Special Committee on Access to Legal Services

Renae Reed Patrick, chair

Mission and five-year plan

The Special Committee on Access to Legal Services, under the tutelage of a member-facilitator and appointed subcommittee, revised its mission and developed a proposed five-year plan. After the conclusion of a six-month self-study, a draft document was submitted to Virginia State Bar President Manuel A. Capsalis. Four core objectives were identified for further elaboration in the coming year:

  • Training and collaborating with a variety of entities to foster system-wide development and funding of high-quality, effective legal services in the civil and indigent defense arenas.
  • Promoting the inclusion of qualified, culturally diverse personnel within a faceted and affordable delivery system inclusive of law schools and intergenerational mentoring and learning.
  • Condensing the committee’s activities so that training and other efforts do not compete with other initiatives.
  • Recognizing, in a fashion that maximizes the visibility of the committee’s mission, the individuals and organizations that contribute substantially to its goals.
2009 VSB Pro Bono & Access to Justice Conference

The committee worked with the National Center for Family Law at the University of Richmond to sponsor the Nineteenth Annual VSB Pro Bono & Access to Justice Conference. Held April 20 and 21, 2009, the event included daytime continuing legal education programs, an evening award ceremony at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, and an open house at UR Downtown, where visitors learned about the law school’s new interdisciplinary community outreach efforts.  The conference theme, “Coming Home in Lean Times: Addressing Legal Needs of Warriors and Ex-offenders,” showcased legal ethics in emergency preparedness scenarios and ways advocates can address substantive issues that span the practices of civil and criminal lawyers.

VSB Annual Meeting – special outreach

The committee promoted the second year of the Access to Justice Book & Arts Fair during the 2009 VSB Annual Meeting. The booth in the Lawyers Expo featured Fountain Bookstore from Richmond and Barnes & Noble from Virginia Beach. The access committee suggested titles by Virginia lawyers, works about access to justice, and books about the Constitution, Virginia history, cultural geography, and outdoor adventuring. (The last is consistent with the goals of the newly adopted Mandatory Continuing Legal Education opinion that permits CLE credit for work, life balance and stress reduction content.) We thank the VSB Criminal Law Section for collaborating with us to offer two productive screenings of an award-winning film on the Guantanamo hearings as a prelude to that section’s related CLE offering.

Award recipients selected for formal acknowledgment

The committee honored:

  • Clarence M. Dunnaville Jr. with the Lewis F. Powell Jr. Pro Bono Award for his court-appointed and civil rights work.
  • University of Richmond graduating senior Miriam Sincell with the Oliver White Hill Law Student Pro Bono Award for her work as a child health and street law advocate.
  • Freddie L. Goode with the Virginia Legal Aid Award for his lifetime of successfully litigating on behalf of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income claimants.
  • Pro bono attorney Robert J. Stoney and court-appointed criminal-defense counsel R. Clinton Clary Jr. and David A. Furrow with 2009 Circuit Awards, under a pilot project to recognize extraordinary contributions to the Virginia judicial system. The latter three were to receive certificates of appreciation signed by the Chief Justice of Virginia and the VSB president.
Updated: Aug 27, 2009