News and Information
October 27, 2014

Highlights of the October 24, 2014, Virginia State Bar Council Meeting

At its meeting on October 24, 2014, in Alexandria, the Virginia State Bar Council heard the following significant reports and took the following actions:

Amendments to Clients' Protection Fund Rules

The Council approved, with one nay vote, amending the Clients' Protection Fund Rules to increase the maximum payment to any one petitioner to $75,000 for losses incurred on or after July 1, 2015. Maximum payments for losses incurred before that date will remain $50,000. The total amount of losses reimbursable for any one lawyer or association of lawyers will increase from 10 percent of the net worth of the fund to 15 percent.

Amendment to Council Bylaw Election Procedures

The Council approved 57 to 3 amending the bylaws in Council elections to change the instructions so that members can vote for fewer candidates than the number of vacancies to be filled.

Revisions to Fiscal Year 2014-2015 VSB Budget

The Council approved by unanimous vote the revisions to the FY2014-2015 budget, which reduced expenditures by $840,350.

President-elect Candidates Spoke and Answered Questions

Raymond B. Benzinger, Thomas A. Edmonds, and Michael W. Robinson, candidates for the upcoming president-elect election, spoke and answered questions at the Council meeting.  The election starts November 1, 2014, and ends December 1, 2014.  

Updated: Oct 27, 2014
October 27, 2014

Glen A. Huff Named Chief Judge-elect of Court of Appeals of Virginia

The Honorable Glen A. Huff has been elected chief judge-elect of the Court of Appeals of Virginia by his fellow judges. He will succeed Chief Judge Walter S. Felton, who will retire on December 31. Judge Huff will serve a four-year term as chief judge.

Judge Huff, of Virginia Beach, was appointed to the court by the Virginia General Assembly in July 2011. He practiced law for more than thirty-five years before joining the court.

Judge Huff received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine and his law degree from the University of New Hampshire Law School, formerly the Franklin Pierce Law Center.

Updated: Oct 27, 2014
October 22, 2014

Nominations Sought for Carrico Professionalism Award

The Criminal Law Section is accepting nominations for the Harry L. Carrico Professionalism Award. Nominations are due by December 5. Download the nomination form (PDF file).

Updated: Oct 22, 2014
October 10, 2014

Registration Open for Four Pro Bono Webinars

Before You Say "Yes" to Serving on a Board, Know What is Expected: Part 2 - Ethical issues for Attorney-Directors and Pro Bono Lawyers — Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Representing Victims of Domestic Violence: Part 2 - The Nuts and Bolts of Protective Orders — October 16, 2014

Representing Victims of Domestic Violence: Part 3 - Custody, Support and Visitation — October 28, 2014

Before You Say "Yes" to Serving on a Board, Know What is Expected: Part 3 - Nine Key Components — Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Visit the Pro Bono page for more information

Recordings of previous VSB Pro Bono webinars are available online.

Updated: Oct 10, 2014
October 03, 2014

Voting for President-Elect will be Online

Additional Info

See statements from the candidates in the October 2015 issue of Virginia Lawyer.

download Candidates Forum (PDF file)

Updated Oct 3, 2014:

Please note that the subject of the online voting instructions e-mail will be "Virginia State Bar 2014 President-elect Election Login Information.”

 

originally posted Aug 26, 2014:

This year for the first time the election for president-elect of the Virginia State Bar will be conducted online rather than with paper ballots. Balloting will begin on October 31 and continue until the close of business on December 1.

The change is being made to cut down on paperwork, save money and staff time, and ensure accuracy.

The VSB has partnered with Survey & Ballot Systems (SBS) to administer the 2014 election. Voting members will receive an e-mail from SBS with instructions on how to register their vote.

To ensure e-mail with voting information arrives safely in your inbox on or around October 31, add the following e-mail address as a safe sender: noreply@directvote.net. These settings can be made in your e-mail account SPAM/Junk filters or by contacting your IT department. This process is often referred to as “whitelisting." Members who have not already done so should add their e-mail addresses to VSB records to ensure that the information arrives.

SBS will begin sending e-mails to all members on October 31 but because of the high volume, some may take more than a day to arrive.

Members without e-mail addresses will receive an instruction letter. Those voters who prefer to vote by paper ballot will have to request the ballot by November 24.

Updated: Oct 15, 2014
October 01, 2014

Virginia State Bar E-News, October 2014

This year for the first time the election for president-elect of the Virginia State Bar will be conducted online rather than with paper ballots. To ensure e-mail with voting information arrives safely in your inbox on or around October 31, add the following e-mail address as a safe sender: noreply@directvote.net.

The Clients’ Protection Fund Board is seeking public comment on proposed amendments to the per attorney and per claim limits on payments from the fund.

The Standing Committee on Legal Ethics has extended the deadline for public comment on proposed amendments to Rules 1.1 (Competence) and 1.6 (Confidentiality) of the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct.

The Committee on Lawyer Discipline is seeking public comment on three proposed amendments to the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia:

The Special Committee on Access to Legal Services will hold its annual Pro Bono Conference and Celebration on October 22 in Portsmouth.

The Standing Committee on Lawyer Discipline calls for nominations for district committee vacancies to be filled by Council in June.

The VSB Litigation Section’s Appellate Committee is hosting a free CLE on October 28 in Charlottesville on Preserving Error and Avoiding Mistakes that Will Sink Your Appeal.

Updated: Sep 30, 2014
September 26, 2014

Nominations Sought for 2015-16 District Committee Vacancies

The Standing Committee on Lawyer Discipline calls for nominations for district committee vacancies to be filled by Council in June. Note that there are vacancies which may not become available because some members are eligible for reappointment.

To review qualifications for eligibility, see Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, Part 6, Section IV, Paragraph 13-4 – Establishment of District Committees, specifically 13-4.E (Qualifications of Members) and 13-4.F (Persons Ineligible for Appointment).

FIRST DISTRICT COMMITTEE: 2 attorney vacancies; 1 non-attorney vacancy (current member is eligible for reappointment). The vacancies are to be filled by members from the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th or 8th judicial circuits.

SECOND DISTRICT COMMITTEE, SECTION I: 2 attorney vacancies (both current members are eligible for reappointment). The vacancies are to be filled by members from the 2nd or 4th judicial circuits.

SECOND DISTRICT COMMITTEE, SECTION II: 1 attorney vacancy (current member is eligible for reappointment). The vacancies are to be filled by members from the 2nd or 4th judicial circuits.

THIRD DISTRICT COMMITTEE, SECTION I: 3 attorney vacancies (2 current members are eligible for reappointment). The vacancies are to be filled by members from the 6th, 11th, 12th, 13th or 14th judicial circuits.

THIRD DISTRICT COMMITTEE, SECTION II: 2 attorney vacancies (1 current member is eligible for reappointment); 1 non-attorney vacancy (current member is eligible for reappointment). The vacancies are to be filled by members from the 6th, 11th, 12th, 13th or 14th judicial circuits.

THIRD DISTRICT COMMITTEE, SECTION III: 3 attorney vacancies (2 current members are eligible for reappointment); 1 non-attorney vacancy. The vacancies are to be filled by members from the 6th, 11th, 12th, 13th or 14th judicial circuits.

FOURTH DISTRICT COMMITTEE, SECTION I: 2 attorney vacancies (both current members are eligible for reappointment); 1 non-attorney vacancy. The vacancies are to be filled by members from the 17th or 18th judicial circuits.

FOURTH DISTRICT COMMITTEE, SECTION II: 1 attorney vacancy; 1 non-attorney vacancy. The vacancies are to be filled by members from the 17th or 18th judicial circuits.

FIFTH DISTRICT COMMITTEE, SECTION I: 3 attorney vacancies (current members are eligible for reappointment); 1 non-attorney vacancy (current member is eligible for reappointment). The vacancies are to be filled by members from the 19th or 31st judicial circuits.

FIFTH DISTRICT COMMITTEE, SECTION II: 2 attorney vacancies (1 current member is eligible for reappointment). The vacancies are to be filled by members from the 19th or 31st judicial circuits.

FIFTH DISTRICT COMMITTEE, SECTION III: 2 attorney vacancies (both current members are eligible for reappointment); 1 non-attorney vacancy (current member is eligible for reappointment). The vacancies are to be filled by members from the 19th or 31st judicial circuits.

SIXTH DISTRICT COMMITTEE: 2 attorney vacancies; 1 non-attorney vacancy. The vacancies are to be filled by members from the 9th or 15th judicial circuits.

SEVENTH DISTRICT COMMITTEE: 1 attorney vacancy (current member is eligible for reappointment); 1 non-attorney vacancy (current member is eligible for reappointment). The vacancies are to be filled by members from the 16th, 20th or 26th judicial circuits.

EIGHTH DISTRICT COMMITTEE: 4 attorney vacancies (3 current members are eligible for reappointment). The vacancies are to be filled by members from the 23rd or 25th judicial circuits.

NINTH DISTRICT COMMITTEE: 4 attorney vacancies (current members are eligible for reappointment). The vacancies are to be filled by members from the 10th, 21st, 22nd or 24th judicial circuits.

TENTH DISTRICT COMMITTEE, SECTION I: 2 attorney vacancies (both current members are eligible for reappointment); 2 non-attorney vacancies (1 current member is eligible for reappointment). The vacancies are to be filled by members from the 27th, 28th, 29th or 30th judicial circuits.

TENTH DISTRICT COMMITTEE, SECTION II: 3 attorney vacancies (1 current member is eligible for reappointment). The vacancies are to be filled by members from the 27th, 28th, 29th or 30th judicial circuits.

 

Nominations, along with a brief resume, should be sent by February 28, 2015, to Stephanie Blanton, Virginia State Bar, 1111 East Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, VA 23219-3565 Blanton@vsb.org

Updated: Sep 26, 2014
September 26, 2014

Comments Sought on Amendments to Three Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia

The Committee on Lawyer Discipline is seeking public comment on proposed amendments to three Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Part Six, Section IV, Paragraph 13-4.C would clarify the address of record of district committee members. It would require district committee members to provide either a home or business address that is physically located in the district served.

Part Six, Section IV, Paragraph 13-4.E would exempt ex-officio members of the council from having to resign from district committees.

Part Six, Section IV, Paragraph 13-25 would require that petitions for reinstatement be filed with the clerk of the disciplinary system rather than with the clerk of the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Comments should be submitted in writing to Karen A. Gould, Executive Director, Virginia State Bar, 1111 E. Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, VA 23219-3565 or publiccomment@vsb.org, no later than the end of the business day on October 30, 2014.

Updated: Sep 26, 2014
September 22, 2014

Special Council Election for 4th Circuit Representative

David W. Lannetti, one of the VSB Council representatives for the 4th Circuit, has announced his resignation because of his appointment to the bench. Anyone interested in being elected to council from the 4th Circuit must file a petition with the executive director at Holloman@vsb.org. See sample petition here (Word doc). The petition must be signed by at least ten other members eligible to vote in the circuit, and must be accompanied by a statement of qualifications not exceeding 150 words. Nominations must be filed in the office of the executive director on or before noon on October 6, 2014. Any petition failing to comply with these requirements will be rejected. The election will take place by electronic means between November 1, 2014, and December 1, 2014, 11:59 p.m. in conjunction with the election for president-elect. Eligible voters must be active members in good standing as of October 1, 2014. The membership will be notified by electronic means of candidates who qualify to run in the election.

Updated: Sep 22, 2014
September 22, 2014

VSB to Evaluate Candidates for Judicial Vacancies

The Virginia State Bar has been asked by the House and Senate Courts of Justice committees to evaluate candidates for vacancies on the Virginia Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.

Candidates are to submit on or before September 30, 2014, a résumé, a brief writing sample, and responses to a questionnaire (Word doc) available on the Virginia State Bar website.

Submissions should be sent electronically, and the original questionnaire should be submitted by mail. Interviews of candidates will be scheduled to take place on Tuesday, October 21, 2014, at the Virginia State Bar office at 1111 E. Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond. Contact VSB staff member Asha B. Holloman, holloman@vsb.org, (804) 775-0551, if you have any questions.

Updated: Sep 22, 2014
September 18, 2014

Comments Sought on Proposed Amendments to Rules on Competence and Confidentiality

The Standing Committee on Legal Ethics is seeking public comments on proposed amendments to Rules 1.1 (Competence) and 1.6 (Confidentiality) of the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct. Comments should be submitted in writing to Karen A. Gould, Executive Director, Virginia State Bar, 1111 E. Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, VA 23219-3565 or publiccomment@vsb.org, no later than the end of the business day on November 3, 2014.

Read more

Updated: Sep 18, 2014
September 18, 2014

Comments Sought on Rule Concerning District Committee Members’ Address of Record

The Committee on Lawyer Discipline is seeking public comment on proposed amendments to Part Six, Section IV, Paragraph 13-4.C of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia that would clarify the address of record of district committee members. It would require district committee members to provide either a home or business address that is physically located in the district served. Comments should be submitted in writing to Karen A. Gould, Executive Director, Virginia State Bar, 1111 E. Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, VA 23219-3565 or publiccomment@vsb.org, no later than the end of the business day on October 31, 2014.

Read more

Updated: Sep 18, 2014
September 17, 2014

Comments Sought on Proposed Amendments to the Clients’ Protection Fund Rules

The Clients’ Protection Fund Board is seeking public comment on proposed amendments to the per attorney and per claim limits on payments from the fund. Comments should be submitted in writing to Karen A. Gould, Executive Director, Virginia State Bar, 1111 E. Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, VA 23219-3565 or publiccomment@vsb.org, no later than the end of the business day on October 16, 2014.

On September 12, 2014, the Clients’ Protection Fund Board voted unanimously to recommend that the VSB Council amend the Clients Protection Fund Rules to increase the per attorney limit from 10 percent to 15 percent of the net worth of the fund and to increase the per claim limit from $50,000 to $75,000.

The current per claim limit of $50,000 has been in place since July 1, 2000, and the per attorney limit of 10 percent of the net worth of the fund has been in place since October 1986. 

As of August 31, 2014, the CPF balance was $7.6 million. Legislation continuing the $25 CPF assessment (Code of Virginia section 54.1-3913.1) until June 30, 2020, was passed by the 2014 General Assembly.

The CPF board’s recommendations will be considered by the VSB Council at its October 24, 2014, meeting.

view the proposed rule changes

Updated: Sep 17, 2014
September 08, 2014

Pro Bono Awards Announced

Advocates for Cancer Patients, Founders of Pro Bono Referral Program Recognized for Service

The Lewis F. Powell Jr. Pro Bono Award this year will be shared by the Legal Information Network for Cancer and two lawyers, M. Steven Weaver and Glenn M. Hodge, who helped start what has been called one of the most successful pro bono programs in the nation.

The Legal Network for Cancer, or LINC, is dedicated to helping cancer patients and their loved ones with non-medical needs. It operates in the Richmond area and has helped uncounted people with assistance and referral to legal, financial, and community resources.

Weaver and Hodge are members of the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Bar Association and helped start the association’s Pro Bono Referral Program in 1982. They have served continuously as leaders of the program for thirty-two years.

In her letter nominating LINC, Alexandra D. Bowen noted that the organization provides a long list of services to cancer patients, survivors, and their families. Those services include securing insurance coverage, securing disability income, preparing powers of attorney, preparing advance medical directives, and assisting with estate planning. LINC recruits volunteer attorneys and assists in training them in such areas as drafting life planning documents, handling Social Security appeals, debtor’s rights, landlord tenant law, and the Affordable Care Act.

