There are twenty sections of the Virginia State Bar. Each is a separate group devoted to improving the practice of law in a particular substantive area or specialty practice. The sections operate under bylaws and policies approved by the Virginia State Bar Council. They elect their own officers and choose their own activities within the limits established by the Council. Section membership is open to all members in good standing of the Virginia State Bar. Many sections also have law student and associate memberships. The sections are supported by dues which range from $10 to $35.

Section Registration Form (pdf*)

2016–17 Chairs Handbook

Section Annual Reports

Section Membership Statistics (pdf updated after the first of each month)*


Administrative Law

Organized in 1979
The Administrative Law Section is comprised of attorneys with interests and practices involving administrative law and regulated industries. In addition to other continuing legal education opportunities, the section cosponsors a National Regulatory Conference annually with the State Corporation Commission and the Marshall-Wythe Law School, publishes the Administrative Law Newsletter and assists with periodic revisions of the Virginia Administrative Law Practice Handbook.

Antitrust, Franchise & Trade Regulation

Organized in 1977
The Antitrust, Franchise and Trade Regulation Section provides a means to communicate information about antitrust, franchise and trade regulation law to all members of the bar. Members of the section are informed about current developments in this area through the Antitrust, Franchise and Trade Regulation Newsletter, published several times a year. In addition, the section also sponsors continuing legal education programs for its members during the year.

Bankruptcy Law

Organized in 1990
The Bankruptcy Law Section strives to improve the quality of bankruptcy law practice across the state by publishing a scholarly newsletter, conducting and participating in continuing legal education programs and interacting with the bankruptcy judges, assistant United States trustees and clerks of court. The section provides a forum for the exchange of ideas among attorneys involved in a bankruptcy law practice, including those who represent debtors, creditors and trustees.

Business Law

Organized in 1955
Established in 1955, the Business Law Section is one of the oldest and largest practice sections of the Virginia State Bar (“VSB”). Our active members range from solo and small firm to large multi-national law firm practitioners, as well as in-house counsel. Judicial and Student membership classes are also important section constituencies. The practice areas of our section membership runs the gamut from general business to niche specialists, many of whom are also members of other practice sections within the VSB focused specifically on their fields, such as the Antitrust, International, Intellectual Property, and Litigation Sections to name just a few. This section thus has the unique opportunity to both facilitate understanding and synergies among these diverse fields of expertise as well as to draw from a wide range of talent in planning and delivering tools to increase the knowledge and effectiveness of our members. Known for our excellent continuing legal education programs and publications, we are particularly proud of the exemplary reputation of the Annual Advanced Business Law Conference, (celebrating its 43rd iteration in 2015), and our tradition of collaborating with other practice sections to maximize the quality and effectiveness of that conference and our other section initiatives. The section is managed by a Board of Governors appointed by active section members at the annual section meeting.

Construction Law & Public Contracts

Organized in 1979
The Construction Law & Public Contracts Section provides a forum for its members to share research and ideas related to construction contracting and litigation. It conducts yearly seminars, including its autumn seminar in Charlottesville, which fulfills the complete annual requirement for Virginia CLE credit. Section members receive a discounted registration fee for the fall seminar, the section's Construction Law Newsletter, and the Construction Law and Public Contracts Reference Manual containing case summaries, statutes, and ALR annotations.

Corporate Counsel

Organized in 1989
The role of the Corporate Counsel Section is to protect and further the interests of Bar members who are corporate counsel. Since its inception, the section has offered its steadily-increasing membership a forum for expressing issues of unique concern to in-house lawyers. Bar members contribute articles to the Corporate Counsel News, the section's newsletter, which is published several times each year to announce developments in corporate law and to share remedies for any variety of matters that challenge the smooth operation of a corporation. To promote networking among the members across the state, the section sponsors regional luncheons in May and an annual membership directory. The Corporate Counsel Section supports the Commission on Women and Minorities, sponsors an annual writing competition among students of Virginia law schools, and traditionally offers a continuing legal education workshop at the Virginia State Bar Annual Meeting.

Criminal Law

Organized in 1967
As one of the largest sections, the Section on Criminal Law broadly represents prosecutors, defense counsel, trial judges and academics concerned with the criminal justice system in the Commonwealth. It also has one of the most active continuing legal education programs. For the past 30 years, the section has held its annual Criminal Law Seminar in February in two locations in the state. Outstanding speakers, including nationally renowned luncheon speakers such as Bobby Lee Cook and Gerry Spence, make this seminar the most highly successful CLE program on criminal law in Virginia. In addition, from time to time the section presents its "Carrico Professionalism Award" to a member of the public or the profession. The section also publishes approximately eight issues a year of the Criminal Law News.

Education of Lawyers

Organized in 1992
This section was formed by uniting the work of the former Committee on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar with the contributions of the two Conclaves on the Education of Lawyers in Virginia. Legal education begins in law school, moves through a period dominated by bar review courses and bar exams, and continues through all stages of a lawyer's professional life. This section, the first of its kind in the country, brings together law deans and professors, members of the judiciary and practicing lawyers in a collaborative effort to improve every phase of legal education in Virginia. The section publishes a quarterly newsletter, Education & Practice. It cosponsors innovative CLE programs in collaboration with the Virginia law schools, such as the well-received offerings on Law and Literature. The section has also undertaken a variety of special projects. Currently, together with the Standing Committee on Professionalism and the Virginia Law Schools, it is developing ways to enhance professionalism for law students.

