Lawyer Discipline

E. M. Wright, Jr., 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 2016, there were approximately 76 random reviews.  Further review is done for specific files if complainants or respondents have questioned the handling of a case, and in FY 2016 there were six 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 are then presented to the Virginia State Bar Council, which decides whether to petition the Supreme Court for adoption of the changes.  In FY 2016, proposed revisions to Paragraph 13-24 were published for comment.  In addition, the Supreme Court of Virginia approved revisions to Paragraph 13-4, 13-11, 13-25 and 13-30, and approved the addition of Paragraph 13.4.  COLD also approved proposed revisions to Section 54.1-3935 of the Code of Virginia.  Those proposed revisions will be published for public comment and submitted to Council and the Supreme Court of Virginia for approval.  If approved, the proposed revisions will be present to the 2017 General Assembly for possible adoption.

The committee is comprised of ten attorneys, two laypersons, and one member of the VSB Disciplinary Board, who serves ex officio.  In FY 2016, the committee met every other month from August through June.  E. M. Wright, Jr., served as chair, and David J. Gogal, served as vice chair.   David A. Gogal chaired the rules subcommittee, and Sandra L. Havrilak 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. The FY 2016 conference was held at Wintergreen on July 9 and 10, 2015. 

Updated: Aug 03, 2016