“LINC provides an embrace to frightened people during their most difficult times and gives them peace of mind,” Bowen wrote. “The legal and financial services that LINC provides enable cancer patients and their families to have dignity and a better quality of life in their time of need.”

Weaver, of Clark & Bradshaw, and Hodge, of Wharton, Aldhizer & Weaver, were nominated by John E. Whitfield, executive director of Blue Ridge Legal Services Inc.

He noted that “at least every other month for the last thirty-two years, Steve Weaver and Glenn Hodge have come to the BRLS legal aid office in Harrisonburg and met with BRLS’s legal staff to review and discuss potential pro bono referrals to the bar association teams.” He wrote that they have contributed hundreds of hours to meeting with the legal aid staff and have mentored many staff attorneys.

Thanks in part to the leadership of Weaver and Hodge, the organization has received a number of state and national awards. It has closed about 3,000 cases with more than 23,000 hours of donated legal services during the years Weaver and Hodge have served as leaders.

“These two leaders have continued – quietly, effectively, faithfully, without fanfare – to make sure the Pro Bono Referral Program they helped to create thirty-two years ago continues to fulfill its mission of helping to ensure equal justice to all regardless of their ability to pay,” Whitfield wrote.

The Powell award was established by the Special Committee on Access to Legal Services of the Virginia State Bar to honor attorneys and attorney groups that have made outstanding pro bono contributions. The award will be presented October 22 during the Virginia State Bar Pro Bono Conference and Celebration in Portsmouth.

Updated: Sep 08, 2014
September 02, 2014

Virginia State Bar E-News, September 2014

This year for the first time the election for president-elect of the Virginia State Bar will be conducted online rather than with paper ballots. To ensure e-mail with voting information arrives safely in your inbox on or around October 31, add the following e-mail address as a safe sender: noreply@directvote.net.

Registration is open for the 2014 VSB Pro Bono Conference and Celebration, Wednesday, October 22, at the Renaissance Hotel Portsmouth-Norfolk Waterside. 

The Young Lawyers Conference 13th Annual Professional Development Conference will be Friday, September 19 at three locations – Washington, D.C., Richmond, and Virginia Beach.

Please make a voluntary contribution to Legal Services Corporation of Virginia. Take a moment to read the appeal and consider a donation.

Updated: Sep 02, 2014
August 21, 2014

Registration open for annual Pro Bono Conference and Celebration

Registration is open for the 2014 VSB Pro Bono Conference and Celebration, Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at the Renaissance Hotel Portsmouth-Norfolk Waterside. 

This free conference will feature three CLE (pending) sessions covering topics such as ethical considerations in pro bono, innovations in the delivery of pro bono services, and a demonstration on the JusticeServer database. The evening celebration (ticketed event) is a joint function with the Legal Aid Conference, and will include dinner, an awards ceremony honoring the 2014 recipient of the Lewis F. Powell Jr. Pro Bono Award, and remarks from keynote speaker, Justice William Mims of the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Registration forms should be printed and mailed or e-mailed to Karl Doss, VSB Director of Access to Legal Services, 1111 E. Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, VA 23219-3565, by October 17.

This conference will be held in conjunction with the 2014 Virginia Legal Aid Conference, October 22-24.

Updated: Aug 21, 2014
August 18, 2014

Supreme Court of Virginia Announces Election of the Hon. Donald W. Lemons as Chief Justice-Elect

Justice Lemons photo

Today, the Justices of the Supreme Court of Virginia elected Justice Donald W. Lemons as Chief Justice-elect. Chief Justice-elect Lemons will succeed Chief Justice Cynthia D. Kinser, who has served one term as Chief Justice and will retire from the Court on December 31, 2014.

Chief Justice-elect Lemons will assume office on January 1, 2015. He was elected by the General Assembly to the Supreme Court of Virginia in 2000 and again in 2012. Previously, Chief Justice-elect Lemons served as a judge of the Court of Appeals of Virginia and the Circuit Court for the City of Richmond.

He received both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Virginia. After receiving his law degree, he served as Assistant Dean and Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law. Thereafter, he has served on the faculties of the University of Richmond School of Law and Washington and Lee University School of Law.

Chief Justice-elect Lemons has held leadership roles in numerous legal and civic organizations, including serving as the President of the American Inns of Court. Current Chief Justice Kinser remarked that "Chief Justice-elect Lemons is a dedicated jurist who exemplifies integrity, civility, and professionalism. He will lead the judiciary with distinction during the next four years. I look forward to working with him to effect a smooth transition."

Updated: Aug 18, 2014
August 06, 2014

Court Forms Available on Website

The Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia would like to remind attorneys that certain district court and circuit court forms are available to members of the Virginia State Bar on the Virginia State Bar's website. These forms are available in a "fillable" PDF format so that the necessary information can be entered on the electronic form, which can then be printed for filing with the court. Upon logging in as a member on the VSB's website, the forms are available in the member's area under "Forms and Downloads."

In addition to the court forms that have been accessible on the VSB's website, form DC-645, Income Withholding for Support, has recently been added to the website. This form is the required federal form for income withholding in cases involving support, and includes information and statutory requirements specific to Virginia. Form DC-645 may be used by attorneys for submission to the courts in appropriate cases, as employers have been directed by the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement to reject any income withholding orders that are not submitted in the required federal format. 

Updated: Aug 06, 2014
August 01, 2014

Virginia State Bar E-News, August 2014

The VSB Executive Committee is seeking comments on a proposal to add e-mail and phone numbers to members’ address of record. Comments are due by August 15 to the VSB offices or publiccomment@vsb.org.

The Bylaw Amendment Committee is seeking comments on a proposed amendment to the council election procedures. Comments are due by August 15 to the VSB offices or publiccomment@vsb.org.

The Committee on Lawyer Discipline is seeking public comments on a proposal concerning insurance coverage requirements. The committee also is seeking public comments on disclosure of information rule. Comments are due by August 15.

Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Legal Ethics is seeking public comment on proposed amendments to Rules 1.1 (Competence) and 1.6 (Confidentiality) of the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct. Comments are due by September 2 to the VSB offices, or publiccomment@vsb.org.

The Standing Committee on Legal Ethics also issued LEO 1874: “Limited Scope Representation—Reviewing Pleadings for Pro Se Litigants— Substantial Assistance and “‘Ghostwriting’” as final.

VSB member volunteers are needed to serve as council members at large, and on the Disciplinary and Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Boards. Nominations are being sought by September 5.

Please make a voluntary contribution to Legal Services Corporation of Virginia. Take a moment to read the appeal and consider a donation.

The Access to Legal Services Committee of the Virginia State Bar is seeking nominations for the Lewis F. Powell Jr. Pro Bono Award.

Save the date: the Special Committee on Access to Legal Services will hold its annual Pro Bono Conference and Celebration on October 22 in Portsmouth. Details to come.

 

Updated: Aug 01, 2014
July 31, 2014

Lewis F. Powell Jr. Pro Bono Award—Final Call for Nominations

The Access to Legal Services Committee of the Virginia State Bar is seeking nominations for the Lewis F. Powell Jr. Pro Bono Award.

Nominations should be sent to Virginia State Bar Access to Legal Services Committee, c/o Karl A. Doss, 1111 East Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, Virginia 23219-3565 (or e-mail nominations and supporting documents to doss@vsb.org ). Nominations must be received by 5:00 pm, Friday, August 22, 2014.

Updated: Jul 31, 2014
July 30, 2014

Legal Ethics Opinion 1874 Now Final

LEO 1874 – Regarding limited scope representation -- reviewing pleadings for pro se litigants -- substantial assistance and “ghostwriting.”

Updated: Jul 30, 2014
July 29, 2014

Comments Sought on Proposed Amendments to Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.6

Pursuant to Part Six: Section IV, Paragraph 10-2(C) of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, the Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Legal Ethics is seeking public comment on proposed amendments to rules 1.1 (Competence) and 1.6 (Confidentiality) of the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct.

RULE 1.1 Competence

Comment

Maintaining Competence

[6] To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should engage in continuing study and education, including the benefits and risks associated with technology relevant to the lawyer’s practice. The Mandatory Continuing Legal Education requirements of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia set the minimum standard for continuing study and education which a lawyer licensed and practicing in Virginia must satisfy. If a system of peer review has been established, the lawyer should consider making use of it in appropriate circumstances.   

RULE 1.6 Confidentiality

 (d)  A lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information protected under this Rule.

Comment

Acting Reasonably to Preserve Confidentiality

[19]  Paragraph (d) requires a lawyer to act  reasonably to safeguard information protected under this Rule against unauthorized access by third parties and against inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure by the lawyer or other persons who are participating in the representation of the client or who are subject to the lawyer’s supervision. See Rules 1.1, 5.1 and 5.3.  The unauthorized access to, or the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of confidential information does not constitute a violation of  this Rule if the lawyer has made reasonable efforts to prevent the access or disclosure.  Factors to be considered in determining the reasonableness of the lawyer’s efforts include, but are not limited to, the sensitivity of the information, the likelihood of disclosure if additional safeguards are not employed, the cost of employing additional safeguards, the difficulty of implementing the safeguards, and the extent to which the safeguards adversely affect the lawyer’s ability to represent clients (e.g., by making a device or important piece of software excessively difficult to use). A client may require the lawyer to implement special security measures  or may give informed consent to forego security measures that would otherwise be appropriate under this Rule.  Whether a lawyer may be required to take additional steps to safeguard a client’s information in order to comply with other laws, such as state and federal laws that govern data privacy or that impose notification requirements upon the loss of, or unauthorized access to, electronic information, is beyond the scope of these Rules. 

Inspection and Comment

The proposed rule amendments may be inspected at the office of the Virginia State Bar, 1111 East Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, Virginia 23219-3565, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Copies of the proposed rule amendments can be obtained from the offices of the Virginia State Bar by contacting the Office of Ethics Counsel at 804-775-0557, or can be found at the Virginia State Bar’s website at http://www.vsb.org/pro-guidelines/index.php/rule_changes

Not later than September 2, 2014, any individual, business, or other entity may file or submit to Karen A. Gould, the Executive Director of the Virginia State Bar, a written comment in support of or in opposition to the proposed rule amendments.

Updated: Jul 29, 2014
July 08, 2014

Supreme Court of Virginia Adopts Amendments and a New Rule

Effective July 2, 2014, the Supreme Court of Virginia has amended Rules

  • 2:404, Character Evidence Not Admissible to Prove Conduct; Exceptions; Other Crimes;
  • 2:803, Hearsay Exceptions Applicable Regardless Of Availability Of The Declarant (Rule 2:803(10) (a) derived from Code § 8.01-390(C); Rule 2:803(10) (b) derived from Code § 19.2-188.3; Rule 2:803(17) derived from Code § 8.2-724; and Rule 2:803(23) derived from Code § 19.2-268.2);
  • 2:902, Self-Authentication (Rule 2:902(6) derived from Code § 8.01-390.3 and Code § 8.01-391(D));
  • 2A:2, Notice of Appeal;
  • 3A:8, 7C:6, and 8:18, Pleas.

Effective July 2, 2014, the Court has added Rule 2:413, Evidence of similar crimes in child sexual offense cases (derived from Code § 18.2-67.7:1).

Updated: Jul 08, 2014
July 01, 2014

Virginia State Bar E-News, July 2014

Dues statements were mailed June 18. The annual dues must be received at the Virginia State Bar by July 31, or delinquency fees will be assessed. All active members must pay the Clients' Protection Fund assessment and provide a completed and signed Mandatory Certification Regarding Professional Liability Insurance, also by July 31. Separate fines will be assessed for unpaid dues, unpaid CPF fees, and incomplete liability insurance certifications. You may renew your membership, certify your liability insurance coverage, join VSB sections, and pay your dues online by going to Member Login on the VSB home page.  Beginning this year Corporate Counsel registrants may also use this feature.

Enclosed in your dues statement is a request for voluntary contributions to Legal Services Corporation of Virginia. Please take a moment to read the appeal and consider a donation.

The Advisory Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, a subcommittee of Judicial Council, seeks comments on proposed amendments to Rule 2:803, Business Records Rule Reformatting, and Rule 4:11, Numerical Limit on Requests For Admissions, of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Effective July 1, 2014, the Court has added Rule 1A:8, Military Spouse Provisional Admission.

The VSB Executive Committee is seeking comments on a proposal to add e-mail and phone numbers to members’ address of record. Comments are due by August 15 to the VSB offices or publiccomment@vsb.org.

At its meeting on June 12, 2014, in Virginia Beach, the Virginia State Bar Council

VSB member volunteers are needed to serve as council members at large, and on the Disciplinary and Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Boards. Nominations are being sought by September 5.

The Access to Legal Services Committee of the Virginia State Bar is seeking nominations for the Lewis F. Powell Jr. Pro Bono Award.

The 2014 Midyear Legal Seminar is headed to Madrid, Spain, November 4-11, with an optional extension trip to Barcelona, November 11-15. Limited space is still available. Don’t delay; register right away. See the VSB’sMidyear Seminar website for details.

The VSB and the Legal Information Network for Cancer (LINC) is offering a free webinar Meeting the Legal Needs of Clients Facing Serious Illness Through Pro Bono - Part 5a: Housing Law (Landlord-Tenant). Wednesday, July 23, 2–3:30 p.m.

Updated: Jun 30, 2014
June 27, 2014

Registration Open: “VSB-LINC Pro Bono Webinar on Housing Law”

Meeting the Legal Needs of Individuals Facing Serious Illness Through Pro Bono: Part 5a – Housing Law (Landlord-Tenant)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 2 – 3:30 p.m.

Attendance at the previous webinars in the series is not a prerequisite.

Session Description: Many seriously ill individuals find themselves facing eviction or foreclosure as a consequence of financial instability resulting from their illness and often will require the assistance of a lawyer. This free, two-part webinar, which concludes the VSB/LINC pro bono webinar series, will cover common legal issues encountered by volunteer lawyers handling housing law cases. This first housing law webinar will focus on landlord-tenant issues, including an overview of the Virginia Landlord-Tenant Act, addressing landlord abuses, protecting against public utilities shut-offs, and spotting issues when defending against eviction. (The second housing law webinar will provide an overview of basic defense strategies in foreclosure matters). Attorneys Alexandra "Sandra” Bowen of the Richmond firm Bowen Ten Cardani PC, and Christine “Christie” Marra of the Virginia Poverty Law Center will be the faculty for these webinars.

By registering for this free CLE program, attendees agree to accept a pro bono referral from a recognized pro bono legal services program. (1.5 hours of MCLE credit pending for each of these webinars).

Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4165501260646209025.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation e-mail containing information about joining the webinar.

This webinar series is co-sponsored by the VSB and Legal Information Network for Cancer (LINC).

View System Requirements

Updated: Jun 27, 2014
June 25, 2014

VSB Access Committee is seeking nominations for the Lewis F. Powell Jr. Pro Bono Award

Nominations should be sent to Virginia State Bar Access to Legal Services Committee, c/o Karl A. Doss, 1111 East Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, Virginia 23219-3565 (or e-mail nominations and supporting documents to doss@vsb.org ). Nominations must be received by 5:00 pm, Friday, August 22, 2014.

 

more information

Updated: Jun 25, 2014
June 25, 2014

Nominations Sought for Board and Committee Vacancies

Vacancies in 2015 are listed below. All appointments or elections will be for the terms specified, beginning on July 1, 2015.