Environmental Law

Organized in 1978
The Environmental Law Section serves as the primary forum for keeping Virginia State Bar members informed about developments in the environmental law area. The section has published the first edition of the Virginia Environmental Caselaw Compendium--the first of its kind in the Commonwealth, which was sent to all Section members free of charge during the 1998-99 Bar year. In addition to its CLE program at the Annual Meeting, the Section offers a Winter/Spring Seminar every year with alternating dates for Environmental Updates and Environmental Science for Lawyers & Judges. It also publishes a newsletter four times a year which reviews important cases and new and amended environmental laws and regulations.

Family Law

Organized in 1978
The Family Law Section works to improve the quality of family law practice in Virginia by sponsoring the Annual Family Law Seminar and the Annual Advanced Family Law Seminar, and by publishing a quarterly newsletter, the Virginia Family Law Quarterly.

The section provides information regarding family law to the public through its website and its publications (including Children and Divorce, Marriage in Virginia, Divorce in Virginia, Spare the Child, and Financial Issues in Divorce).

The Virginia legislature periodically seeks and obtains information from the section, but because the Virginia State Bar is a state agency, the section does not engage in legislative advocacy.  

General Practice

Organized in 1986
The General Practice Section sponsors programs and publications of general interest, but directs most programs to the sole practitioner and small firm lawyer. The section serves as a forum for the exchange of practical ideas and information on how to effectively manage and practice law. Each fall, the section sponsors a "First-Day in Practice" seminar for all newly-licensed lawyers in conjunction with the Admissions Ceremony sponsored by the Young Lawyers Conference. The section also publishes a newsletter several times a year, and sponsors an Annual Meeting CLE program. To recognize a general practitioner who has achieved distinction in public service, the section presents its "Tradition of Excellence Award" each year during the State Bar's Annual Meeting.

Health Law

Organized in 1984
The membership of the Health Law Section consists of those in legal practice devoted to dealing with the administration of health care. The section has been active in the continuing legal education field, including the sponsorship of the Annual Law Institute on Hospitals and Medicine together with the Department of Health Administration of MCV, the Virginia Health Care Association, and the Virginia Hospital Association. The section also publishes an informative newsletter of substantial interest to its membership. The section's board invites all members to attend its meetings. Many meetings include an informal program or roundtable discussion of current topics. The section also produces programs of interest to the general health care professional.

Intellectual Property Law

Organized in 1970
The Intellectual Property Law Section addresses the problems of the legal protection of intellectual property, and works with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to encourage improvements in the patent and trademark systems. The section provides continuing legal education programs and activities for members.

International Practice

Organized in 1978
The International Practice Section is designed for the lawyer with an interest in international business law. The section focuses on providing members with current information on important developments in cross border business transactions. The section publishes a newsletter and a directory of foreign attorneys; it presents CLE programs in the spring and at the Annual Meeting; and it hosts luncheons featuring recognized speakers on international topics. The section works closely with Virginia law schools and encourages participation by students.


Organized in 1980
The Litigation Section is focused on the needs and interests of the trial lawyer. It publishes a newsletter on litigation issues several times a year and sponsors seminars on trial practice. For several years, the section has sponsored a Law in Society Scholarship competition directed at high school students statewide. The section monitors, and sometimes advises, the Virginia State Bar Council on legislation and rules of court affecting litigation, and generally provides a forum on issues facing the trial attorney.

Local Government Law

Organized in 1985
This section provides assistance and support to public and private practitioners of local government law through the sponsorship of programs that provide a forum for section members to share research source materials and experiences. A section newsletter addressing issues in this area of law is published quarterly.

Military Law

Organized in 1996
The Military Law Section was created to serve those attorneys who have an interest in how Virginia law affects military personnel, functions, and operations, and is thus suitable for attorneys whose clients may include members of the military. The section is open to any member of the bar who is in good standing, members of the judiciary, military attorneys, and law students. The section sponsors continuing legal education programs and publishes and distributes educational materials, including a newsletter, for its members.

Real Property

Organized in 1970
The Real Property Section addresses all aspects of real property practice and procedure in Virginia. The section advises its membership of changes in this area of law regularly, and increases the public's awareness of their rights and obligations related to ownership and transfer of real estate interest. The Real Property Section publishes a newsletter, Fee Simple, and holds CLE seminars on current real property topics.


Organized in 1955
Founded over 40 years ago, this is one of the oldest sections of the Virginia State Bar. The Taxation Section encourages improvement and efficient administration of the tax law of the state and promotes the exchange of ideas between all practitioners and administrators sharing a common interest in state and federal tax law. For a number of years, the section has cosponsored the annual William and Mary Tax Conference and the annual Federal Tax Institute at UVA. The section has also recently undertaken cosponsorship of State and Local Tax (SALT) Institute with the University of Richmond and the VBA Tax Section. Members of the section also receive a section newsletter.

Trusts and Estates

Organized in 1978
The Trusts and Estates Section promotes the exchange of ideas among lawyers who deal with wills, estates, trusts and related matters. Members are advised on current developments in estate planning and administration through the section newsletter. The section monitors legislation introduced in the General Assembly and provides CLE seminars on topics of interest and concern to the membership.

*Note: Some of the documents above are in Adobe Portable Document Format (.pdf). If you have the Adobe Acrobat Reader on your PC, you can view and print these documents. If you do not have the Acrobat Reader, you can download a free copy, by clicking here.

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Updated: Sep 08, 2016