News and Information
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 18, 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.
1.5 hours of MCLE ethics credits pending

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 15, 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
November 20, 2013

Comments Sought on Proposed Rule on Provisional Admission of Military Spouses

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

Comments on the proposed Rule should be sent by January 17, 2014, to:

Patricia L. Harrington, Clerk Supreme Court of Virginia
100 North Ninth Street
5th Floor
Richmond, VA 23219

OR via e-mail with the subject line "comment on military spouse Rule" to:
scvclerk@courts.state.va.us

 

Posted: Nov 20, 2013

 

Updated: Nov 26, 2013
November 20, 2013

Weiner Is President-elect Designee of the Virginia State Bar

Edward L. Weiner, founder and senior partner at Weiner Spivey & Miller PLC in Fairfax, is the new president-elect designee of the Virginia State Bar.

Weiner will take over as president for the 2015-16 year. He will follow Kevin D. Martingayle, who will be president for 2014-15 after the term of Sharon D. Nelson ends.

Weiner is president of the Fairfax Bar Association. He also is a past president of the VSB Conference of Local Bar Associations. In 2012 he was appointed to serve on the Virginia Supreme Court professionalism faculty.

Weiner founded Jazz 4 Justice, a fund-raising model to be used by local bar associations and university music departments to benefit their programs, in 2000. Numerous Virginia universities have joined this partnership between education, music, and law. This event has received an award from the American Bar Association as well as an award from the VSB for being an innovative fundraising program.

He is a graduate of the State University of New York at Binghamton, and received his J.D. from the University of Richmond and his LL.M in International Law from Georgetown University Law Center.

Weiner is a member of the board of directors of the George Mason University Center for the Performing Arts, serves on the board of directors of the University of Richmond Law School Alumni Association, and is the host of an annual Law Day celebration that benefits the Fairfax Law Foundation’s pro bono programs.

His practice areas are personal injury and medical malpractice.

He will become president at the VSB annual meeting in June 2015.

Updated: Nov 20, 2013
November 06, 2013

New Admission Without Examination Rule (Reciprocity)

Additional Info

view the Supreme Court of Virginia order (PDF file)

By order entered November 1, 2013, 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”).  Although the old and new rules are similar in many respects, there are several significant differences.

To continue encouraging other states to grant the same privilege to Virginia lawyers, the Court has retained the requirement that only lawyers who are admitted in jurisdictions that also admit Virginia lawyers without examination (i.e., “reciprocal” jurisdictions) are eligible for admission on motion in Virginia. The new rule requires that admission to the bar of the reciprocal jurisdiction must have been by examination.

Admission on motion is based on the premise that passage of a reciprocal state’s bar exam combined with the experience gained over the course of several years of recent successful law practice may be accepted in place of a second bar exam as evidence of one’s legal knowledge and ability. The minimum practice requirement has been reduced from five of the last seven years under the old rule to three of the last five years. New requirements for twelve hours of approved instruction on Virginia substantive law and/or procedure and familiarity with the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct have been added. Unchanged is the statutory requirement of a minimum of five years’ bar admission. Persons applying for admission on motion must still establish their good character and fitness to practice law in Virginia.

In what is perhaps the most significant change, the new rule drops the old rule’s requirement that one admitted on motion commit to practice full-time in Virginia; and lawyers admitted on motion, including those who have been admitted under the old rule, are no longer subject to potential license revocation if they move out of state or change their status. Lawyers admitted on motion may change their membership status under the applicable membership rules in the same manner as lawyers admitted by examination.

The Supreme Court of Virginia will be issuing revised regulations consistent with the provisions of new Rule 1A:1, and the Board of Bar Examiners is preparing new application forms. The new regulations and the application forms will be available in January on the board’s website, and the board will begin accepting applications under the new rule on February 1, 2014.

 

Updated: Nov 21, 2013
November 04, 2013

2014 High School Essay Contest Explores Fallout from Social Media Posting

Does a school have the right to suspend a student based on information from other students’ social media postings? Does a student have the right to sue a person for secretly filming and posting activities that lead to the student’s suspension?

Those are the questions the Virginia State Bar is asking students to address in this year’s Law in Society essay contest.

Virginia high school students are invited to submit essays for a chance to win the Law in Society competition and cash prizes. The contest is co-sponsored by the Virginia State Bar's Litigation Section and the VSB Communications Committee. The deadline for submissions is February 13, 2014.