Council Members at Large: 3 lawyer vacancies (of which 2 incumbents are not eligible for reappointment and 1 incumbent is eligible for reappointment to a second term). May serve 2 consecutive 3-year terms.

Disciplinary Board: 5 lawyer vacancies and 1 lay member vacancy (of which 5 lawyer members are eligible for reappointment to a second 3-year term, and 1 lay member is eligible for reappointment). District committee service is required. May serve 2 consecutive 3-year terms.

Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Board: 4 lawyer vacancies (of which 1 member is not eligible for reappointment and 3 current members are eligible for reappointment to a second term). May serve 2 consecutive 3-year terms.

Nominations, along with a brief résumé, should be sent by September 5, 2014, to 
Sharon D. Nelson, chair, VSB Nominating Committee, Virginia State Bar, 
1111 E. Main St., Suite 700, Richmond, VA 23219-3565, or e-mailed to nominations@vsb.org.

Updated: Jul 01, 2014
June 19, 2014

Comments Sought on Proposed Amendment to Council Election Procedures

The Bylaw Amendment Committee seeks comment on a proposed amendment to the Council bylaws, Article II, Sec. 2, in order to prevent the elimination of ballots when the voter fails to vote for precisely the number of positions to be filled on Council from his or her circuit.

Comments should be submitted to Karen A. Gould, Executive Director, Virginia State Bar, 1111 E. Main St., Suite 700, Richmond, VA 23219-3565, no later than the end of the business day on August 15, 2014. Comments may be submitted via e-mail to publiccomment@vsb.org.

Updated: Jun 19, 2014
June 16, 2014

Public Advisory: “Court Notice” E-mail Scam

The Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia has learned of an e-mail scam in which an e-mail appears to be an official e-mail from a Virginia or federal court and falsely claims to be about an upcoming court case. The e-mail may include words such as "Notice to Appear in Court" or "Court Notice" in the subject line or in the body of the e-mail. The e-mail provides information for the recipient to contact the court, lending a sense of legitimacy to the scam.

The e-mail instructs the recipient to review an attached notice or click on a link provided in the e-mail. When the recipient opens the attachment or clicks on the link, a computer virus infects the recipient's computer. Please be advised that such e-mail is not from a court, nor is it about a court case, but a scam designed to infect the recipient's computer with a virus.

Virginia's circuit and district courts do not conduct business by sending unsolicited e-mail messages. If you receive an unsolicited e-mail claiming to be from a Virginia trial court:

  • Do not open any attachments, click on any links, or unsubscribe - doing so may install the malware/virus onto your computer.
  • Delete the e-mail.
  • If you are uncertain about the legitimacy of the e-mail, contact information for all courts can be found on Virginia's Judicial System Website.
Updated: Jun 16, 2014
June 16, 2014

Highlights of the June 12, 2014, Virginia State Bar Council Meeting

At its meeting on June 12, 2014, in Virginia Beach, the Virginia State Bar Council heard the following significant reports and took the following actions:

Amendment to Rule 1.10

Council unanimously approved an amendment to Rule 1.10: Imputed Disqualification: General Rule. This proposed rule amendment is intended to avoid a situation in which a lawyer avoids the imputation of a conflict of interest by avoiding the knowledge that another lawyer in the firm has a conflict as to the representation.

Rule 5.8

By a vote of 64-1, council approved new Rule 5.8: Procedures for Lawyers Leaving Law Firms and Dissolution of Law Firm. The proposed rule codifies a number of the suggestions from LEOs on departing lawyers’ obligations into more concrete steps to follow.

Addition to VSB Bylaws

Council unanimously approved an addition to VSB and Council Bylaws, adding a new Part III regarding amendments: Upon motion of a council member, the bylaws contained in either Part I or Part II may be amended at any regular meeting of the bar council provided there has been at least thirty days' notice of the proposed amendment to all Virginia State Bar members. Amendment of the bylaws must be by a two-thirds vote of the council members present and voting at that regular meeting.

Budget

The council approved a $14.6 million budget for 2014-15.

Hiring freeze and spending reduction

Executive Director Karen A. Gould announced a freeze on hiring and implementation of a 5 percent reduction in spending for the fiscal year.

Updated: Jun 16, 2014
June 14, 2014

Edward L. Weiner Is President-elect of the Virginia State Bar

Edward L. Weiner, of Fairfax, is the Virginia State Bar’s new president-elect. He will serve in that position for one year and then succeed Kevin E. Martingayle for the 2015-16 term.

Weiner took office June 13 during the VSB’s annual meeting in Virginia Beach.

Weiner, founder and senior partner at Weiner Spivey & Miller PLC, is a former chair of the bar’s Conference of Local Bar Associations. He is president of the Fairfax Bar Association and a past president of the Fairfax Law Foundation. He also served on the VSB Council of Local Bar Leaders and serves on the Supreme Court of Virginia professionalism faculty.

Weiner is a member of the board of directors of the George Mason University Center for the Performing Arts and host of an annual Law Day celebration that benefits the Fairfax Law Foundation’s pro bono programs. Weiner is the founder of Jazz 4 Justice, a fund-raising model that partners local bar associations with university music departments to raise money for legal aid and pro bono programs as well as music scholarships.

Weiner graduated from the State University of New York at Binghamton. He received his law degree from the University of Richmond and his LL.M in international law from the Georgetown University Law Center.

He and his wife, Maura, have two daughters.

Updated: Jun 11, 2014
June 14, 2014

Virginia Beach Attorney Kevin E. Martingayle Is President of the Virginia State Bar

Martingayle photo

Kevin E. Martingayle, owner and partner of Bischoff Martingayle PC of Virginia Beach, is the Virginia State Bar’s new president for the 2014-15 term. He heads a state agency that regulates and supports 47,000 Virginia lawyers.

He was sworn in June 13 during the VSB’s annual meeting at Virginia Beach.

Martingayle has been a member of the VSB Council and chair of the Better Annual Meeting Committee. He has served on the Executive, Budget and Finance, and Legal Ethics committees. He formerly served as Second Circuit representative on the Council.

He also is a member of The Virginia Bar Association, Virginia Beach Bar Association, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, Federal Bar Association, and the American Bar Association.

Martingayle is a native of Richmond and graduated from Collegiate High School in 1985. He is a 1988 graduate of Hampden-Sydney College (cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and has a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, 1991.

His practice focuses on appeals; civil, commercial, employment, and estate litigation; civil rights; and constitutional, land use and zoning, and municipal and administrative law.

He is the founder and event coordinator of the Allen Stone Braveheart Memorial Races, which raises money for the Navy Seal Foundation, Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad, and Virginia Beach Lifeguard Association.

He is married to Elisabeth Martingayle and has three children.

Updated: Jun 11, 2014
June 03, 2014

CLBA Honors Bar Associations

The following bar associations will receive awards from the Conference of Local Bar Associations during the Virginia State Bar Annual Meeting. The awards recognize projects that serve the bench, the bar, and the people of Virginia.

The CLBA makes information on winning projects available to other groups that want to consider similar programs. For information, contact Paulette J. Davidson at Davidson@vsb.org or (804) 775-0521.

 

AWARDS OF MERIT

For excellence in bar projects

 

First-time Awardees:

 

Newport News Bar Association

The association held its first “Jazz for Justice” event in March 2014, with proceeds going to the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia, Christopher Newport University’s music scholarship program, and the Virginia State Bar Diversity Conference. The event raised $9,000 for the beneficiaries.

 

The Prince William County Bar Association Inc.

The association collaborated with the Prince William County Public Library Adult Education Department to develop the Library Learning Series. The program offers monthly presentations on law-related topics led by volunteer members of the bar. The programs are open to the public and free.

 

Roanoke Bar Association

The association combined its yearly “You and the Law” event with a Senior Citizens Law Day program to create “You and the Law: Aging with Dignity.” Seminars included “Long Term Care,” “Paying for Long Term Care,” “Employing Caregivers,” “Gifts,” “Safeguarding Resources,” and “Medicare.”

 

Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys

The first annual two-day Deposition Workshop provided lawyers with skills needed to face down a bullying opponent, handle a lying deponent, pull the information needed out of a reticent deponent, ensure that what is discovered in depositions is admissible in court, use the latest technology to build a case, depose an expert witness, and handle a sympathetic or minor deponent.

 

Warren County Bar Inc.

The annual Shenandoah Valley Barrister’s Ball was started in 2009 to aid the Blue Ridge Legal Services. The bar association began sponsoring the ball after members noticed the BRLS was facing federal cuts and that colleagues were losing their jobs. The ball has helped save jobs and allowed Blue Ridge to continue to provide legal services to indigent clients. It has raised more than $5,000 a year.

 

Sustained Projects:

 

Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association

The association has published its “Understanding Your Domestic Relations Rights in Virginia” pamphlet for more than twenty years. The pamphlet is designed to help the public understand the general legal circumstances they may face in domestic relations problems. More than 15,000 are provided for free to courts and organizations each time it is updated.

 

Virginia Beach Bar Association

The Seatack Elementary School Mentoring Program was founded by Virginia Beach Circuit Court Judge Thomas S. Shadrick in 1999 to support third graders who live in a disadvantaged area of the city. The program is jointly sponsored by Judge Shadrick and the association and serves all sixty-six third graders at the school.

 

CERTIFICATES OF ACHIEVEMENT

For high achievement in bar projects

 

Henrico County Bar Association

The association’s Rule of Law Program at Godwin High School involved three guest speakers, twenty attorney volunteers, fifteen law enforcement officials, the school administration and teachers. The program, presented by the Center for the Teaching of the Rule of Law, provides students with the chance to interact with members of the three branches of government as well as the legal profession.

 

The Prince William County Bar Association Inc.

After noting that many pro se litigants in Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court lacked fundamental understanding of how the court works, where to file cases, what evidence to bring to court, how to behave, and how to present a case, the association developed a brochure titled “What You Need to Know about Prince William County Juvenile Court.” The association has distributed copies to clerk’s offices, probations desks, and intake offices.

 

The Prince William County Bar Association Inc.

The association receives is second certificate this year for publishing the brochure “Appearing in Court Without a Lawyer: A Guide for Pro Se Litigants.”

 

Roanoke Bar Association

The Peace of Mind Project matched association members who specialize in estate planning with first responders, using the attorney’s own forms and procedures with the object of providing free estate planning documents for those who put their lives on the line every day for citizens. When the facts allow, the first responder’s spouse’s plan is included at no charge.

 

Virginia Women Attorneys Association and Virginia State Bar Diversity Conference

The two organizations presented the panel discussion “Diversity and the Rule of Law: Complementary or Contradictory” at the Annual Meeting in 2013. The panelists spoke on affirmative actions in college admissions. 

Updated: Jun 03, 2014
June 02, 2014

Virginia State Bar Announces 2014 Law in Society Contest Winners

Timothy Park, a freshman at Trinity Christian School in Fairfax, has been awarded first place in the 2014 Law in Society Contest sponsored by the Virginia State Bar and its Litigation Section.

Park won for his essay "Sammy Senior's Legal Woes in the Age of Social Media." He will receive $2,300. This year’s essay contest asked students to address a situation where an 18-year-old male student was filmed drinking at a party. An older student recorded the scene on video, e-mailed it to the younger student’s school principal, and posted the video and pictures to social media websites. The student was then suspended from school based on the information seen on the websites. The essay is available at http://www.vsb.org/site/public/2014-winning-essay.

The Law in Society award was developed to increase awareness of and appreciation for the U.S. Constitution and legal system. Park’s essay was among dozens submitted by public, private, and homeschooled students in the equivalent of high school. Park will receive his award during a ceremony at Trinity Christian School on Wednesday, June 4.

Mara Reichle, a junior at York High School in Yorktown, and Laura Cross, a senior at Douglas Freeman High School in Richmond, placed second and third, respectively. Reichle will receive $1,850 and Cross $1,350.

Five honorable mentions will be awarded to: Lydia Cawley of Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, DoñaMaria Reed of Landstown High School in Virginia Beach, Bailey Holland of James River High School in Midlothian, Christiana Johnson of Glen Allen High School in Henrico, and Grace Baggett of Mountain View Christian Academy in Winchester.

Each honorable mention will be awarded $250. All winners will receive plaques commemorating their win and the newest edition of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style.

Updated: Jun 02, 2014
June 01, 2014

Virginia State Bar E-News, June 2014

Check your mail – Dues statements will be mailed June 18. The annual dues must be physically received at the Virginia State Bar by July 31, or delinquency fees will be assessed. All active members must pay the Clients' Protection Fund assessment and provide a completed and signed Mandatory Certification Regarding Professional Liability Insurance, also by July 31. Separate fines will be assessed for unpaid dues, unpaid CPF fees, and incomplete liability insurance certifications. Beginning June 18, you may renew your membership, certify your liability insurance coverage, join VSB sections, and pay your dues online by going to Member Login on the VSB home page.  Beginning this year Corporate Counsel registrants may also use this feature.

Enclosed in your dues statement is a request for voluntary contributions to Legal Services Corporation of Virginia. Please take a moment to read the appeal and consider a donation.

The Advisory Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, a subcommittee of Judicial Council, seeks comments on proposed amendments to Rule 2:803, Business Records Rule Reformatting, and Rule 4:11, Numerical Limit on Requests For Admissions, of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Effective May 16, 2014, the Supreme Court of Virginia has amended rules 5:1A, 5:17, and 5A:12, and added rule 5A:1A. All concern Penalties for Non-compliance; Show Cause; Dismissal, and Petitions for Appeal.

Effective July 1, 2014, the Court has added Rule 1A:8, Military Spouse Provisional Admission.

The VSB Executive Committee is seeking comments on a proposal to add e-mail and phone numbers to members’ address of record. Comments are due by August 15 to the VSB offices or publiccomment@vsb.org.

Register for the June 19 VSB & Legal Information Network for Cancer webinar, Meeting the Legal Needs of Individuals Facing Serious Illness Through Pro Bono: Part 4 – Social Security Benefits.

Congratulations to the newly elected, reelected, and Court-appointed members of the Virginia State Bar Council.

Last call for Annual Meeting online registration. Online pre-registration will be accepted until 5 p.m. Monday, June 9, or register on-site in Virginia Beach. Kevin E. Martingayle of Virginia Beach will be sworn in as the 76th VSB president on Friday, June 13.

Download the new Mobile App to access up-to-date information on the 2014 Annual Meeting. Also, the Annual Meeting is now on Twitter @VSBAnnualMeet and #VSBAnnualMeeting.

The 2014 Midyear Legal Seminar is headed to Madrid, Spain, November 4-11, with an optional extension trip to Barcelona, November 11-15. Limited space is still available. Don’t delay; register right away. See the VSB’s Midyear Seminar website for details.

Beginning in June, the Virginia Lawyer Register will appear in Virginia Lawyer magazine rather than as a separate publication. The combined Virginia Lawyer and Virginia Lawyer Register will be published six times per year.

Awards:

Updated: May 30, 2014
May 30, 2014

Last call for Annual Meeting online registration

Annual Meeting art

Last call for Annual Meeting online registration. Online pre-registration will be accepted until 5 p.m. Monday, June 9, or register on-site in Virginia Beach. Kevin E. Martingayle of Virginia Beach will be sworn in as the 76th VSB president on Friday, June 13.

Everything you love about the Annual Meeting with a whole new twist.

Download the new Mobile App to access up-to-date information on the 2014 Annual Meeting.

