to be Considered. In considering the matter prior to making a recommendation to this Court the Board may consider, but is not bound by, the factors spelled out In the Matter of Alfred Lee Hiss, VSB Docket No. 83-26 (Va. Sup. Ct. July 2, 1984).
    9. Character Witnesses. Up to five character witnesses supporting and up to five character witnesses opposing the petition shall be heard. In addition, the Board may consider any letters submitted regarding the Petitioner’s character and fitness.
    10. Determination by the Board. The Board shall, within 60 days after the receipt of the transcript, forward the record and its recommendations to this Court with a copy to the Petitioner and Bar Counsel. A recommendation of approval may be conditioned upon Petitioner obtaining malpractice insurance coverage and/or a blanket fidelity bond or dishonesty insurance coverage in amount(s) set by the Board from an approved professional insurance carrier for a definite term or on an ongoing basis.

Updated: April 4, 2014