The essay contest asks students to address a situation where an 18-year-old male student is filmed drinking at a party. An older student films the scene, e-mails it to the younger student’s school principal, and posts the film and pictures to social media websites. The student is then suspended from school based on the information seen on the websites.

All Virginia students age 19 or younger and enrolled in grades 9–12 or a home-school equivalent are eligible to submit an essay.

Essays are limited to 750-1,000 words, and are judged on how well they demonstrate the student’s understanding of the role and value of the legal system in everyday life. Entries will be judged by attorneys, judges, and educators. The purpose of the contest is to awaken an interest in law and appreciation of the U.S. Constitution.

The first place winner will receive $2,300 and the winning essay will be published on the VSB website. Other awards include $1,850 (second place), $1,350 (third place), and honorable mentions of $250 each. All winners receive a plaque and copy of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. Awards will be presented in May at the winners’ schools.

More information, including contest rules and last year’s winning essay, is posted at http://www.vsb.org/site/public/law-in-society.

 

Updated: Nov 04, 2013
November 04, 2013

James M. Hingeley Jr. Joins Council 16th Judicial District Delegation

Additional Info

related article

James M. Hingeley Jr., the public defender in Charlottesville, will replace Alex R. Gulotta as a Circuit 16 representative on the Virginia State Bar Council. Hingeley was the only nominee for the seat from which Gulotta resigned. Hingeley will fill the unexpired term that ends June 30, 2016.

Updated: Nov 04, 2013
November 04, 2013

VSB Disciplinary Board to Hear Kristen Dawn Dean Reinstatement Petition on January 24, 2014

Additional Info

View Dean Petition (PDF)

View Dean Revocation (PDF)

Deadline for comment: January 8, 2014

Pursuant to Part 6, Section IV, Paragraph 13-25 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, Kristen Dawn Dean petitioned the Court on February 11, 2013, for reinstatement of her license to practice law.  The Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board will hear the petition on January 24, 2014, at 9 a.m. in the State Corporation Commission, Courtroom A, Tyler Building, 1300 East Main Street, Richmond, Virginia.  After hearing evidence and oral argument, The Disciplinary Board will make factual findings and recommend to the Supreme Court whether the petition should be granted or denied.

The Disciplinary Board seeks information about Ms. Dean’s fitness to practice law.  Written comments or requests to testify at the hearing may be submitted to Barbara S. Lanier, Clerk of the Disciplinary System, 707 East Main Street, Suite 1500, Richmond, Virginia 23219, or to clerk@vsb.org no later than Wednesday, January 8, 2014.  Comments will become part of the public record.

The Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board revoked Ms. Dean’s license by Order of Revocation entered on August 30, 2006.  The Order of Revocation found that Ms. Dean had not complied with an Order of Suspension with Terms entered by the Disciplinary Board on December 16, 2005.  Specifically, the Order of Revocation found that Ms. Dean had failed to pay restitution of $4,882.75 by June 1, 2006, as required by the Order of Suspension with Terms.

At the time of the revocation of Ms. Dean’s law license, Ms. Dean’s prior disciplinary record consisted of a five-year suspension of her law license imposed by the December 16, 2005, Order of Suspension with Terms.  The Order of Suspension with Terms reflected an Agreed Disposition between the Virginia State Bar and Ms. Dean.  Ms. Dean’s five-year suspension resulted from her mishandling of settlement proceeds from a personal injury case.

In her petition for reinstatement, Ms. Dean stated that she was licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia in April 1999.  She described the conduct that ultimately led to the revocation of her license to practice law as an isolated incident involving one client and stated that she paid the restitution in full to the parties listed in the Order of Revocation in 2006.

Ms. Dean stated that, since the revocation of her license to practice law, she has remained involved in the legal profession by working as a legal assistant.  She also stated that she has attended legal seminars and participated in writing legal briefs under the supervision of licensed attorneys.  Ms. Dean further stated that she has completed more than 100 hours of continuing legal education, including 10 hours in legal ethics, within five years of the date of her petition for reinstatement; that she took the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination in March 2012 and received a scaled score of 85 or higher; that she has reimbursed the Virginia State Bar for all costs, together with any interest, previously assessed against her; and that she is a person of honest demeanor and good moral character who possesses the requisite fitness to practice law.

Copies of the Order of Revocation and Petition for Reinstatement are available by contacting clerk@vsb.org  or (804) 775-0539.

 

Updated: Nov 06, 2013
November 01, 2013

Virginia State Bar E-News, November 2013

The Standing Committee on Legal Ethics issued Legal Ethics Opinion 1870 as final on October 4, 2013: Application of Rule 4.2 in Cases Where a Guardian Ad Litem Has Been Appointed to Represent a Child.