#VSBAnnualMeeting

Updated: May 30, 2014
May 29, 2014

Roanoke Bar Association is First Recipient of Bar Association of the Year Award

The Virginia State Bar has named the Roanoke Bar Association as the first winner of its Bar Association of the Year Award.

The award, sponsored by the VSB Conference of Local Bar Associations, recognizes lasting and exemplary contributions to the legal community and the community at large in Virginia. The award also recognizes the dedication of local and statewide bar associations and emphasizes the importance of close cooperation between the Virginia State Bar and bar leaders.

The Roanoke Bar Association has an extensive record of providing services to the community, performing charitable works, and offering pro bono services. Members of the Roanoke Bar have participated in Barrister Book Buddies with the Roanoke City Public Schools for fourteen years. They have worked with the Salem/Roanoke County Bar Association to offer Rule of Law classes in middle schools since 2009 and this year held classes in twelve schools. Members have offered You and the Law educational seminars to the public since 2009. In addition, members offer free wills, powers of attorney, advance medical directives, and estate planning to first responders; participate in the Red Cross blood drive; financially support the Roanoke Law Library; and share in the Oliver Hill Mentoring Program.

The association’s charitable works are provided through the Roanoke Law Foundation and include Santa at the Station, a holiday party for underprivileged children, and a number of grants and scholarships.

In its nominating letter, the Roanoke Bar Association noted that it “prides itself in providing exceptional opportunities for members to network with colleagues from the bench and the bar, to further their legal services, to participate in community service activities, and to be recognized for their contributions. An extraordinary effort is continuously being made to raise the esteem in which our profession is held by encouraging members to participate in these activities and take advantage of everything the RBA has to offer.”

The award will be presented on June 13 during the Virginia State Bar Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach.

Updated: May 29, 2014
May 23, 2014

Kathleen M. (Katie) Uston Named Local Bar Leader of the Year

Kathleen M. Uston, an assistant bar counsel with the Virginia State Bar, is the recipient of this year’s Local Bar Leader of the Year Award from the Conference of Local Bar Associations.

The award recognizes continued dedication of bar leaders and close cooperation with the Virginia State Bar.

Uston has been an active member of the Alexandria bar since she graduated from George Mason University School of Law in 1991. She is a past president of the Alexandria Bar Association and the VSB Young Lawyers Conference. She has served on the VSB Council and Executive Committee and is a former vice chair of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Solo and Small Firm Committee. She recently completed her term as immediate past president of the Alexandria Bar Association Board of Directors and serves on the board as well as on the Program Committee of the National Organization of Bar Counsel.

In nominating Uston for the award, Dipti Pidikiti-Smith noted her extensive service to the Alexandria Bar Association dating to the 1990s, where as president she helped support the launch of the Resolver Program, through which volunteer attorneys work with pro se litigants in custody and visitation disputes. Uston has helped strengthen the relationship between the association and Legal Services of Northern Virginia and has collaborated with LSNV on various projects including working to implement the Jazz 4 Justice program in Alexandria, a portion of the proceeds from which go to benefit LSNV.

“Katie contributes a sense of integrity in the legal profession, promotes collegial relationships among the association’s members and involvement in the bar and responds to the legal needs within the community,” Pidikiti-Smith wrote. “Katie has inspired and motivated me and peers to service through her leadership.”

The award will be presented June 13 during the Virginia State Bar Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach.

Updated: May 23, 2014
May 21, 2014

Portsmouth Assistant Public Defender Named Young Lawyer of the Year

Edwin Wu photo

Edwin J. Wu, an Assistant Public Defender in Portsmouth, has been named the recipient of the Virginia State Bar Young Lawyers Conference 2014 R. Edwin Burnette Jr. Young Lawyer of the Year Award.

The award recognizes a young lawyer who demonstrates dedicated service to the conference, the legal profession, and the community. It is named in honor of Lynchburg Judge R. Edwin Burnette Jr., past president of the VSB (1993-1994) and the YLC (1985-1986). The award will be presented on June 13, 2014, at the Virginia State Bar Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach.

Wu has been a member of the Portsmouth Public Defenders Office since September 2013. He is also an adjunct professor at Norfolk State University where he teaches business law and federal income taxation to undergraduate students.

Christopher R. Fortier, the recipient of last year’s award, praised Wu for his work on organizing the Professional Development Conference in Virginia Beach and for implementing the Minority Pre-Law Conference at Regent University School of Law. Over the past year, Wu volunteered at the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia and the Community Tax Law Project. Wu also assists with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program that provides free tax preparation services to the military and the community.

In his nominating letter, Fortier described Wu as “a true community servant and a mentor for the profession’s next generation. His impact on this profession has already been large as he has opened new avenues for minority students to get the education they need to serve their communities without leaving home.”

Updated: May 21, 2014
May 21, 2014

Registration Open: VSB-LINC Pro Bono Webinar on Social Security Benefits

Meeting the Legal Needs of Individuals Facing Serious Illness Through Pro Bono: Part 4 – Social Security Benefits

Thursday, June 19, 2014, 2–3:30 p.m.

Attendance at the previous webinars in the series is not a prerequisite.

Session Description: Many seriously ill individuals are no longer able to work because of their illness and they (and their families) are eligible to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) income and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This free, 90 minute nuts and bolts webinar will provide an overview of the laws governing Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income disability, including eligibility requirements; handling social security claims; and appeals process. Joanna L. Suyes, a social security disability attorney with Marks & Harrison, will provide attendees with critical information about common legal issues that will help them to assist pro bono clients through the Social Security benefits process.

By registering for this free CLE program, attendees agree to accept a pro bono referral from a recognized pro bono legal services program. (1.5 hours of MCLE Credit Approved)

Please register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5830824869726828545

After registering, you will receive a confirmation e-mail containing information about joining the webinar.

This webinar series is co-sponsored by the VSB and Legal Information Network for Cancer (LINC).

View System Requirements

Updated: May 21, 2014
May 19, 2014

Christine E. Marra Named Legal Aid Award Winner

Marra photo

Christine E. (Christie) Marra, a family and housing law attorney with the Virginia Poverty Law Center, has been selected as the recipient of the 2014 Virginia Legal Aid Award by the Virginia State Bar’s Access to Legal Services Committee.

The award recognizes lawyers employed by legal aid societies licensed by the VSB. Recipients are chosen for their advocacy, quality of service, and impact beyond their service area.

Marra began her legal career working with a legal aid program in the coalfields of southwest Virginia. She was hired by the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society in Richmond, where she worked for thirteen years as a family and housing law attorney for the urban poor in the Richmond area. In 2004 she joined the Virginia Poverty Law Center, which provides legal aid training and public policy advocacy.

In nominating Marra, John E. Whitfield, executive director of Blue Ridge Legal Services Inc., said that at legal aid field offices and at the poverty law center Marra has done outstanding work leading the legal aid community’s advocacy in the areas of family law, children’s rights, and housing issues. She also was awarded the Family Law Service Award by the VSB Family Law Section in 2010.

State Senator George L. Barker wrote: “For twenty-two years, (Marra) has worked to provide legal assistance to those who most need it and can least afford it.… I turn to her for counsel on issues related to poverty, housing discrimination, and access to education.”

A nominating letter signed by seven members of the Virginia Poverty Law Center noted that Marra “has provided direct representation and legislative and regulatory advocacy on issues such as foster care, adoption, domestic violence, divorce, child support, public benefits and low-income housing. Her vigilance and persistence have led to reforms that make a measurable difference in the lives of Virginians who face hard times.”

Marra graduated from the University of Virginia in 1988 and earned her law degree from the University of Richmond in 1991.

The award will be presented during the Virginia State Bar Annual Meeting June 13 in Virginia Beach.

Updated: May 19, 2014
May 16, 2014

Supreme Court of Virginia Adopts Rule Changes and Amendments

Effective May 16, 2014, the Supreme Court of Virginia has amended rules 5:1A, 5:17, and 5A:12, and added rule 5A:1A. All concern Penalties for Non-compliance; Show Cause; Dismissal, and Petitions for Appeal.

Effective July 1, 2014, the Court has added Rule 1A:8, Military Spouse Provisional Admission.

Updated: May 16, 2014
May 15, 2014

Comments Sought on Amendments to Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia

The Advisory Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, a subcommittee of Judicial Council, seeks comments on proposed amendments to Rule 2:803, Business Records Rule Reformatting, and Rule 4:11, Numerical Limit on Requests For Admissions, of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Comments on the desirability of this reformatting of Rule 2:803(6) into this outline format – with the intention of keeping the standards and doctrines of business records law in Virginia unchanged – may be sent by August 15 to Steven Dalle Mura, Director of Research, Supreme Court of Virginia, 100 North Ninth Street, Richmond, VA 23219, or by e-mail, with the subject line "Rule 2:803(6)," to proposedrules@courts.state.va.us.

Comments on draft Rule 4:11 may be sent by August 15 to Steven Dalle Mura, Director of Research, Supreme Court of Virginia, 100 North Ninth Street, Richmond, VA 23219, or by e-mail, with the subject line: "Rule 4:11(e)," to proposedrules@courts.state.va.us.

Updated: May 15, 2014
May 13, 2014

Virginia Beach attorney to be sworn in as 76th VSB President

Kevin E. Martingayle will be sworn in as the 76th VSB president during the VSB Annual Meeting on Friday, June 13.

Special hotel room rates at Hilton Oceanfront, Hilton Garden Inn and Sheraton expire on May 20.  Make your hotel reservations immediately!

Online pre-registration will be accepted until Monday, June 9, at 5:00 p.m.

... or register on site in Virginia Beach.

The registration fee of $185 entitles you to attend all of the VSB CLE programs scheduled on Friday and Saturday, June 13 and 14, as well as many of the social events scheduled during the weekend. First Time Attendees — $130

New this year: Annual Meeting Mobile App for Android, iPhone and iPad.

#VSBAnnualMeeting

Updated: May 15, 2014
May 13, 2014

Martha JP McQuade is recipient of Diversity Conference Achievement Award

McQuade photo

Martha JP McQuade is the recipient of the 2014 Virginia State Bar Diversity Conference’s Clarence M. Dunnaville Jr. Achievement Award. McQuade is being honored for fostering, encouraging, and facilitating diversity and inclusion in the bar, the judiciary, and the legal profession

In her letter nominating McQuade, last year’s recipient, Darrel Tillar Mason, wrote: “Equality is the very foundation of Martha's character. Whether it be arguing for equal locker room facilities as a college student at the University of Texas, calling attention to the inequities among the genders in her first career as a journalist, or advocating for equal pay for women and the advancement of women to the bench in her current legal vocation, she is a constant advocate for equal rights and gender equality in all aspects of her life.”

McQuade is a partner with McQuade Byrum PLLC in Alexandria. She has practiced family law for twenty years. She has served on the Fairfax Bar CLE Committee, the Virginia State Bar Bench-Bar Committee, and the Virginia Supreme Court Judicial Education Committee. She is a past president of the Virginia Commission on Women and Minorities in the Legal System and the Women's Bar Association of the District of Columbia. She is a past chair of the District of Columbia Bar Rules/Regulations/Board Procedures Committee and immediate past chair of the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board.

She has lectured for the American Bar Association, the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, the Virginia Women's Attorneys Association, the District of Columbia Bar, and other groups. She is a regular contributor to and volunteer for the Human Rights Campaign, Habitat For Humanity, and other organizations.

Mason concluded that, “Martha is passionate about diversity and equality. But more importantly, she is willing to step forward and work actively in any forum available to tackle obstacles and advocate for the disenfranchised. . . These are all qualities which make her a worthy recipient of the Clarence M. Dunnaville Jr. Achievement Award.”

The award will be presented June 14 during the Virginia State Bar Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach.

Updated: May 19, 2014
May 08, 2014

Register for the Annual Meeting by May 12 and Save

Registration is open for the 76th Annual Meeting, June 12-15, in Virginia Beach. If you mail in your registration by Monday, May 12, you will save $25.

Check out our showcase CLEs, hotel offerings, our new mobile app, and more, and then mail in your registration.

Updated: May 08, 2014
May 08, 2014

University of Richmond Graduate Named Pro Bono Award Winner

Kathleen Dwyer photoKathleen Dwyer, a graduate of the University of Richmond School of Law and Virginia Tech, is the winner of the 2014 Oliver White Hill Law Student Pro Bono Award.

The award, named for a late Virginia civil rights litigator, recognizes a law student’s commitment to uncompensated or minimally compensated pro bono work and other public service. It is bestowed by the Virginia State Bar Committee on Access to Legal Services.

During her law school career, Dwyer volunteered with an intensive writing project through the law school’s Pro Bono Veterans Appeals Program and served as part of the writing team that prepared a veterans law update for the Federal Circuit Bar Association that was published in the FCBA Journal. Dwyer also participated in the Criminal Appeals program at the Harry L. Carrico Center for Pro Bono Service, where she worked with attorney Cullen D. Seltzer of Sands Anderson in the representation of an indigent defendant. Dwyer wrote the appellate briefs and argued the case before the Virginia Court of Appeals.

In nominating Dwyer, Seltzer wrote: “(Dwyer’s) work on behalf of an unpopular indigent, accused of the most serious crimes, which work (she) has undertaken without compensation of any sort, is consistent with the highest ideals of the bar and our profession. I hesitate to guess the amount of time she has given to this representation but I would expect that hundreds of hours would be no exaggeration. That zealous work was recognized by high praise paid to her presentation by the judges of the Court of Appeals that heard her arguments in Mines v. Commonwealth. Judges on the court’s writ and merits panels were complimentary of her work and expressed the hope that she would continue that sort of work before that court in the future. I hope so, too.”

The award will be presented on June 13 during the Virginia State Bar’s Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach.

Updated: May 08, 2014
May 02, 2014

Council Members Announced

The following persons have been newly elected, reelected, or Court-appointed to three-year terms on the Virginia State Bar Council. The terms begin July 1, 2014.

Circuit Representatives

Newly elected:

Steven G. Owen of Virginia Beach, 2nd Circuit

Lisa A. Bertini of Norfolk, 4th Circuit

W. Hunter Old of Williamsburg, 9th Circuit

Charles H. Crowder III of South Hill, 10th Circuit

Brian L. Buniva of Richmond, 13th Circuit

Jon A. Nichols of Glen Allen, 14th Circuit

Jennifer L. Parrish of Fredericksburg, 15th Circuit

James F. Davis of Fairfax, 19th Circuit

Gary H. Moliken of Fairfax, 19th Circuit

Jay B. Myerson of Reston, 19th Circuit

Michael M. York of Reston, 19th Circuit

Reelected:

Nancy G. Parr of Chesapeake, 1st Circuit

Judith L. Rosenblatt of Virginia Beach, 2nd Circuit

Leonard C. Heath Jr. of Newport News, 7th Circuit

Dale W. Pittman of Petersburg, 11th Circuit

Carolyn M. Grimes of Alexandria, 18th Circuit

Joyce Henry-Schargorodski of Fairfax, 19th Circuit

Dennis J. Quinn of Vienna, 19th Circuit

T. Huntley Thorpe III of Warrenton, 20th Circuit

Roscoe B. Stephenson III of Covington, 25th District

Newly appointed council members at-large:

William E. Glover, Fredericksburg

A. Benjamin Spencer, Zion Crossroads

Reappointed council members at-large:

Todd A. Pilot, Alexandria

The following persons will serve one-year terms on the council:

Conference representatives:

Mary M. Benzinger of Washington, DC — chair, Conference of Local Bar Associations
Eva N. Juncker of Silver Spring, MD  — chair, Diversity Conference
Renae R. Patrick of Winchester — chair, Senior Lawyers Conference
Maureen E. Danker of Fairfax — president, Young Lawyers Conference

Officers:

Kevin E. Martingayle of Virginia Beach — president
Edward L. Weiner of Fairfax — president-elect
Sharon D. Nelson of Fairfax — immediate past president

Updated: May 07, 2014
May 02, 2014

Online registration is open for the 76th Annual Meeting, June 12-15, 2014, in Virginia Beach.

