Committee on Lawyer Discipline

J. Tracy Walker IV and Stephen Haiden Ratliff, co-chairs

The Standing Committee on Lawyer Discipline oversees the attorney disciplinary process, including the bar’s investigation and prosecution of complaints. Members of COLD are assigned to monitor the progress of investigations and prosecutions in each of the district disciplinary committees through interactions and discussions with VSB counsel and committee chairs. In addition, the oversight subcommittee randomly reviews case files to ensure that VSB counsel handled them in a procedurally correct manner.  In fiscal year 2013, there were 108 random reviews.  Further review is done of specific files where complainants or respondents have questioned the handling of a case.

COLD also formulates and presents proposed amendments to Part Six, Section IV, Paragraph 13 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, which govern the disciplinary process. Proposed amendments are published for comment and are then presented to the Virginia State Bar Council, which decides whether to petition the Supreme Court for adoption of the change.

The committee is composed of ten attorneys, two laypersons, and one member of the VSB Disciplinary Board, who serves ex-officio. The committee meets monthly from September to June.  For the year beginning July 1, 2012, John Tracy Walker IV, and Stephen Haiden Ratliff served as co-chairs of COLD.  Roscoe B. Stephenson III served as vice chair, J. Wayne Sprinkle chaired the rules subcommittee, and Chidi I. James chaired the oversight subcommittee.

COLD hosts an annual Disciplinary Conference which is attended by attorney and lay members of the district committees, the disciplinary board, COLD members, and judges who sit on three-judge circuit court panels that hear disciplinary matters. The programs at the conference are designed to provide education and updates on the disciplinary process to the volunteers serving in the disciplinary system. This year the conference was held at Boar’s Head Inn on July 11 and 12, 2013, with a record high number in attendance. 

Updated: Sep 19, 2013