Real Property Section

Randy C. Howard, chair

The officers, board of governors, and area representatives of the Real Property Section (RPS) convened six times during fiscal 2008-09 to conduct business and address issues of concern. Group meetings were held September 19, 2008, at the Virginia CLE office in Charlottesville; January 23, 2009, at the College of William & Mary School of Law in Williamsburg; February 27, 2009, in conjunction with the Thirteenth Annual Advanced Real Estate Seminar at the Kingsmill Resort & Conference Center in Williamsburg; and June 19, 2009, at the Holiday Inn SunSpree in Virginia Beach in conjunction with the Virginia State Bar Annual Meeting. Two telephone conference meetings were conducted July 10, 2008, to discuss the Supreme Court of Virginia’s March 2008 instructions regarding Web posting of results of disciplinary proceedings, and May 1, 2009, to discuss a five-year plan for the section. Additionally, the 2008-09 officers and others assembled on February 27, 2009, in advance of the regular section meeting and in accordance with the Standing Bylaws of RPS as Amended, for the purpose of developing a proposed slate of candidates to serve as officers and board members for fiscal 2009-10.

During the course of the year, the section actively participated in Virginia CLE seminar program events, including the Thirteenth Annual Advanced Real Estate Seminar, the Twenty-seventh Annual Real Estate Practice Seminar and, in concert with the Bankruptcy Law Section, a continuing legal education program, “Real Estate and Bankruptcy: The Current State of Affairs,” companion to the summer meeting. Other educational initiatives included publication of the November 2008 and May 2009 editions of the section newsletter, Fee Simple (Volume XXIX, Number 1 & 2, respectively), in conjunction with the College of William and Mary School of Law.

Incident to the first teleconference meeting, the section established a position endorsing a policy of transparency associated with the disciplinary process of the Virginia State Bar — a position in support of the platform initially voiced on behalf of VSB by its then-President Howard W. Martin Jr. The section felt transparency is in the best interest of the section, members of the bar, and, most importantly, the citizens of Virginia.

Also of significance during 2008-09 were development of the strategic five-year plan for the section and issuance of a section endorsement that supports the proposition summarized by the American Bar Association’s “Supplementary Statement of the Task Force on Real Property Law Curriculum” as published on November 8, 2008.

All regular meetings were publicized and open to all. The group has been fortunate to have the benefit of eager and diverse input from its broad constituency at meetings, as well as through frequent e-mail submissions for comments by its members. Appreciating that the key to success rests in active participation, an ambitious project was completed during 2008-009 in the publication of a Board and Area Representative Handbook that describes the structure of RPS, the roles of its membership, and encouragement for the active participation of all real estate practitioners. The document was drafted by Joseph M. Cochran, 2009-10 RPS chair, and Larry J. McElwain, a former RPS chair. To further promote the continuity of the section, a series of statewide town hall meetings are being conducted by Mr. Cochran in an effort to meaningfully spread the constituency over the entire state.

A last note as to a significant point of achievement: Charles “Chuck” M. Lollar, a former RPS Chair, was instrumental in establishment of the eminent domain substantive subcommittee of RPS. Over the course of 2008-09, the subcommittee grew to become the largest subcommittee, and, due to the efforts of Mr. Lollar, it presents a new focus and source of camaderie for the section.

The following were elected officers for fiscal 2009-10: Joseph M. Cochran, chair; Paul A. Bellegarde, vice chair; and Paul Melnick, secretary-treasurer.

Both Mr. Cochran and Mr. Bellgarde served selflessly and with distinction during the 2008-09 term for which I was chair. The section continues in capable and strong hands with its new officers.

Updated: Sep 01, 2009