Register by May 12 for the discount.

Updated: May 02, 2014
May 01, 2014

Virginia State Bar E-News, May 2014

The VSB Executive Committee is seeking comments on a proposal to add e-mail and phone numbers to members’ address of record. Comments are due by August 15 to the VSB offices or publiccomment@vsb.org.
 
On April 8, 2014, the Standing Committee on Unauthorized Practice of Law withdrew UPL Opinion 217: Non-Lawyer Acting as Prosecutor in Criminal Contempt Proceeding.  It was presented as a draft opinion on December 10, 2013.

The Standing Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law has withdrawn proposed amendments to UPR 1-101 : Representation before Tribunals.

Register for the May 6 webinar Pro Bono and Elder Law: End of Life Planning.

Register for the May 15 VSB & Legal Information Network for Cancer webinar, Part 3 -- Meeting the Legal Needs of Individuals Facing Serious Illness Through Pro Bono.

Beginning in June, the Virginia Lawyer Register will appear in Virginia Lawyer magazine rather than as a separate publication. The combined Virginia Lawyer and Virginia Lawyer Register will be published six times a year.

Member survey finds satisfaction and offers suggestions for improvement of the VSB.

Lawyers Helping Lawyers wants to know how it can better serve the legal profession. Take the survey.

Online registration is open for the 76th Annual Meeting, June 12-15, 2014, in Virginia Beach. Register by May 12 for the discount.

Download the new Mobile App to access up-to-date information on the 2014 Annual Meeting.

The 2014 Midyear Legal Seminar is headed to Madrid, Spain, November 4-11. Limited space is still available. Don’t delay; register right away. See the VSB’s Midyear Legal Seminar website for details.

Stephen M. Quillen has been named the 2014 recipient of the Tradition of Excellence Award by the VSB’s General Practice Section.

The Rule of Law Award Reception and Ceremony will be held May 14 at the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond.

Updated: May 01, 2014
April 29, 2014

Bicycle Race Will Affect Traffic, Parking for IDT Seminar in Richmond on Friday

The USA Cycling Collegiate Road National in downtown Richmond on Friday, May 2, will cause traffic congestion and will limit parking for VSB members attending the Indigent Defense Training Seminar at the Richmond Convention Center. Participants should plan for extra travel time. For information on traffic patterns and parking, including the location of the recommended satellite lot, go to http://www.vsb.org/site/events/item/10th-idt-seminar.

Updated: May 02, 2014
April 28, 2014

Member Survey Finds Satisfaction and Offers Suggestions for Improvement

The results of our February survey of VSB members are in and available on our website. The survey was designed by the VSB and the American Bar Association Division for Bar Services, which collected and analyzed the data.

view survey results (PDF file)

Updated: Apr 28, 2014
April 25, 2014

Annual Meeting Features Showcase CLE Programs and Special Events

Additional Info

Register online now for the 2014 Annual Meeting

Registrations received prior to May 12 are at the discounted fee of $160.

First Time Attendees pay only $130.

VSB 76th Annual Meeting • June 12-15, 2014

Your Annual Meeting registration fee entitles you to attend the five showcase CLE programs on Friday and Saturday, and special events sponsored by the Virginia State Bar's conferences and sections.

Friday, June 13, 9:00 – 11:00 AM

Friday, June 13, 1:30 – 3:45 PM

Saturday, June 14, 9:45 – 11:45 AM

See the complete list of CLE programs and special events on the 2014 Annual Meeting website.
 
 

 

Updated: Apr 24, 2014
April 24, 2014

Midyear Legal Seminar – Madrid, Spain – It’s a Go!

The 41st Midyear Legal Seminar is headed to Madrid, Spain, November 5-12. Limited space is still available. Don’t delay; contact Stephany Pishko, our travel representative from Tour Plan International, to confirm hotel and airline availability. (804) 359-3217 x318; E-mail: s.pishko@tourplaninternational.com

The trip will include great opportunities for continuing legal education, a comparative law symposium with local attorneys, and a complete program of optional tours that will present the fascinating history and legendary culture of Madrid and surrounding regions. Limited space is still available.

Madrid is known for its art galleries, architecture, restaurants (think tapas all night long), and great nightlife. The Westin Palace Madrid will be our home base. We will be just steps away from the Parliament building, the Royal Palace, the Opera House, the Prado, Thyssen and Reina Sofia Museums, restaurants, and shopping.

Don’t delay; register right away. Details and registration information are on the Midyear Seminar webpage.

The Midyear Legal Seminars are paid for by the participants and not by bar dues.

Updated: Apr 24, 2014
April 24, 2014

Stephen M. Quillen Named Recipient of Tradition of Excellence Award

Quillen photoStephen M. Quillen, a third-generation solo practitioner in Russell County, has been named the 2014 recipient of the Tradition of Excellence Award by the Virginia State Bar’s General Practice Section.

The award recognizes a lawyer who embodies the highest tradition of personal and professional excellence and who has benefitted the community and enhanced the esteem of general practice attorneys in Virginia. It will be presented on June 14 during the VSB annual meeting at Virginia Beach.

Quillen was admitted to the Virginia bar in 1957 and joined his grandfather’s general practice firm in Lebanon, where he remains in practice. He has been a member of the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners since 1983.

He was nominated for the award by Joseph M. Bowen, an attorney in Tazewell, and Nancy C. Dickenson, assistant federal public defender in Abingdon. “For almost sixty years, Stephen M. Quillen has exemplified the highest level of legal ethics, scholarship, civility and advocacy as counsel for the citizens, businesses, Army Reserve and local government agencies of rural Russell County and the surrounding area in southwestern Virginia,” they wrote. They also cited his ability, insight, judgment and common sense while praising the “assistance and guidance that he has given hundreds of law school students and newly licensed lawyers. . . . He has devoted his life to the practice of law, to his family and to his community.” Their nomination was followed by more than two dozen letters of support.

Quillen served in the Judge Advocate General Corps – Army Reserve from 1957 to 1964. He retired with the rank of captain. He is a member of the Lebanon United Methodist Church, where he served on the board of trustees. He has been a vice president and coach for the Lebanon Little League, a member of the Ninth District Democratic Steering Committee, and a member of the Russell County Historical Society, which he also served as counsel. He is a member of the Town of Lebanon Planning Commission.

He received his undergraduate and law degrees from Washington and Lee University. He and his late wife Nancy reared three children and he has three grandchildren.

Updated: Apr 24, 2014
April 21, 2014

Registration Open: “VSB-LINC Pro Bono Webinar on Health Insurance Issues”

Meeting the Legal Needs of Individuals Facing Serious Illness through Pro Bono: Part 3 -- Health Insurance Issues
Thursday, May 15, 2014, 2 p.m.

(Attendance at Parts 1 & 2 are not a prerequiste for attendance. 1.5 hours of MCLE credit pending)

Session Description: Navigating medical insurance and long-term healthcare issues for seriously ill individuals can be daunting. These individuals and their families often require the assistance of an attorney to help them understand the rules and eligibility requirements of the federal healthcare programs as well as what to do when coverage and services are denied. This ninety minute webinar for volunteer lawyers will provide an overview of basic eligibility, services, and common legal issues in Medicare and Medicaid. The webinar also will briefly review options for private health insurance and premium tax credits through the Affordable Care Act.

Presenter: Jill Hanken, staff attorney, Virginia Poverty Law Center

By registering for this free CLE program, attendees agree to accept a pro bono referral from a recognized pro bono legal services program.

Please register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6510959672283390465

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

This webinar series is co-sponsored by the VSB and Legal Information Network for Cancer (LINC).

View System Requirements

Updated: Apr 25, 2014
April 18, 2014

Lawyers Helping Lawyers Survey

ALPS is funding an update of the organization’s 2008 survey by the College of William and Mary and LHL. The organization hopes to get a clearer picture of how it can improve its services.

To take the brief and anonymous survey, visit: https://wmsurveys.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_3HRjBS3f4Yg5ZhX  

Updated: Apr 24, 2014
April 15, 2014

Registration Open for “Pro Bono and Elder Law: End of Life Planning”

Webinar: Pro Bono and Elder Law: End of Life Planning
Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Approved for 1.5 hours of MCLE credits (no ethics credits) 

Session Description: Senior citizens often face an array of legal issues involving end-of-life decisions such as advance planning for medical care and the disposition of their estates.  Unfortunately, they also often lack the financial resources to retain private counsel and must rely on the assistance of volunteer lawyers. The Virginia State Bar, Virginia Poverty Law Center and Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services are offering a free webinar (CLE) for volunteer lawyers to assist them in the representation of senior citizens in these matters.  This 90-minute webinar covers basic substantive law in matters of estate planning, including simple wills, advanced medical directives, and  powers of attorneys as well as how and where to obtain pro bono cases. 

Presenters include David Hominik, Legal Services Developer, Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services; Yahne Miorini, LL.M, Miorini Law PLLC, President –Elect of Virginia Chapter of the Academy of Elder Law Attorneys; and Kathy Pryor, Staff Attorney, Virginia Poverty Law Center.

Note: By registering for this free CLE program, attendees agree to accept a pro bono referral from a recognized pro bono legal services program. 

Please register at  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7230156824835914497

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Updated: Apr 25, 2014
April 10, 2014

Executive Committee Seeks Comments on Proposal to Add E-mail and Phone Number to Address of Record

The Virginia State Bar Executive Committee is seeking public comment on proposed changes to Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia Part 6, § IV, Organization & Government of the Virginia State Bar, Paragraph 3.

3. Classes of Membership—

Members of the Virginia State Bar shall be divided into five classes, namely:  (a) Active Members, (b) Associate Members, (c) Judicial Members, (d) Disabled and Retired Members; and (e) Emeritus Members.  Each member shall submit in writing to the membership department of the Virginia State Bar an address of record which will be used for all membership and regulatory purposes, including official mailings and notices of disciplinary proceedings.  The address of record shall include a current street address, e-mail address (if any), telephone number, and any post office address the member may use. If a member’s address of record is not a physical address where process can be served, the member must submit in writing to the membership department an alternate address where process can be served. The alternate address is personal information and shall not be disclosed pursuant to Section 2.2-3704, Code of Virginia. Members have a duty promptly to notify the membership department in writing of any changes in either the address of record or any alternate address. Any change in either the address of record or any alternate address information shall be promptly reported in writing to the membership department or changed online at the Virginia State Bar website within thirty days of its effective date.  Members, by request, may have their names and addresses removed from the Virginia State Bar's membership list when it is distributed for other than official purposes.

Comments should be submitted to Karen A. Gould, Executive Director, Virginia State Bar, 1111 E. Main St., Suite 700, Richmond, VA 23219-3565, no later than the end of the business day on August 15, 2014. Comments may be submitted via e-mail to publiccomment@vsb.org.

Updated: Apr 10, 2014
April 08, 2014

Proposed Amendments to UPR 1-101 Withdrawn

The Standing Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law has withdrawn proposed amendments to UPR 1-101 regarding non-lawyer representation under a power of attorney.

Updated: Apr 08, 2014
April 08, 2014

Unauthorized Practice of Law Draft Opinion 217 Withdrawn

On April 8, 2014, the Standing Committee on Unauthorized Practice of Law withdrew UPL Opinion 217: Non-Lawyer Acting As Prosecutor In Criminal Contempt Proceeding. It was presented as a draft opinion on December 10, 2013.

Updated: Apr 08, 2014
April 01, 2014

Rediscover the Annual Meeting!

Register now at a discounted fee of $160 – which also covers all VSB-sponsored CLE programs on Friday, June 13, and Saturday, June 14. See the Virginia CLE website for separate registration for the Recent Developments in the Law on Thursday, June 12.

After May 12, 2014, the registration fee increases to $185.

First-time attendees pay only $130, regardless of when they register.

New this year, check out our exciting new Annual Meeting Mobile App for details on schedules, hotels, programs, speakers, sponsors, maps and more.

Updated: Apr 18, 2014
April 01, 2014

VSB Committee Sends Judicial Recommendations to Virginia Senators

Additional Info

View committee reports and recommendations (PDF download)

On March 26, 2014, the Virginia State Bar Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee interviewed ten candidates interested in the vacancy on the United States District Court, Western District of Virginia. The committee reports and recommendations have been forwarded to U.S. Senators Timothy M. Kane and Mark R. Warner.

Updated: Apr 01, 2014
April 01, 2014

Virginia State Bar E-News, April 2014

The VSB’s Standing Committee on Legal Ethics is seeking public comment on LEO 1874, “Limited Scope Representation--Reviewing Pleadings for Pro Se Litigants--Substantial Assistance and ‘Ghostwriting.’” Comments are due by May 2 to the VSB offices, or publiccomment@vsb.org.

The Standing Committee on Legal Ethics also issued LEO 1873, “Continued Use of Former Firm Name in URL after Firm Name Has Changed,” as final.

The Virginia State Bar is seeking public comment to a proposed amendment to the Bylaws of the Virginia State Bar and Council. Comments are due by May 5. 

The VSB now hosts Legal Ethics Opinions and a topical index, with summaries by Tom Spahn, a partner at McGuireWoods.

Beginning April 14, the VSB address will be 1111 East Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, VA 23219-3565. New Bar Cards, including the new address, will be sent to members in the fall. The office will be closed on April 11 for the move. VSB member login and interactive portions of the website will be down during the move. 

VSB Events:

VSB Awards:

Nominations are being sought for the following awards:

Updated: Apr 02, 2014
March 26, 2014

Comments Sought on Proposed Legal Ethics Opinion 1874

The Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Legal Ethics Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Legal Ethics Opinion 1874: Limited Scope Representation--Reviewing Pleadings for Pro Se Litigants--Substantial Assistance and “Ghostwriting.”

 The deadline for comments is May 2, 2014.

Updated: Mar 26, 2014
March 24, 2014

VSB Office Closed April 11 for Move to New Location

Beginning April 14, the VSB address will be 1111 East Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, VA 23219-3565. Staff email addresses and phone numbers will remain the same. The office will be closed on April 11 for the move. VSB member login and interactive portions of the website will be down during the move.

Updated: Apr 14, 2014
March 18, 2014

Bar Endorsement of ALPS Reaffirmed

Bickmore, an insurance and risk management consulting firm, has completed its review of the VSB’s endorsement relationship with ALPS. In light of the Bickmore report’s recommendations, the Special Committee on Lawyer Malpractice Insurance is not recommending any change in the bar’s endorsement of ALPS.

Bickmore was asked to:

• Review the current market conditions for lawyers' professional liability insurance;

• Recommend whether the Virginia State Bar should continue to endorse a malpractice carrier;

• Address marketplace changes and improvements since the inception of the program and the endorsement of ALPS in 2000;

• Research the range and viability of current alternatives to the endorsement program; and

• Consider the impact that discontinuation of the endorsement program would have on the Virginia malpractice insurance market and Virginia lawyers.