The Standing Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law issued UPL Opinion 216 as final on October 8, 2013: Probation Officers’ Recommendations in Pre-Sentence Reports.

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

The Council is seeking public comment on a proposed amendment to the Policy Concerning the Use and Disclosure of VSB E-mail Addresses.

Highlights of the October 4, 2013, Virginia State Bar Council Meeting

Experienced judges and lawyers will provide practice tips at the December 3 First Day in Practice seminar.

The Virginia State Bar Standing Committee on Lawyer Discipline seeks nominations for the 2013-14 District Committee vacancies.

The VSB is seeking nominations for the following awards:

Harry L. Carrico Professionalism Award
Betty A. Thompson Lifetime Achievement Award
Family Law Service Award
William R. Rakes Leadership in Education Award

The Conference of Local Bar Associations Bar Leaders Institute will be on Friday, November 15, at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond.

Register now for “Pro Bono: What’s In It for Me? How Private Attorneys Can Do Well By Doing Good”  -- a December 5 webinar. CLE credits are pending.

Updated: Nov 01, 2013
October 28, 2013

Registration is Open for the Annual Bar Leaders Institute

To register for the November 15, 2013, BLI at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, go to:
http://www.vsb.org/docs/conferences/clba/BLI-Agenda-2013-14.pdf

 

Updated: Oct 28, 2013
October 22, 2013

Unauthorized Practice of Law Opinion 216 Now Final

UPL 216 – Probation Officers’ Recommendations in Pre-Sentence Reports.

 

Updated: Oct 23, 2013
October 21, 2013

Registration CLOSED “Pro Bono: What’s In It for Me? How Private Attorneys Can Do Well By Doing Good”

Additional Info

See the Resources for Attorneys Pro Bono page for a recording of this and other webinars.

Registration for the second VSB webinar “Pro Bono: What’s In It for Me? How Private Attorneys Can Do Well By Doing Good” is full.

This free webinar is a follow-up to “An Introduction to Pro Bono: We Can All Do Something,” a webinar that set forth why more pro bono lawyers are needed in Virginia. Pro bono is an excellent way for lawyers to provide legal assistance to the poor and enhance their careers. The focus of the second webinar will be how pro bono can be professionally, commercially, personally, and even financially beneficial to the individual attorneys who provide volunteer legal services as well as to their law firms and offices (and the legal profession). The webinar will cover the tangible and intangible benefits to the volunteer lawyer of providing pro bono legal representation. MCLE approval pending.

Learning Objectives:  During this webinar, attendees will:

  • Learn about how pro bono enhances the legal practice of the volunteer lawyer and makes sense as a “business decision.”
  • Receive information about how their pro bono work might qualify for the Neighborhood Assistance Program tax credits.
  • Be able to develop strategies for increasing their pro bono hours from last year (or starting volunteer lawyer service if they had not previously done so).
  • Gain a greater appreciation of pro bono’s intangible benefits and why pro bono is simply the right thing for every lawyer to do by hearing from a private attorney who performs pro bono legal service regularly.

 

Presenters:      

  • Ann Kloeckner, executive director, Rappahannock Legal Services Inc., Fredericksburg, VA
  • Lauren Mehosky, director of Community Engagement, Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia, Norfolk, VA
  • Private Attorney (TBD)

 

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

 

Updated: Dec 10, 2013
October 17, 2013

Comments Sought on Proposed Amendment to VSB and Council Bylaws

Additional Info

The proposed amendment 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.

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 January 24, 2014, to the VSB offices or publiccomment@vsb.org. The proposed amendment adds a new Part III to the bylaws:

Part III Miscellaneous

Amending Bylaws

(a) Upon motion of an active member of the Virginia State Bar in good standing, 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.

(b) Without additional notice to all Virginia State Bar members, the text of the proposed bylaw amendment may be amended by a majority vote of the Council members present and voting at that regular meeting.

OR

(b) Without additional notice to all Virginia State Bar members, the text of the proposed bylaw amendment may be amended by a majority vote of the Council members present and voting at that regular meeting provided the amended text does not substantively or materially conflict with the intent of the proposed bylaw amendment, as determined by the President.

 

updated February 28, 2014
originally posted: Oct 17, 2013

Updated: Feb 28, 2014
October 08, 2013

Legal Ethics Opinion 1870 Now Final

LEO 1870 – Regarding communicating with represented persons in matters where a guardian ad litem has been appointed for a minor child.

