Lawyer Discipline

David J. Gogal, Chair

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 FY 2017, there were approximately 120 random reviews.  Specific files are also reviewed if complainants or respondents have questioned the handling of a case, and in FY 2017 there were two such reviews.

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 then presented to the Virginia State Bar Council, which decides whether to petition the Supreme Court for adoption of the changes.  In FY 2017, proposed revisions to Paragraph 13-24 were approved by the Supreme Court of Virginia by order dated December 15, 2016.  COLD also proposed revisions to Section 54.1-3935 of the Code of Virginia concerning procedures for three-judge hearings.  Those revisions were passed by the General Assembly, effective July 1, 2017.

The committee is comprised of ten attorneys, two laypersons, and one member of the VSB Disciplinary Board, who serves ex officio.  In FY 2017, the committee met every other month from August through June.  David J. Gogal, served as chair of COLD and the rules subcommittee, and Beverly P. Leatherbury, served as vice chair of COLD and chair of 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. The FY 2017 conference was held at Wintergreen Resort on July 27 and 28, 2017.  Attendees included 155 members of district committees, the Disciplinary Board and COLD.

Updated: Aug 21, 2017