Professionalism

Leslie Weber Hoffman, Chair

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 39,000 new admittees have taken the course—significantly more than the current number of active Virginia licensed lawyers.

            The course faculty is comprised 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, voted and approved by the Standing Committee on Professionalism, and invited by the Chief Justice to accept appointment for a three-year term.

            The course was offered a total of eight times during the 2016-2017 bar year as follows: three times in Northern Virginia, twice Richmond, and once in Roanoke, Chesapeake and Charlottesville .  There were approximately 1,291 attendees at these courses.  The committee noted the decline in attendance and presumes that was due to lower enrollment in law school.  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 Jeri K. Somers, the Honorable Lawrence Leonad, the Honorable Charles E. Poston, the Honorable Robert Ballou 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 .  The committee is grateful for the attendance of the current VSB President, Michael W. Robinson, 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,  as the committee chair, I  review course evaluations and strive to update the course agenda and format.  Our faculty and committee member, Elizabeth Chupik, has spearheaded a subcommittee to update the hypotheticals used in the course workshops.  Work is ongoing in the hope of publishing some of those new fact scenarios in October, 2017.

            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.

It has been my pleasure to serve as chair of this committee for three years.  I am pleased to inform you that the committee approved the Honorable David Lannetti as the new chairperson and that he has accepted and assumed the chairmanship.

Respectfully submitted,

Leslie Weber Hoffman

Updated: Aug 15, 2017