ALPS is moving forward with its plan to become an admitted carrier in all states in which it does business. The Special Committee on Lawyer Insurance and the Executive Committee had earlier authorized a letter be sent to the State Corporation Committee urging that the ALPS application to become an admitted carrier be granted, deeming it to be in the interests of Virginia's lawyers.

The Bickmore report concluded:

In our judgment, the relationship between ALPS and the Bar is sound. It is producing benefits that either ALPS or the Bar, working on their own, would not be able to realize. There is no insurance availability issue that would indicate the need for an endorsed program. However, because the current endorsed program exists and is working well, we conclude it should be continued under its current terms.

Updated: Mar 21, 2014
March 17, 2014

Registration Open: “Meeting the Legal Needs of Clients Facing Serious Illness Through Pro Bono”

Webinar: Meeting the Legal Needs of Clients Facing Serious Illness Through Pro Bono — Part 2: Relief from Creditors

April 23, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

(Attending Part 1 is not a prerequisite to registration. 1.5 hours MCLE credit pending)

This webinar session is a “nuts and bolts” presentation covering common issues and the substantive law on relief from creditors as it applies to the representation of individuals dealing with severe health needs. The presentation will cover the following topics:

a. Issue spotting. What are the broader areas of law that would be implicated for a person facing a severe health issue?

b. Litigation. A discussion of coverage, remedies, and common violations of the Fair Debt Collection Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Telephone Communication Protection Act, and other laws.

c. Review of Hospital Billing Practices (including indigent care rules)

d. Relief strategies that pro bono lawyers can use to provide fairly instant relief for their clients from creditors and third party collectors.

Presenter: Dale W. Pittman, The Law Office of Dale W. Pittman, P.C., Petersburg, VA
 
By registering for this free CLE program, attendees agree to accept a pro bono referral from a recognized pro bono legal services program.

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/17063677697391873

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Brought to you by GoToWebinar®
Webinars Made Easy®

Updated: Mar 17, 2014
March 13, 2014

Judge A. Ellen White Receives Family Law Service Award

The Honorable A. Ellen White, judge of the Campbell County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, has been named the 2014 recipient of the Family Law Service Award presented by the Virginia State Bar’s Family Law Section.

The award recognizes people and organizations that have improved family, domestic relations, or juvenile law in Virginia. It is to be presented April 24 at the section’s 30th Annual Advanced Family Law Seminar at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond.

Judge White was nominated for the award by Craig M. Burshem, director of the Division of Child Support Enforcement for the Virginia Department of Social Services. “Judge White has consistently given freely of her time, talent and energies to provide valuable services in advancing family law in Virginia, both to the Virginia legal community and directly to the citizens of Virginia. … Her leadership in the implementation, development, and expansion of the (Intensive Case Monitoring Program) has helped improve the quality of life for over 2,000 families in 31 jurisdictions throughout the Commonwealth.”

Judge White is the presiding judge of the Campbell County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court and has served two terms as Chief Judge of the 24th District Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts.  She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and a past president of the Virginia Council of Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court Judges. She has chaired the Law Revision Committee and the Judicial Administration Committee of the Judicial Conference of Virginia for District Courts.   

Prior to her appointment to the bench in 1994, Judge White was an attorney for eleven years in Lynchburg.  During her practice, she served as defense counsel in several capital murder cases, as president of the Family Law and the Criminal Law Sections of the Lynchburg Bar Association, and as a substitute district court judge for the 24th Judicial District of Virginia.  She has a B.A. degree from the College of William and Mary in 1980 and a J.D. degree from the University of Richmond’s T. C. Williams School of Law in 1983.

Updated: Mar 13, 2014
March 12, 2014

Legal Ethics Opinion 1864 Revised

The Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Legal Ethics has issued the following correction to LEO 1864:

Except for the last paragraph of the discovery agreement, referring to “certain sensitive materials,” the agreement does not raise any concern as to the defense lawyer’s compliance with Rule 1.16(e), as it explicitly provides that the lawyer will make the discovery materials a part of his file and furnish those materials to his client upon termination of the representation.

view LEO 1864 (PDF file)

Updated: Mar 12, 2014
March 12, 2014

Register Now for 2014 Midyear Legal Seminar in Madrid, Spain

Register prior to April 30 to insure the seminar is ‘a go.’  See the Virginia State Bar’s Midyear Seminar website for details, including the deposit deadlines and the registration brochure with information on flight schedules and  package costs.

The Westin Palace Madrid will be our home base. The VSB’s Midyear Legal Seminar will include great opportunities for continuing legal education, a comparative law symposium with local attorneys, and a complete program of optional tours that will present the fascinating history and legendary culture of Madrid and beyond. The Midyear Legal Seminars are paid for by the participants and not by bar dues.

Updated: Mar 12, 2014
March 10, 2014

Virginia Supreme Court Senior Justice Elizabeth B. Lacy Receives Leadership in Education Award

Justice Lacy photo
Elizabeth B. Lacy, Senior Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, has been named the recipient of the William R. Rakes Leadership in Education Award from the Virginia State Bar Section on the Education of Lawyers in Virginia.

The award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated exceptional leadership and vision in developing and implementing innovative concepts to improve and enhance the state of legal education, and in advancing relationships and professionalism among members of the academy, the bench, and the bar within the legal profession in Virginia. Justice Lacy was nominated by former Governor Gerald L. Baliles.

Anita O. Poston, partner in Vandeventer Black LLP, wrote that, “Justice Lacy’s professional career is stellar by any measure. Her accomplishments as a lawyer and a jurist are exceptional, and it is difficult to segregate her leadership in the field of legal education from her many contributions to the justice system generally. … She has been an extraordinary force for good and has provided leadership at both the state and national levels to improve the quality of legal education.”

The award was established in 2012 to honor former Virginia State Bar president and founder of the Education Section, William R. Rakes, a senior partner with the Roanoke firm of Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore.

The award is to be presented June 12, 2014, at the Virginia State Bar’s annual meeting in Virginia Beach.

Justice Lacy has served the legal profession as a lawyer, teacher, and judge for decades. She was appointed to the Supreme Court of Virginia in January 1989 by Governor Baliles and was elected to a twelve-year term by the General Assembly later that year and re-elected in 2001. She became a senior justice in 2007. Before joining the Court, Justice Lacy served as a judge on the Virginia State Corporation Commission, as a deputy attorney general in Virginia, as a legislative aide, in the Texas office of the attorney general, and as a staff attorney with the Texas Legislative Council. She also has been a teacher, first at an elementary school in Austin, Texas, early in her career and now at the University of Richmond School of Law. She has been a jurist in residence at Washington and Lee University, Georgetown University, Southern Illinois University, and Florida State University.

Justice Lacy received a B.A. in History from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana, in 1966. She received her law degree from the University of Texas Law School in 1969 and her Master of Laws degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1992.

 She has served on dozens of boards and committees in Virginia and across the country. She is now on the American Bar Association Task Force on International Trade in Legal Services; the Saint Mary’s College Alumnae Board; the Virginia Law Foundation; the Saint Mary’s College Board of Trustees; the ABA Presidential Task Force, 20/20 Vision; and the Virginia State Bar Section on the Education of Lawyers and Litigation Section Board of Governors. She is a member of the ABA, the American Bar Foundation, the National Association of Women Judges, the Virginia Bar Association, the Virginia State Bar, the Texas State Bar, the Texas Bar Foundation, the Virginia Women Attorneys Association, and the Lewis Powell Inn of Court.

Lacy and her husband D. Patrick Lacy Jr. have four children: Patrick, Kevin, Michael, and David.

Nominations are invited annually by the board of governors of the Section on the Education of Lawyers. The award is underwritten by Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore. 

Updated: Mar 10, 2014
March 06, 2014

James W. Korman receives VSB Family Law Section 2014 Betty A. Thompson Lifetime Achievement Award

James W. KormanJames W. Korman, president of Bean, Kinney & Korman in Arlington, has been named the 2014 winner of the Betty A. Thompson Lifetime Achievement Award by the Virginia State Bar’s Family Law Section.

The award recognizes people who have demonstrated excellence and integrity and have made a substantial contribution to the practice of family law in Virginia. The award will be presented during the section’s 30th annual Advanced Family Law Seminar on April 24, 2014, in Richmond.

Korman has practiced law for more than forty-five years and has been with his current firm since 1967. He is a highly regarded litigator who has served as president of the Arlington County Bar Association, been a member of the Virginia State Bar Council, served on the board for the Virginia Commission on Women and Minorities in the Law, served on the board of governors of the Family Law Section of the VSB, and has served as president of the Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. He also is an adjunct professor of trial advocacy at George Mason University School of Law.

In his letter nominating Korman, attorney Edward D. Barnes wrote that, “Jim has been one of the most active, widely recognized and respected family law attorneys for many years…. Jim is a highly skilled professional, and an ethical advocate for family law in Virginia.”

Terrence R. Batzli, a former recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, wrote that Korman’s “approach to the practice of family law, while always striving to seek the best result for his clients, is to do so in a very non-confrontational manner. He is always willing to discuss potential solutions to every pending issue in a manner which will effect the best result for his client.”

He received his law degree from the George Washington University School of Law in 1968. He received his bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary in 1965.

Updated: Mar 10, 2014
March 01, 2014

Virginia State Bar E-News, March 2014

The Virginia State Bar is seeking public comment to a proposed amendment to the Bylaws of the Virginia State Bar and Council. Comments are due by May 5.

The comment deadline for Proposed Rule 5.8: Procedures for Lawyers Leaving Law Firms and Dissolution of Law Firms is March 6.

The Standing Committee on Legal Ethics is seeking public comment on: Amendment to Rule 1.10: Imputed Disqualification: General Rule. The deadline is March 7.

The Supreme Court of Virginia will start posting its unpublished orders on its website.

Audio recordings of oral arguments made before the Supreme Court of Virginia are now available on Virginia's Judicial System Website beginning with cases heard January 7.

The VSB and the Legal Information Network for Cancer (LINC) is offering a free webinar Meeting the Legal Needs of Clients Facing Serious Illness Through Pro Bono - Part 1: Introduction and Opportunities. Wednesday, March 26, 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Nominations are being sought for the following awards:

Space is still available at the webcast locations for the Ninth Annual Indigent Criminal Defense Seminar: Advanced Skills for the Experienced Practitioner on May 2. You may register for webcasts in Weyers Cave and in Wytheville. The Richmond Convention Center location is sold out.

The VSB is sponsoring a VSB TECHSHOW at the Richmond Convention Center on May 19.

The Midyear Legal Seminar, which is paid for solely by the participants and not by bar dues, is headed to Madrid November 4-11. See the VSB’s Midyear Seminar website for details.

Beginning April 14, the VSB address will be 1111 East Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, VA 23219-3565. New Bar Cards, including the new address, will be sent to members in the fall.

Updated: Feb 28, 2014
February 28, 2014

Supreme Court of Virginia Has Amended Rule 1:18 Regarding Pretrial Scheduling Orders

Effective May 1, 2014, the Supreme Court of Virginia Has Amended Rule 1:18 Regarding Pretrial Scheduling Orders of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia.

view the amended Rule 1:18 (PDF file)

Updated: Feb 28, 2014
February 28, 2014

Comments Sought on Proposed Addition to VSB and Council Bylaws

The Virginia State Bar is seeking public comment to a proposed addition to the Bylaws of the Virginia State Bar and Council. Comments are due by May 2, 2014, to the VSB offices or publiccomment@vsb.org. Note that the proposed addition was amended by the Bylaw Committee after considering comments that were made after the original posting. The proposed amendment adds a new Part III to the bylaws providing for how the bylaws are to be amended as follows:

Part III Miscellaneous

Amending Bylaws

Upon motion of a Council member, the bylaws contained in either Part I or Part II may be amended at any regular meeting of the Bar Council provided there has been at least 30 days' notice of the proposed amendment to all Virginia State Bar members. Amendment of the bylaws must be by a two-thirds vote of the Council members present and voting at that regular meeting.

Any individual, business, or other entity may file or submit written comments in support of or in opposition to the proposed amendments with Karen A. Gould, the Executive Director of the Virginia State Bar, not later than May 2, 2014. Comments may be submitted via email to publiccomment@vsb.org.

 

Originally posted: Feb 28, 2014

Updated: Apr 09, 2014
February 24, 2014

Highlights of the February 22, 2014, Virginia State Bar Council Meeting

At its meeting on February 22, 2014, in Richmond, the Virginia State Bar Council heard the following significant reports and took the following actions:

Use and Disclosure of VSB E-Mail Addresses

The council approved the following amendment to the VSB e-mail policy.

The Virginia State Bar will send group e-mails to its members only:

1) in circumstances as determined to be appropriate by the executive director or a

majority of the officers of the bar,

2) in a periodic electronic newsletter of official bar news according to guidelines and in a

format to be determined by the Communications Committee, and

(3) in a periodic electronic newsletter by the president regarding items of interest, and

34) in the case of e-mails to their members from bar conferences, sections, committees

and task forces, e-mails may be sent as necessary.

Pursuant to Va. Code§ 2.2-3705.1(10), member e-mail addresses are exempt from public disclosure, provided the member has asked the VSB not to disclose it.  Such requests can be made on the annual dues statement or in writing to the membership department of the VSB.  In the absence of such a request, member e-mail addresses are record information subject to disclosure to third parties who ask for such information.

Updated: Feb 24, 2014
February 18, 2014

Gerald T. Zerkin Presented with Carrico Professionalism Award

The Virginia State Bar Criminal Law Section has presented its 2014 Harry L. Carrico Professionalism Award to Gerald T. Zerkin.Zerkin photo

The award was presented on February 14, 2014, during the section’s 44th Annual Criminal Law Seminar in Williamsburg. The award was named for the former Virginia Supreme Court chief justice who promoted the ideals of professionalism during his forty-two years on the state’s highest court.

U.S. Magistrate Judge David J. Novak, who presented the award, noted in his nominating letter that Zerkin had been one of the leading capital defense attorneys in the country for many years. “But it was his work defending 9/11 terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui that was well beyond the norm,” Novak wrote. “As one of the prosecutors in that case, I can tell you that the pressure … was enormous. … And while defending an alleged terrorist is never an enjoyable experience, Jerry also had to deal with a client who treated him terribly, often disparaging him with ethnic insults. Yet, Jerry persevered in the finest traditions of a Virginia lawyer and ultimately saved Moussaoui’s life.”

Zerkin worked for many years in the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Eastern District of Virginia. Federal Public Defender Michael S. Nachmanoff wrote that Zerkin “has served as learned counsel and consulted on dozens of authorized death penalty cases, including the stunning habeas victory in the case of Richard Stitt, a complete dismissal in the case of Darrell Rice, the reversal of a death verdict in the case of George Lecco, a twenty year term of imprisonment for Arthur Gordon, and a life verdict for Somali pirate Ahmed Salad.”

Last year’s Carrico Award winner, Claire G. Cardwell, wrote that as a young associate she worked with Zerkin. “To this day, I continue to try to emulate his professionalism and consistent willingness to help other attorneys…. He is a supremely talented and capable trial lawyer whose outstanding courtroom skills are complemented by his exceptional scholarliness.”

Zerkin earned his bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University, has master’s degree from the University of Virginia, and his law degree from the Boston College Law School. He began his legal career in 1976 and in 2001 became senior litigator in the Office of the Federal Public Defender, with the responsibility for defending federal capital cases. Since 2008 Zerkin has been Capital Case Resource Counsel, Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel Project of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, where he provides advice and assistance to federal defender offices and court-appointed counsel defending federal capital cases.

