Education of Lawyers in Virginia Section

Professor Henry L. Chambers Jr., chair

Among the purposes of the Section on the Education of Lawyers are:

  • To provide a vehicle for continuing dialogue and communication on legal education issues among the academic community, the judiciary, and the practicing bar in Virginia.
  • To sponsor projects of special interest and relevance regarding the education and training of lawyers from their entry into law school and throughout their careers.
  • To conduct programs, publish and distribute educational and professional materials, and undertake other activities that enhance cooperation and interaction among law schools, the bench, and the practicing bar.

The section pursued those purposes during fiscal year ending 2009 through a newsletter, professionalism programs at Virginia’s law schools, a cosponsored continuing legal education seminar at the Virginia State Bar Annual Meeting, and the preparation of a five-year plan of goals and objectives.

Associate Professor James M. Boland of Regent University School of Law continued as editor of the section’s newsletter. The section published two issues this year. The Fall 2008 issue focused on curriculum reform, with the lead article focusing on Washington and Lee University School of Law’s innovative third-year program. The spring 2009 issue focused on the effect of the economy on law student employment prospects. The newsletter also contained various topical articles and information regarding events at Virginia’s law schools. The section has begun the process of providing future newsletters in electronic form through the section’s Web page on the VSB website. Professor Boland will continue as newsletter editor during the upcoming year.

The Professionalism Program for Law Students, developed by the education section and the VSB Standing Committee on Professionalism, was offered to first-year students at each of Virginia’s accredited law schools. The sessions were well-attended and student evaluations were very positive. William E. Glover and U.S. Magistrate Judge B. Waugh Crigler co-chaired this project.

The section co-sponsored a continuing legal education program with the Virginia ADR Joint Committee at the VSB annual meeting in Virginia Beach, on June 19, 2009. The program, “Well Tailored ADR: Getting Your Client the Right Fit Is a Matter of Ethics,” was presented by a panel consisting of Lawrence H. Hoover Jr., Charles V. McPhillips, John H. OBrion Jr., and Charles F. Witthoefft.

The section produced a five-year plan as requested of all sections by VSB President Manuel A. Capsalis. The plan focuses on determining whether and how the section will continue to fulfill its mission. A large part of the plan is the assessment of the state of education of lawyers in Virginia. To that end, the plan notes:

Over the next four years, the [section] will review the current state of the education of law students, the examination of candidates for the bar, the accession of new lawyers into the profession, the basic training of those new lawyers during the first five years of practice, and their accumulation of knowledge, [skills, and abilities as they progress through the profession. In the fifth year, the Section of Education of Lawyers] will summarize its findings and make recommendations to the Virginia State Bar for any improvements that it deems could be beneficial to the profession.

The development of the plan was chaired by Jeffrey M. Summers.

Outgoing chair Henry L. Chambers Jr. served as chair of the section’s nominating committee. Committee members included Professor Margaret I. Bacigal, Cynthia E. Hudson, Gregory T. St. Ours, and Judge Winship C. Tower.

Officers for the 2009-10 are Lawrence H. Hoover Jr., chair; Professor. A. Benjamin Spencer, vice chair; and Anita O. Poston, secretary. Returning members of the board of governors serving a second term are Judge Teresa M. Chafin, Judge B. Waugh Crigler, and Lisa M. Hicks-Thomas. New board members serving their first term are: Humes J. Franklin III and Amandeep S. Sidhu.

Judge Winship C. Tower completed her final term on the board of governors. The section thanks her for her service.

Updated: Sep 03, 2009