Standing Committee on Professionalism

by Steven W. Ray, chair, and Leslie Weber Hoffman, incoming chair

The Standing Committee on Professionalism is charged with responsibility for the administration and oversight of the Mandatory course on Professionalism, which is required of all newly admitted active members of the Virginia State Bar.  The purpose of the course is to encourage 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 34,000 new admittees have taken the course—more than the current active participating bar in Virginia.

         The course faculty is composed of distinguished lawyers and judges representing a broad cross-section of the legal profession in Virginia.  Faculty members are nominated by their peers and invited by the Chief Justice to accept appointment for a three-year term.

         The course was offered a total of eight times in Northern Virginia, Richmond, Roanoke, Chesapeake, and Charlottesville during the 2013-2014 bar year.  There were approximately 1,500 attendees at these courses.

         The committee was also privileged to welcome the Honorable B. Waugh Crigler, the Honorable David Novak, the Honorable Mark C. Simmons, and the Honorable Charles E. Poston as luncheon speakers this year.  The involvement of our judicial officers, as well as the leadership of our bar, emphasizes to new lawyers the bar’s seriousness in regarding the issue of professionalism.  The committee is grateful for the attendance of VSB president, Sharon D. Nelson, at each of the courses.

         The committee continues to oversee the administrative functions of the course including faculty selection, course material update and faculty training activities.  Also, the committee reviews the course evaluations and strives to update the course agenda and format.  The committee is happy to report that the opening video tape used during each course has been updated using footage from the original 1988 video and the extensive 2002 update and including new footage of Chief Justice Kinser.  The video format and length were also updated and the new opening will debut in July, 2014.

         Finally, the committee continues to work with the Professionalism for Law Students program co-sponsored by the VSB Section on the Education of Lawyers.  This program has become a fixture at all the Virginia law schools and has been skillfully led by John Bredehoft and Frank Telegadas with the help of the committed faculty.

Updated: Jul 15, 2014