There are approximately 132 local and specialty bar associations in Virginia. Any local or specialty bar is welcome to join the CLBA.
Purposes of the CLBA:
1) Establish and maintain a mutually beneficial working relationship between the Virginia State Bar and local and specialty bar associations in Virginia.
2) Continue to build lines of communication between the VSB and the local and specialty bars, receive input from local and specialty bars on issues affecting the legal profession and disseminate information about the VSB's activities and policies.
3) Encourage coordination and cooperation between the VSB and local and specialty bars to improve the practice of law in Virginia and to enhance the public understanding and appreciation of law and the legal profession.
4) Present a high quality educational program for local and specialty bar leaders to facilitate management of associations and to provide a forum for the exchange of information and ideas about programs and policies.
Activities of the CLBA:
1) Bar Leadership Institute (BLI)
A one-day training and networking session is held every March to help new local and specialty bar officers plan and manage their year of bar leadership. The BLI is open to bar presidents, officers, and any interested board or committee members as well as to those who aspire to become a bar leader.
2) Solo & Small-Firm Practitioner Forum
The CLBA is the home for the Solo & Small-Firm Practitioner Forum, initiated by the Supreme Court of Virginia. The program is geared to the specific needs of solo & small-firm attorneys. Previous program subjects have included ethical issues crucial to solo and small firms, law office management, technology and trust accounting, and protecting clients in the event of the attorney’s death or disability. Each forum concludes with a town hall meeting led by a justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia.
Awards of Merit provides recognition for outstanding projects and programs of bar associations, to give all bars the opportunity to learn from the programs of other bars and to inform the public about some of the excellent work conducted by local and specialty bars. Projects are judged according to the size of the bar association.
- The Local Bar Leader of the Year Award recognizes past and presently active leaders of local bar associations who have continued to offer important service to the bench, bar and public.
- The Specialty Bar Leader of the Year recognizes past and presently active leaders of specialty bar associations who have continued to offer important service to the bench, bar, and public.
- The Bar Association of the Year Award is presented to a bar association that demonstrates the impact it has made upon the legal community and community at large, regardless of the size of that bar association
4) Information Database
The coordinator of the Conference of Local Bar Associations maintains a database of all local and specialty bar associations in Virginia. The database contains officers, demographics, projects, and committees of all bar associations.
5) On Site Visits
Members of the CLBA executive committee and VSB staff are available for technical assistance or presentations to any local or specialty bar.
The Role of the Conference Representative
Each local or specialty bar association that is a member of the CLBA elects a CLBA representative to serve a three-year term. If no representative is chosen, the current bar president is automatically designated as CLBA representative for a three-year term. The CLBA representative develops and maintains communication between the local and specialty bar and the VSB. The CLBA representative serves the conference by:
- maintaining contact with VSB Council, VSB staff and CLBA Executive Committee;
- informing members of the resources that the VSB offers to local bars;
- serving as a catalyst for bench/bar relations or community service projects;
- attending the annual Bar Leaders Institute and the Bar Leaders Breakfast; and
- promoting local and specialty bar activities in the Awards of Merit competition.
The CLBA Executive Committee
The CLBA Executive Committee is selected from among the CLBA representatives and is elected at the VSB Annual Meeting. As a member of the VSB Council, the conference chair provides a strong voice for local and specialty bar associations.