Updated: Oct 08, 2013
October 08, 2013

Request for Nominations for Special Election to the VSB Council Sixteenth Judicial Circuit

The Virginia State Bar is seeking nominations to fill a vacancy in the 16th Circuit delegation, caused by the resignation of Alex R. Gulotta, for an unexpired term ending June 30, 2016. Under the election rules governing the VSB, the judicial circuit elects its representatives to Council by direct mail ballot. Any active VSB member in good standing whose bar address is in the 16th Circuit as of October 16, 2013, may run. No member of the Council shall be a member of a district committee. Nominations must be by petition (no special form required) signed by at least ten active in-good-standing circuit members, and must include their bar numbers. The petition must be accompanied by a statement of the candidate’s qualifications, not exceeding 150 words. It must be filed by the candidate in the office of the Executive Director by 4:45 p.m., on November 1, 2013, at 707 E. Main Street, Suite 1500, Richmond, VA 23219-2800 or Holloman@vsb.org. Ballots will be mailed November 6, 2013, accompanied by the statements of qualifications. Questions should be directed to Asha Holloman at (804) 775-0551 or Holloman@vsb.org.

 

Updated: Oct 08, 2013
October 07, 2013

Highlights of the October 4, 2013, Virginia State Bar Council Meeting

At its meeting on October 4, 2013, in Norfolk, the Virginia State Bar Council heard the following significant reports and took the following actions:

Amendments to VSB Bylaws Regarding Executive Committee Size

The motion to amend the Bylaws of Council, Part II, Article VI, "Executive Committee," Sec. 1, changing the total number of members from thirteen to sixteen failed by a vote of 28 to 28.

Rule Change

Council unanimously approved amendments to Rules of Professional Conduct 5.5 and Comments 5 and 13 regarding the temporary practice of foreign lawyers.

Paragraph 13-13 Amendments

Council approved by unanimous vote the proposed amendments to Paragraph 13-13 regarding participation and disqualification of counsel.

Clients' Protection Fund Limits and Assessment

Council approved 48 to 5 seeking an amendment Va. Code § 54.1-3913.1 to authorize the Supreme Court to continue the $25 CPF assessment beyond June 30, 2015.

Council voted 44 to 12 to refer the proposed per-claim limit increase to $100,000 to the CPF Board for consideration of a gradual phase-in.

Virginia Code § 2.2-1839 Amendment

Council approved by unanimous vote pursuing the amendment of Va. Code § 2.2-1839 to include a risk management plan for VSB pro bono volunteers.

YLC Website and Social Media Policy

Council approved by unanimous vote the proposed YLC website and social media policy.

 

Posted: Oct 07, 2013

Updated: Oct 08, 2013
October 07, 2013

Council Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Amendment to E-mail Policy

The VSB Council is seeking public comment on a proposed amendment to the Policy Concerning the Use and Disclosure of VSB E-mail Addresses. Comments are due by January 24, 2014, to the VSB offices, or publiccomment@vsb.org. The amendment provides for the distribution of periodic e-mails by the VSB president regarding items of interest.

See proposed amendment (PDF file)

Updated: Oct 07, 2013
October 04, 2013

Virginia Joins National Pro Bono Celebration

The legal community throughout the United States will be joining in the National Pro Bono Celebration the week of October 20-26.

National, state, and local legal organizations will conduct activities to focus attention on the increased need for pro bono legal services in these challenging economic times.  In Virginia, there are several events that will recognize and celebrate the efforts of volunteer lawyers as well as draw attention to the access to justice issues in the commonwealth.

The Virginia State Bar Access to Legal Services Committee is sponsoring a sold-out webinar titled An Introduction to Pro Bono: We Can All Do Something on October 21.

On October 24, the Greater Richmond Bar Foundation is sponsoring the Pro Bono Clearinghouse Award Ceremony from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Williams Mullen Building at 200 S. 10th St. in Richmond.

Also on October 24, the Norfolk & Portsmouth Bar Association is presenting No-fault Divorce in Virginia: A Practice and Legislative Primer, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Dominion Tower, Suite 415, in Norfolk.

On October 25, the DC Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and Equal Justice Works are collaborating to offer training for law students on potential immigration -- Law Student Training on Potential Immigration Reform and Stopping Notario Fraud  -- from noon to 1 p.m. at Crystal Gateway Marriott, 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington.

