Standing Committee on Professionalism

Charles M. Allen, chair

The Standing Committee on Professionalism is responsible for the administration and ongoing oversight of the Virginia State Bar Harry L. Carrico Professionalism Course, required for newly admitted active members of the VSB.  The course encourages attorneys to uphold and elevate the standards of honor, integrity, and courtesy in the legal profession.  Since institution of the program in 1988, more than twenty-four thousand new admittees have taken the course – more than 80 per cent of the current practicing bar in Virginia. 

The course faculty is composed of distinguished lawyers and judges who represent a broad cross section of the legal profession in Virginia.  Faculty members are nominated by their peers and invited by Chief Justice Leroy R. Hassell Sr. to accept three-year appointments.  In fiscal 2008-09, the course was offered eight times; locations included Northern Virginia, Richmond, Roanoke, Newport News, and Charlottesville.  More than 1,500 new bar admittees attended these courses. 

The Supreme Court and members of the state and federal judiciary continue enthusiastically to support the course.  Chief Justice Hassell, Justice Donald W. Lemons, U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee, and Circuit Court Judge Charles E. Poston provided luncheon addresses during course meetings. VBS President Manual A. Capsalis frequently provided the opening address.  The participation of these distinguished members of the judiciary and bar leaders tangibly demonstrates the VBS’s commitment to professionalism. 

The committee oversees faculty selection, course material updates, and faculty training activities.  Additionally, the committee reviews course evaluations and works to keep course content current and relevant.  An ongoing project of the committee is to update course material to teach the newly adopted Principles of Professionalism for Virginia Lawyers.

Finally, the committee continues to work with the Professionalism for Law Students program, which is cosponsored by the VBS Education of Lawyers Section. 

Updated: Aug 27, 2009