Conference News and Information
December 15, 2009
Voluntary Bar Associations Win VSB Awards
Local and specialty bar associations across Virginia have been recognized by the Virginia State Bar’s Conference of Local Bar Associations for programs that serve the bench, the bar, and the people of Virginia. The recipients and programs are:
The Alexandria Bar Association – Award of Merit
The association’s 80th Birthday Celebration was held in November 2008. Almost 350 past and present members attended the event, held at the Alexandria courthouse. City archeologists presented artifacts unearthed when the present courthouse was constructed in 1977. News clippings and other memorabilia of the association’s history were on display. And 60 judges and former judges were honored.
Alleghany-Bath-Highland Bar Association – Certificate of Achievement
A So You’re 18 Panel Discussion was sponsored by the association to educate young adults about the rights and responsibilities they incur when they turn 18. The panel included a local sheriff, a representative of a police department, a general district court judge, and three lawyers. Covington attorney William T. Wilson moderated the program. The bar association provided the program as a blueprint that can be used by other bar associations statewide. The So You’re 18 booklet is published by the Virginia State Bar.
Fredericksburg Area Bar Association – Three Certificates of Achievement
The association sponsored several projects in 2008. Those receiving certifi-cates are:
• A Bar Lunch-N-Learn Series that provided free continuing legal education to local attorneys throughout 2008. The sessions were taught by volunteers from the association. The first year was successful, and the program is scheduled to continue through 2010.
• A seminar on Collecting Homeowners Dues in the Small-Claims Court. The class addressed a problem that has grown during economic downturn: More homeowners are delinquent paying their assessments, and many property owners’ associations do not have resources to pay lawyers or management companies to handle collections. Representatives of property owners’ associations who attended have reported success in obtaining judgments in general district court.
• Indigent Defense Commission Training for lawyers who want to be certified to take court-appointed criminal representations. The association arranged for the training to be provided locally by the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission.
Henrico County Bar Association – Certificate of Achievement
The association’s First Annual Professionalism Program to introduce the state’s new Principles of Professionalism to sixty attorneys and students from the University of Richmond School of Law was held on April 30, 2009. The association also had the principles matted and framed for display in the county’s two court buildings. Attorneys received continuing legal education credit for the program. The Principles of Professionalism are an aspirational code of behavior for lawyers that was developed by The Virginia Bar Association’s Commission on Professionalism and endorsed by the Supreme Court of Virginia.
Loudoun Chapter of the Virginia Women Attorneys Association – Award of Merit
The chapter’s invitation-only Adoption Day Ceremony took place in November 2008 at the county courthouse, and their Adoption Day Fair was a public event in February 2009 at the Dulles Town Center Mall. The ceremony, presided over by Loudoun Circuit Judge Thomas D. Horne, celebrated families that have been brought together by adoption. The fair offered information to overcome perceptions that adoption is not possible, too expensive, or too time-consuming. The bar association chapter published an informational pamphlet for distribution at the fair.
Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association – Award of Merit
Through the association’s Partnership with Safe Harbor, a shelter for women who face domestic violence. members donated goods and more than $2,500 to the shelter. The shelter’s director of development, a domestic violence prosecutor, and two domestic violence survivors spoke at an association luncheon.
Norfolk & Portsmouth Bar Association – Award of Merit
The association’s community forum, The Triumph of the Rule of Law Over Massive Resistance, took place in January 2009. Juan Williams, a broadcast news commentator and author of books on the civil rights movement, hosted a panel made up of Virginia Chief Justice Leroy R. Hassell Sr.; Davison M. Douglas, dean of the School of Law at the College of William and Mary; and Charles H. Ford, head of the history department at Norfolk State University.
The Prince William County Bar Association, Inc. – Two Certificates of Achievement
Two programs sponsored in the past year by the association:
• A Modest Means Program to provide reduced-fee legal services for civil matters to residents of Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. The program was designed to help people with income too high to qualify for legal aid, but too low to afford hiring an attorney. The association’s pro bono committee undertook the project with Northern Virginia Legal Services and Potomac Legal Aid Society. The association charges $35 to refer clients to participating lawyers for a half-hour consultation. The fee offsets the cost of running the program. As of December 2008, 11 attorneys had agreed to participate. The program is prepared to handle about 20 referrals per month.
• A Hanging Out a Shingle Program to help lawyers who are opening their first office, or solo and small-firm practitioners who are looking for new information.
Richmond Chapter of the Virginia Women Attorneys Association – Certificate of Achievement
A Public Service Summer Stipend Award and Law Day Activities sponsored by the association provided a $1,500 stipend support for a University of Richmond law student who committed a summer to public service. The Law Day program emphasized adherence to the rule of law and provided a relaxed networking environment for participants.
Roanoke Bar Association – Award of Merit
The association’s Rule of Law Project is a program developed for seventh and eighth graders. Through the program, volunteer lawyers go into classrooms to teach the importance of law to American society. Funded in part by a grant from the Virginia Law Foundation, the project includes materials for teaching. The program was envisioned by former association president G. Michael Pace Jr.
The Alexandria Bar Association, Arlington County Bar Association, Fairfax Bar Association and The Prince William County Bar Association, Inc. – Award of Merit
The collaborative production of the 2009 NOVA Bar Directory, includes names and photographs of members of the Alexandria, Arlington County, Fairfax, and Prince William County bar associations. The directory is available to association members and the public.