Special Committee on Communications

Elizabeth A. Andrews, chair

Video Project

The Communications Department produced nineteen videos, written and recorded in English and translated into Spanish, during the year. They are housed on YouTube and available through the VSB website. They are: Virginia Lawyer Referral Service; Senior Citizens Handbook; So You’re 18; Fee Disputes; Clients’ Protection Fund; Marriage; Divorce; Filing an Inquiry; Wills; Selecting a Lawyer; Bankruptcy; Lawyers Helping Lawyers; Intellectual Property; Guide to Lawyer Discipline; About the Bar; Opening Your First Office; Helping the Public; Minors, Alcohol and the Law; and Immigration Fraud (redone after a change in law.)

Law in Society Essay Contest

For this year’s annual high school essay contest, twenty-four judges, including members of the committee, judged 201 essays that were submitted in accordance with the rules. This reflected a good level of participation by high school students across the commonwealth. Timothy Park, a freshman at Trinity Christian School in Fairfax, was awarded first place. This year’s essay contest asked students to address a situation where an 18-year-old male student was filmed drinking at a party. An older student recorded the scene on video, e-mailed it to the younger student’s school principal, and posted the video and pictures to social media websites. The student was then suspended from school based on the information seen on the websites.

Publication of Virginia Lawyer and Virginia Lawyer Register

The Communications Department made changes to improve the quality of the magazine and broaden the appeal of the content. The number of pre-determined articles on a single focus – such as construction law, or international practice, or criminal law – has been reduced from a norm of about four to two or three. This opened up space for more articles of general interest. Recent issues, for example, have included articles on “The Laws of Physics and the Physics of Law,” Pilgrimage to the D-Day Beaches,” and “The Oldest Lawyer in Town.” We also began using full color throughout the magazine.

As a cost-saving measure, beginning with the July 2014 issue, the Register will be incorporated into the magazine. At the same time, in an effort to deliver the Register information on disciplinary actions, rule changes, and legal ethics opinions to members in a timely manner, we have increased the number of magazines from five a year to six.

VSB Membership Survey

At the urging of President Sharon D. Nelson, a membership survey was administered electronically beginning in February 2014. Responses were received from more than 6,000 members, which is a relatively high rate of return for such surveys. A summary of the highlights from the survey were posted online and made available to all VSB members. The committee discussed ways to use the information gleaned from the survey to improve the VSB’s communications with members.

Membership

Elizabeth A. Andrews, chair; Mary L.C. Daniel, vice-chair; Kristin B. Burch, Alan H. Cooper, Kelly C. Cutler, David A. Hirsch, Patrick B. McDermott, Michael A. Nicholas, Keith D. Parsons, Robert M. Tyler, Joseph F. Verser, and Reiss F. Wilks. Bar liaison, Gordon Hickey.

Updated: Jul 01, 2014