Zerkin has twice argued cases before the United State Supreme Court. He has made numerous presentations on criminal defense and capital punishment issues in Virginia and across the country.

Updated: Mar 07, 2014
February 12, 2014

Registration Open for “Meeting the Needs of Clients Facing Serious Illness Through Pro Bono”

Webinar: Meeting the Legal Needs of Clients Facing Serious Illness Through Pro Bono - Part 1: Introduction and Opportunities

Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
1.5 hours of MCLE ethics credits pending

Session Description: This webinar, the first in a series of five monthly webinars co-sponsored by the Legal Information Network for Cancer (LINC), will provide an overview of the various legal issues that individuals with serious illness and their families typically face and how pro bono can help meet their legal needs. This presentation will review Rule 6.1 of the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct (Voluntary Pro Bono Publico Service) and Comment 2 on “poverty law” and provide information about pro bono opportunities through LINC, medical-legal partnerships (MLPs), and other legal services organizations to assist patients with cancer and other serious illnesses. 

Presenters include Crista Whitman Gantz, Client Services Attorney from LINC, and Allison Held from the Medical-Legal Partnership – Richmond.  Future webinars in the series will cover areas of substantive law  including social security, relief from creditors, housing, and Medicare/Medicaid.

Registration for each webinar is limited to 100.  NOTE - By registering for this free training, registrants agree to accept a pro bono case referral from a recognized pro bono legal services program or provide financial support to a legal services or pro bono program.

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/5062545515503140610

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Updated: Feb 28, 2014
February 03, 2014

VSB to Evaluate Candidates for Judicial Vacancy

The Virginia State Bar has been asked by Senators Mark R. Warner and Timothy M. Kaine to evaluate candidates for a vacancy on the U.S. District Court – Western District of Virginia.

Candidates are to submit on or before March 3, 2014, a résumé, a brief writing sample and responses to a questionnaire (Word doc) available on the Virginia State Bar website.

Submissions should be sent electronically, and the original questionnaire should be submitted by mail. Interviews of candidates will be scheduled to take place on March 26, 2014, at the Virginia State Bar office at 707 E. Main Street, Suite 1500, Richmond. Contact VSB staff member Asha B. Holloman, holloman@vsb.org, (804) 775-0551, if you have any questions.

Updated: Feb 03, 2014
January 31, 2014

Virginia State Bar E-News, February 2014

The comment deadline for Proposed Rule 5.8: Procedures for Lawyers Leaving Law Firms and Dissolution of Law Firms has been extended to March 6, 2014.

The Standing Committee on Legal Ethics is seeking public comment on two proposals:

At its February 22 meeting, the Council will review for approval Unauthorized Practice of Law Opinion 217: Non-Lawyer Acting as Prosecutor in a Criminal Contempt Proceeding

Update February 18, 2014: Unauthorized Practice of Law Opinion 217 is no longer on the agenda for VSB Council to review. It will undergo further study by the UPL Committee.

The names of VSB members who were administratively suspended on October 9, 2013, for failing to comply with membership obligations have been posted, as required by the Rules of Court. The list is current as of January 28, 2014.

Virginia State Bar President-elect Kevin E. Martingayle is requesting nominations for VSB committees. The application deadline is February 28, and terms start July 1.

The Standing Committee on Lawyer Discipline calls for nominations for district committee vacancies to be filled by Council in June. 

The Solo and Small-Firm Practitioner Forum and Regional Bench Bar Conference will be at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville on March 7, 2014. The agenda and registration information will be posted as soon as it becomes available.

Space is available for the tenth annual Indigent Criminal Defense Seminar: Advanced Skills for the Experienced Practitioner. You may register for the May 2 event at the Richmond Convention Center or webcasts in Weyers Cave and Wytheville. 

February 7 is the deadline for the Commonwealth Law School Consortium Spring Interview Program in Richmond on Friday, March 21. Employers will be able to interview first- and second-year students for summer positions and May 2014 graduates for entry-level attorney positions.

Save the date. The Virginia State Bar is sponsoring a VSB TECHSHOW at the Richmond Convention Center on May 19.

Audio recordings of oral arguments made before the Supreme Court of Virginia are now available on Virginia's Judicial System Website beginning with cases heard Tuesday, January 7, 2014.

Beginning April 14, 2014, the VSB address will be 1111 East Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, VA 23219-3565. New Bar Cards, including the new address, will be sent to members in the fall.

Nominations are being sought for the following awards:

Updated: Feb 18, 2014
January 30, 2014

Comments Sought on Proposed Amendment to Rule of Professional Conduct 1.10

Additional Info

view the proposed rule amendment (pdf)

Pursuant to Part Six: Section IV, Paragraph 10-2(C) of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, the Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Legal Ethics (“Committee”) is seeking public comment on a proposed amendment to Rule 1.10 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

RULE 1.10

This proposed Rule amendment is intended to avoid a situation in which a lawyer avoids the imputation of a conflict of interest by avoiding the knowledge that another lawyer in the firm has a conflict as to the representation. Under the current standard of “knowing” that another lawyer in the firm is prohibited from undertaking the representation, a lawyer can avoid the application of Rule 1.10(a), which would impute a conflict to him, by willfully failing to learn the information that establishes the existence of the conflict. The proposed Rule amendment imputes a conflict if the lawyer “knows or reasonably should know” that another lawyer in the firm is prohibited from representing the client. The proposed amendment adds a new Comment [2a] to explain that the failure to maintain or use a system for identifying conflicts may be deemed a violation of Rule 1.10(a), if proper use of the system would have identified the conflict.

Inspection and Comment

The proposed amendments may be inspected at the offices of the Virginia State Bar, 707 East Main Street, Suite 1500, Richmond, Virginia 23219-2800, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Copies of the proposed amendments can be obtained from the offices of the Virginia State Bar by contacting the Office of Ethics Counsel at 804-775-0557, or can be downloaded from the Virginia State Bar’s website as a PDF.

Any individual, business, or other entity may file or submit written comments in support of or in opposition to the proposed amendments with Karen A. Gould, the Executive Director of the Virginia State Bar, not later than March 7, 2014. Comments may be submitted via email to publiccomment@vsb.org.

Updated: Jan 30, 2014
January 30, 2014

Comments Sought on Proposed Legal Ethics Opinion 1873

The Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Legal Ethics Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Legal Ethics Opinion 1873: Continued Use of Former Firm Name in URL after Firm Name Has Changed. The deadline for comments is February 28, 2014.

Updated: Jan 30, 2014
January 29, 2014

Virginia State Bar Council will review for approval Unauthorized Practice of Law Opinion 217

Updated April 8, 2014:

On April 8, 2014, the Standing Committee on Unauthorized Practice of Law withdrew UPL Opinion 217: Non-Lawyer Acting As Prosecutor In Criminal Contempt Proceeding. It was presented as a draft opinion on December 10, 2013.

 


Updated February 18, 2014:

Unauthorized Practice of Law Opinion 217 is no longer on the agenda for VSB Council to review. It will undergo further study by the UPL Committee.

---

At its February 22 meeting in Richmond, the Virginia State Bar Council will review for approval Unauthorized Practice of Law Opinion 217: Non-Lawyer Acting as Prosecutor in a Criminal Contempt Proceeding.

originally posted January 29, 2014

Updated: Apr 08, 2014
January 13, 2014

Supreme Court of Virginia Oral Arguments Available

Audio recordings of oral arguments made before the full Court during session are now available on Virginia's Judicial System Website beginning with cases heard Tuesday, January 7, 2014.

 

Updated: Jan 13, 2014
January 09, 2014

Nominations Sought for Virginia Legal Aid Award

The Virginia State Bar’s Special Committee on Access to Legal Services is accepting nominations for its Legal Aid Award. The nomination deadline is 5 p.m., Friday, March 28, 2014. The Access Committee asks that nominations be in writing and include a description of how the nominee exhibits the following qualities in his or her work:

  • Innovation and creativity in advocacy;
  • Experience and excellence in service;
  • Impact beyond his or her own program’s service area.

award criteria and more information

 

Updated: Jan 09, 2014
January 08, 2014

Nominations Sought for Oliver White Hill Law Student Pro Bono Award

The Virginia State Bar’s Special Committee on Access to Legal Services is accepting nominations for its Oliver White Hill Law Student Pro Bono Award. The award honors extraordinary student achievement in the areas of pro bono publico and under-compensated public service work in Virginia.

The nomination deadline is 5 p.m., Friday, March 28, 2014. The Access Committee invites submissions from law school deans, law school professors, and others, including non-bar members and organizations that are sufficiently familiar with candidates whose work meets or exceeds the qualifications.

award criteria and more information

 

Updated: Jan 08, 2014
January 07, 2014

Comment Deadline Extended for Proposed Rule 5.8

Procedures for Lawyers Leaving Law Firms and Dissolution of Law Firms

Additional Info

related story

The comment deadline for Proposed Rule 5.8: Procedures for Lawyers Leaving Law Firms and Dissolution of Law Firms has been extended to March 6, 2014.

Updated: Jan 07, 2014
January 06, 2014

Virginia State Bar E-News, January 2014

The Supreme Court of Virginia has approved the amended Rule of Professional Conduct  5.5: Unauthorized Practice Of Law; Multijurisdictional Practice of Law.

The Standing Committee on Ethics is seeking public comment to a proposed Rule 5.8: Procedures for lawyers leaving law firms and dissolution of law firms.

The VSB is seeking public comment to a proposed amendment to the Bylaws of the Virginia State Bar and Council.

The MCLE board is soliciting comments regarding proposed MCLE Opinion 20: Interpretive Guidance for Courses Approved under Supreme Court of Virginia Rule 1A:1(b)(3).

The Standing Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law is seeking comments on a proposal concerning representation before general district courts.

On December 10, 2013, the Standing Committee on Unauthorized Practice of Law issued UPL Opinion 217 as a draft opinion: Non-Lawyer Acting As Prosecutor In Criminal Contempt Proceeding.

Virginia State Bar President-elect Kevin E. Martingayle is requesting nominations for VSB committees. The application deadline is February 28, and terms start July 1.

Volunteers are needed to fill vacancies on the VSB’s boards and committees. Please submit nominations, along with a brief resume, by March 28 to nominations@vsb.org.

The Standing Committee on Lawyer Discipline calls for nominations for district committee vacancies to be filled by Council in June. 

The 44th Annual Criminal Law Seminar, sponsored by the VSB Criminal Law Section and Virginia CLE, is scheduled for February 7, 2014, in Charlottesville and February 14, 2014, in Williamsburg. Early registration deadline is January 24.

Tickets are available for the February 10, 2014, Young Lawyers Conference annual Bench-Bar Dinner honoring women and minorities in the legal profession. Justice Elizabeth A. McClanahan will be the keynote speaker.

Save the date. The Virginia State Bar is sponsoring a VSB TECHSHOW at the Richmond Convention Center on May 19. 

Updated: Jan 06, 2014
December 18, 2013

Volunteers Sought for VSB Committees

Virginia State Bar President-elect Kevin E. Martingayle invites Virginia lawyers to volunteer for bar committees. Appointments generally will be for three-year terms that run from July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2017.

A list of committees and an application form is available online. To be considered for an appointment, fax the form to the bar at (804) 775-0501 or e-mail it to holloman@vsb.org by February 28, 2014. Questions should be addressed to Asha Holloman at (804) 775-0551 or holloman@vsb.org. Persons of diversity are encouraged to apply.

 

Updated: Dec 19, 2013
December 18, 2013

Nominations Sought for Committee Vacancies

Volunteers are needed to serve on the Virginia State Bar’s boards and committees.  The Nominating Committee will refer nominees to the VSB Council for consideration at its June meeting.

Vacancies in 2014 are listed below.  All appointments or elections will be for the terms specified, beginning on July 1, 2014, unless otherwise noted.

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE:  6 vacancies (3 current members who are not eligible for reappointment and 3 current members are eligible for reappointment).  Filled from ranks of the council for 1-year terms, by council election.   

CLIENTS’ PROTECTION FUND BOARD:  3 lawyer vacancies (1 current lawyer member from the 6th disciplinary district who is not eligible for reelection; 2 current lawyer members from the 3rd and 8th disciplinary districts who are eligible for reelection.)  May serve 2 consecutive 3-year terms.  Elected by council.

JUDICIAL CANDIDATE EVALUATION COMMITTEE:  6 lawyer vacancies (of which 1 vacancy is to be filled by a member from the 27th, 28th, 29th or 30th  judicial circuits; 1 vacancy is to be filled by a member from the 10th, 21st, 22nd or 24th judicial circuits, 1 vacancy is to be filled by a member from the 17th or 18th  judicial circuits; 1 vacancy is to be filled by a member of the 6th, 11th, 12th, 13th or 14th judicial circuits; and 2 current members-at-large are not eligible for reelection).  May serve 1 full 3-year term.  Elected by council.

VIRGINIA LAW FOUNDATION BOARD:  3 vacancies (of which 2 current lawyer members are eligible for reelection) and 1 lay member (who is not eligible for reelection).  May serve 2 consecutive 3-year terms.  Elected by VLF Board on recommendation of council.

VIRGINIA CLE COMMITTEE:  6 lawyer vacancies (of which 6 lawyer members are eligible for reelection to 1-year terms).  Elected by VLF Board on recommendation of council.

AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION DELEGATES:  2 vacancies (of which 1 present delegate is eligible for reelection and the other vacancy will be filled by president-elect designate Edward L. Weiner).  May serve 3 consecutive 2-year terms.  Elected by council.  Term commences September 1, 2014.

Nominations, along with a brief résumé, should be sent by March 28, 2014, to
VSB Nominating Committee, c/o Asha Holloman, Virginia State Bar,
707 East Main Street, Suite 1500, Richmond, VA  23219-2800.

Updated: Dec 18, 2013
December 16, 2013

Unauthorized Practice of Law Draft Opinion 217 Issued

Updated April 8, 2014:

On April 8, 2014, the Standing Committee on Unauthorized Practice of Law withdrew UPL Opinion 217: Non-Lawyer Acting As Prosecutor In Criminal Contempt Proceeding. It was presented as a draft opinion on December 10, 2013.


On December 10, 2013, the Standing Committee on Unauthorized Practice of Law issued UPL Opinion 217 as a draft opinion: Non-Lawyer Acting As Prosecutor In Criminal Contempt Proceeding.  It will be presented to Council for review on February 22, 2014.  If approved, the Virginia State Bar will petition the Supreme Court of Virginia to adopt the opinion.  The opinion is not final unless and until it is adopted by the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Originally Posted: December 16, 2013

Updated: Apr 08, 2014
December 13, 2013

Comments Sought on UPL Proposal

Updated April 8, 2014:

The Standing Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law has withdrawn proposed amendments to UPR 1-101 regarding non-lawyer representation under a power of attorney.


Originally Posted: Dec 13, 2013:

The Standing Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law is seeking comments on a proposal concerning representation before general district courts. Comments are due by January 24, 2014 to Karen A. Gould, Executive Director, Virginia State Bar, 707 E. Main St., Suite 1500, Richmond, VA 23219-2800 or to publiccomment@vsb.org.

