Standing Committee on Professionalism

Leslie Weber Hoffman, Chair 2014-2016

            The Standing Committee on Professionalism is charged with responsibility for the administration and ongoing 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, over 36,300 new admittees have taken the course—more than the current number of active Virginia licensed lawyers.

            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, lawyers and members of the judiciary as well, 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 2014-2015 bar year. There were approximately 1,700 attendees at these courses. In addition, there is an all-day faculty training event each Fall for both new and returning members.

            The committee was also privileged to welcome the Honorable B. Waugh Crigler, the Honorable Joel Cunningham, the Honorable Charles E. Poston and Joseph A. Condo as luncheon speakers this year. The participation of our judicial officers, as well as the leadership of our Bar, in the course emphasizes to new lawyers the importance of the Professionalism Couse and the matters addressed to the Virginia State Bar. The committee is grateful for the attendance of the current VSB President, Kevin E. Martingayle, at each of the courses and for his speeches at the plenary sessions.

            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 videotape used during each course has been updated using footage from the original 1988 video and the extensive 2012 update and including new footage of Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons. The video format and length were also updated and video debuted in March 2015.

            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 their committed faculty.

Updated: Jun 25, 2015