UPR 1-101 REPRESENTATION BEFORE TRIBUNALS

(D)  A non-lawyer, who is a friend or relative and holds a power of attorney for a principal who grants general authority with respect to claims and litigation pursuant to the Uniform Power of Attorney Act, may represent that principal in any civil action at law before a general district court when the amount in controversy does not exceed the sum of $5,000, exclusive of interest, attorneys’ fees and costs.  In carrying out this representation, the non-lawyer holding the power of attorney may appear, prepare and file pleadings and briefs, examine witnesses and present legal arguments on behalf of the principal.  The non-lawyer agent shall not be compensated directly or indirectly for providing this representation before a court or take any assignment of the principal’s claim or cause of action. 

UPC 1-6.  Paragraph (D) of this rule allows, but does not require, a friend or relative who is not a lawyer, holding an individual power of attorney for a principal that grants general authority with respect to claims and litigation to represent that principal, before a general district court within the limits set out in Paragraph (D).  This rule was added to address circumstances where the principal does not understand or cannot participate on his own behalf; or it is not practical or cost-effective for the principal to appear in court or hire a lawyer.   In its discretion, a court may decline to allow a non-lawyer to proceed with such representation.

Updated: Apr 08, 2014
December 09, 2013

MCLE Board Solicits Comments Regarding Proposed MCLE Opinion 20

Proposed MCLE Opinion 20
Interpretive Guidance for Courses Approved under Supreme Court of Virginia Rule 1A:1(b)(3)

The Supreme Court of Virginia has required through amended Rule of Court 1A:1(b)(3), effective February 1, 2014, that applicants filing to be admitted to practice in Virginia without examination must "[c]ertify in writing that the applicant has completed 12 hours of instruction approved by the Virginia Continuing Legal Education Board on Virginia substantive and/or procedural law within the preceding six-month period…."  For the purpose of this opinion these specialized courses shall be referred to as the “Rule 1A:1Reciprocity Course.”

The Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Board has determined that the 12 hours of instruction for Rule 1A:1 Reciprocity Courses shall address specific legal principles and concepts unique to Virginia. The MCLE Board solicits comments from members regarding proposed MCLE Opinion 20. The board will receive any input or comments to the address below through January 28, 2014.

MCLE BOARD
707 East Main Street
Suite 1500
Richmond, VA 23219
or Cartwright@vsb.org

 

Updated: Dec 09, 2013
December 04, 2013

44th Annual Criminal Law Seminar set for February 2014

The 44th Annual Criminal Law Seminar, sponsored by the VSB Criminal Law Section and the Virginia CLE®, is scheduled for February 7, 2014, in Charlottesville and February 14, 2014, in Williamsburg. Approved 7 MCLE credits (2 ethics). Register online now.  

Updated: Dec 04, 2013
December 03, 2013

Virginia State Bar E-News, December 2013

The Standing Committee on Ethics is seeking public comment to a proposed Rule 5.8: Procedures for lawyers leaving law firms and dissolution of law firms

The VSB is seeking public comment to a proposed amendment to the Bylaws of the Virginia State Bar and Council.

The Supreme Court of Virginia has established a Special Committee on Criminal Discovery Rules to study current Rule 3A:11 and the proposed amendments submitted by the Indigent Defense Task Force of the Virginia State Bar.

The Supreme Court of Virginia has adopted, effective February 1, 2014, a new Rule 1A:1, addressing admission to the Virginia bar without examination (often called “admission on motion”). 

The Supreme Court of Virginia is considering proposed Rule 1A:8 related to the provisional admission of military spouses to the Virginia bar.

In its Virginia Judicial Workload Assessment Report for the Supreme Court of Virginia, the National Center for State Courts has found that judicial boundaries should remain as they are and that the state is suffering from a shortage of judges.

Increasingly sophisticated Internet scams are continuing to target lawyers.

Edward L. Weiner, senior partner at Weiner Spivey & Miller PLC in Fairfax, is the new president-elect designee of the Virginia State Bar. He will assume the post at the annual meeting in June 2015.

The Standing Committee on Lawyer Discipline is making its annual call for nominations for district committee vacancies to be filled by Council in June 2014. Please review qualifications for eligibility

The Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board is to hear Kristen Dawn Dean’s reinstatement petition on January 24, 2014.

Employers will be able to interview first- and second-year students for summer 2014 positions, and May 2014 graduates for entry-level attorney positions. Employer registration deadline for the twelfth annual Government and Public Interest Interview Program is January 10, 2014.

Save the date. The Virginia State Bar is sponsoring a VSB TECHSHOW at the Richmond Convention Center on May 19. Details to come.

Updated: Dec 04, 2013
December 02, 2013

Comments Sought on Proposed Rule of Professional Conduct 5.8

Additional Info

view the proposed Rule 5.8 (PDF file)

The Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee On Legal Ethics Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Rule of Professional Conduct 5.8

Pursuant to Part Six: Section IV, Paragraph 10-2(C) of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, the Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Legal Ethics (“Committee”) is seeking public comment on a proposed new Rule of Professional Conduct, Rule 5.8, Procedures for Lawyers Leaving Law Firms and Dissolution of Law Firms.

RULE 5.8
Proposed Rule 5.8 is based on Florida RPC 4-5.8 and is not derived from an ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct. The proposed Rule codifies a number of the suggestions from LEOs on departing lawyers’ obligations into more concrete steps to follow. It does not change the Committee’s interpretation of a lawyer’s obligations in these circumstances, but it does make clear that these are obligations, not suggestions, and establishes default rules for situations where the lawyer and firm cannot agree on how to proceed, or where the client does not respond to the required notification.

Because of the significance of this issue, and the acrimony that often accompanies a firm departure or dissolution, the Committee believes that it will be helpful to have a Rule of Professional Conduct that explicitly dictates how and under what circumstances clients must be notified, rather than relying exclusively on advisory opinions.

Inspection and Comment
The proposed amendments may be inspected at the offices of the Virginia State Bar, 707 East Main Street, Suite 1500, Richmond, Virginia 23219-2800, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Copies of the proposed amendments can be obtained from the offices of the Virginia State Bar by contacting the Office of Ethics Counsel at (804) 775-0557, or can be found at the Virginia State Bar’s website at http://www.vsb.org/site/regulation/proposed-rule-changes/.

Any individual, business, or other entity may file or submit written comments in support of or in opposition to the proposed amendments with Karen A. Gould, the Executive Director of the Virginia State Bar, not later than March 6, 2014. Comments may be submitted via e-mail to publiccomment@vsb.org.

 

Originally posted December 2, 2013. Updated January 7, 2014, to change the comment deadline from February 14 to March 6, 2014.

Updated: Jan 07, 2014
December 02, 2013

Increasingly Sophisticated Internet Scams Continue to Target Lawyers

by James M. McCauley, VSB Ethics Counsel

The generic “Nigerian Mail Scam” is now on steroids.  Recently, a lawyer contacted us to warn that he almost fell prey to a well-orchestrated but fraudulent scheme in which the lawyer was asked to assist in the collection of debt arising out of the sale of goods by a national company located in Chesterfield County, Benco Dental Supply Company (Benco), and a U.K. company, Swallow Dental LTD.  The purported contact called for the sale of more than $4million of dental supplies by Benco to Swallow Dental.  The lawyer was contacted by e-mail when Benco supposedly defaulted on the contract by failing to deliver the goods.  Swallow Dental sought the lawyer’s assistance in recovering a portion of the purchase money that Swallow Dental had supposedly wired to Benco. The lawyer was asked for his fee agreement, which the lawyer sent to Swallow Dental, and the agreement was executed and returned to the lawyer to begin the representation.  The lawyer indicated that he checked the internet regarding both Benco and Swallow Dental, and concluded that they were legitimate companies, acting through corporate officers and employees whose identities were confirmed.  Both companies had web sites and other indicia of legitimacy.

The “client,” Swallow Dental, provided the lawyer with a copy of the purported sales agreement between the two companies, copies of wire transfer payments, and a string of e-mail communications leading up to the execution of the contract and its performance and breach thereafter.  The e-mail exchange included Swallow Dental’s attempt to obtain a refund of funds Swallow Dental claimed to have paid Benco, and informed Benco that Swallow Dental had now retained counsel to assist in the recovery of the debt.  The lawyer received a “cashier’s check” drawn on Chase Bank on Benco’s account.  The lawyer was ready to deposit this check in his trust account when his secretary observed that a Canadian postmark was on the envelope in which the check was delivered, and the envelope did not have a return address.  Since the debtor was a local company, the Canadian postmark was suspicious.  A call to the local company, Benco, revealed that the company’s identity had been hijacked and representatives of Benco warned the lawyer that the check was not theirs and that the collection case was a scam.

Dianne Karpman, a Los Angeles lawyer who represents lawyers and law firms, states that according to federal court documents, one group of scammers obtained $29 million from seventy different law firm trust accounts in the United States and Canada during a two-year period.  The good news, if there is any, is that the perpetrators of these scams are being caught and prosecuted.  An international coalition of agencies, including the US Postal Service, the FBI, the Secret Service, Toronto Police Services, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, have worked together to apprehend, try, and convict persons engaged in these crimes.  See Nigeria: How Nigerian Jailed in U.S. Stole U.S.$11 Million, Vanguard, September 12, 2013 at http://allafrica.com/stories/201309120403.html.

Lawyers, however, can take precautions and need to exercise reasonable diligence, especially when dealing for the first time with prospective clients over the Internet.  Most importantly, lawyers need to verify early on with whom they are dealing.  Contacting the local company, Benco, in this case proved that the lawyer was being targeted by a scammer.  Secondly, when receiving what may be a masterfully counterfeited and forged cashier’s check, the lawyer must not disburse against those funds until the check is “cleared” and not simply when the lawyer’s bank says the funds are “available.” Some lawyers have reported the possibility of a fraudulent check to the security department of the bank on which the check is allegedly drawn, which will result at least in the preparation of a “suspicious activity report” and either reporting the matter to the White Collar Crimes section of the local FBI office or filing a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center).  Alternatively, the lawyer in receipt of a cashier’s check under these circumstances can also file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (http://www.ic3.gov).

The drawee bank’s security department can confirm the validity of the check, and confirm whether the check is authentic or fraudulent.  If they determine that the check is fraudulent, the bank will report to the Controller of the Currency and to the United States Attorney’s office.  If the drawee bank determines that the check is good, then the lawyer may proceed with the transaction.  John Mueller, an Ohio lawyer who has advised lawyers and law firms under these circumstances, advises that a lawyer might consider sending the check directly to the bank on which it is drawn for collection.  This is a process banks used to follow daily when insurance companies and others used “drafts payable at” a specific bank to pay obligations, i.e., settlements.  The process involves the following steps:  the payee endorses the check and delivers or hands it to his or her bank officer; the bank officer affixes the bank’s endorsement.  This allows presentation of the check to the bank on which the check is drawn.  The lawyer’s banker then sends the endorsed check to the appropriate officer at the drawee bank, with a cover letter, on bank stationery, instructing the bank on which the check is drawn to hold the item for sufficient funds to pay the check (usually five to ten business days) and instructing the bank on which the check was drawn concerning the manner of remitting funds or for return of the check unpaid (in case of insufficient funds).  If your banker is unfamiliar with this process, have them check www.bankersonline.com for confirmation and the existence and validity of this process.  The reason for taking this approach is because the scammer has often tampered with the routing number on the check to cause delay in the item’s processing through the banking system.

If the lawyer has already deposited the cashier’s check into his or her trust account, the client/scammer will press the lawyer to quickly wire the “collected” funds to his or her account.  But the lawyer must resist the pressure and inform the “client” that no funds will be disbursed unless and until the funds have “cleared,” i.e., the bank on which the check is drawn has “paid” the item.  If it is a scam, of course, this is not going to happen, but at least the lawyer will not suffer the consequences of disbursing funds on a deposited check that is later proven fraudulent.

Some lawyers wonder if they are breaching their duty of confidentiality by reporting a possible fraudulent check scam to law enforcement authorities because they have undertaken an agreement to represent the “client” and cannot divulge information that would be detrimental to the interests of the “client.”  I addressed this issue in an earlier article “Internet Scams Target Lawyers,” March 28, 2011 (http://www.vsb.org/site/news/item/internet-scams-target-lawyers/ ) but since that time, authorities in New York, California, and South Carolina have likewise agreed that there is no duty of confidentiality owed to an internet scammer posing as a “client” solely for the purpose of perpetrating a crime in which the lawyer is the victim.  New York State Bar Ass’n Committee on Prof. Ethics, Ethics Op. 923 (May 18, 2012)(citing California and South Carolina authority, and citing with approval informal advice I posted on March 28, 2011).  As a practical matter, lawyers and law firms are reporting this criminal activity to law enforcement on a regular basis.  To my knowledge, none of these criminals has filed a grievance with the reporting lawyer’s state bar.

But the real issue here is common sense.  Lawyers cannot reasonably expect to receive the very generous fees these bogus cases promise without having to perform any work.  The cashier’s check arrives much too quickly and in many cases the lawyer has not even started any meaningful activity to collect the money.  As the saying goes, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”

Updated: Dec 02, 2013
November 25, 2013

Supreme Court of Virginia Has Established a Special Committee on Criminal Discovery Rules

The Supreme Court of Virginia has established a twenty-three-member Special Committee on Criminal Discovery Rules to study current Rule 3A:11 and the proposed amendments submitted by the Indigent Defense Task Force of the Virginia State Bar.

The committee, chaired by the Honorable Thomas D. Horne, judge of the Twentieth Judicial Circuit, is composed of representatives of the judiciary and the legislature, commonwealth's attorneys, defense attorneys, public defenders, law enforcement, and other interested stakeholders. The committee will make recommendations to the Court as to any amendments to Rule 3A:11, taking into consideration the various needs and concerns of interested stakeholders.

 

Special Committee on Criminal Discovery Rules

 

Circuit Judge Thomas D. Horne, chair

Delegate Robert B. Bell

Virginia Court of Appeals Judge Rossie D. Alston Jr.

Circuit Judge Marjorie T. Arrington

Circuit Judge Randy I. Bellows

Circuit Judge Michael L. Moore

Senator Richard H. Stuart

Thomas J. Bondurant Jr.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael N. Herring

Deputy Public Defender Bonnie Hoffman

Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael R. Doucette

Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Murray Shortt

Senior Assistant Attorney General Virginia B. Theisen

Professor David I. Bruck

Virginia M. Coscia

Sara N. Poole

Stephanie Merritt

Professor John G. Douglass

Douglas Ramseur

Alex N. Levay

Police Chief Timothy J. Longo Sr.

James McCauley

Sheriff Jack Davidson

Updated: Nov 25, 2013
November 25, 2013

Judicial Workload Study Finds Need for More Judges

The National Center for State Courts has completed an eighteen-month study of how and where Virginia’s judges are allocated and has found that judicial boundaries should remain as they are and that the state is suffering from a shortage of judges.

            The study was requested by the Virginia General Assembly in 2012. The Supreme Court of Virginia hired the NCSC to develop a weighted caseload system and address the issue of boundary realignment. The NCSC conducted the study between May 2012 and October 2013.

            In its Virginia Judicial Workload Assessment Report, the NCSC recommends that the General Assembly:

  • Fill nearly all current circuit court vacancies and create an additional thirteen judgeships to bring the total from 158 to 171;
  • Fill at least six of the current nine vacant general district court judgeships to bring the total number of sitting judges to 124;
  • Increase the number of juvenile and domestic relations judgeships from 117 to 134;
  • Retain the current court structure and existing jurisdictional boundaries.
Updated: Nov 25, 2013