That will be followed on October 26 by Forum on Potential Immigration Reform and Stopping Notario Fraud from noon to 4 p.m. at the Crystal Gateway Marriott, also sponsored by AILA.

Updated: Oct 04, 2013
October 02, 2013

James V. Meath Is President of the Virginia Law Foundation

James V. Meath succeeded Manuel A. Capsalis as president of the Virginia Law Foundation on October 1, 2013.

“Jim Meath will be a terrific president,” Capsalis said. “His talents, experience and proven leadership abilities make him the perfect person to lead our foundation as we celebrate our 40th year as the philanthropic arm of Virginia’s legal profession. It has been my singular privilege to serve as president this past year, and I very much look forward to assisting Jim in fulfilling our mission of promoting and protecting the rule of law, improving access to justice, and supporting law-related education.”

Meath is the chairman of the board of directors for Williams Mullen, headquartered in Richmond. Throughout his career, he has been widely recognized across the commonwealth and beyond as one of the leading labor and employment attorneys in the United States.

Meath served as chairman of the board of governors of the Virginia Bar Association in 2003, was elected as the VBA’s 115th president in 2005, and is a past chair of the VBA’s Committee on Veterans Issues. He is a fellow of the Virginia Law Foundation and also serves as an adjunct professor at the T.C. Williams School of Law of the University of Richmond. 

He earned his juris doctor degree from the T.C. Williams School of Law, and holds a master’s degree in urban affairs from Virginia Tech. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Old Dominion University. In 2007, Old Dominion University presented him with the Distinguished Alumni Award from College of Arts and Letters.

 

Updated: Oct 02, 2013
October 01, 2013

Virginia State Bar E-News, October 2013

The MCLE deadline for completing your CLE requirements is October 31. Failure to complete 12 CLE hours, including two hours in ethics/professionalism, and four hours from live, interactive programs by the deadline will result in a $100 non-compliance fee. Please visit the MCLE page to check your credits, certify your MCLE attendance online, and see a list of approved courses.

The Supreme Court of Virginia has established the Virginia Access to Justice Commission. The commission’s mission is to promote equal access to justice in Virginia, with particular emphasis on the civil legal needs of state residents.

Register now for “An Introduction to Pro Bono: We Can All Do Something” – an October 21 Web seminar. CLE credits are pending. Registration, which is limited to 100 people, ends October 14. Registration has reached capacity. Look for the next free webinar in early December.

The Appellate Committee of the Virginia State Bar Litigation Section presents a free CLE on effectively handling appeals before the Court of Appeals of Virginia on October 30, 2013, in Fredericksburg.

The Virginia State Bar Standing Committee on Lawyer Discipline seeks nominations for the 2014-15 District Committee vacancies.

The VSB has updated its mobile member app for Apple iOS devices to allow access to records. The app was developed for Apple iOS devices and is now fully optimized for the iPad and iPad Retina.   

The Criminal Law Section is accepting nominations for the Harry L. Carrico Professionalism Award. Nominations are due by December 3.

Experienced judges and lawyers will provide practice tips at the First Day in Practice seminar. The December 3 seminar is sponsored by the VSB General Practice Section and the Young Lawyers Conference.  6 CLE credits, 2 ethics (pending). Space is limited. Check back for registration details.

Raymond M. White, who became executive director of Virginia CLE last year, has also been named executive director of the Virginia Law Foundation.

Support the Virginia State Bar Diversity Conference. Anyone can join, it’s free, and takes only about two minutes. Become a member today.

Mark your calendar now for the Conference of Local Bar Associations Bar Leaders Institute on Friday, November 15, at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond. Details will be available soon.

Updated: Oct 01, 2013
September 30, 2013

Joint ADR Committee and ABA Dispute Resolution Section to co-sponsor a seminar on October 15

"Brave New World for Mediation: Skills for Forging the Future," will offer 4 hours of CLE (1 ethics) and CME credit (approval pending).

October 15, 2013
11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
University of Richmond School of Law
28 Westhampton Way
Richmond, Virginia 23173

More information

 

Updated: Sep 30, 2013
September 30, 2013

Raymond White Named Executive Director of Virginia Law Foundation

Raymond M. White, who has been the executive director of Virginia CLE for a year, has also been named executive director of the Virginia Law Foundation.

White practiced entertainment, criminal, matrimonial, and child protective law in New York before joining Virginia CLE. He previously was the chief operating officer of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy when it was affiliated with The Notre Dame University. He also previously worked for the Michie Co. in Charlottesville and in Los Angeles.

The VLF was established in 1974 to serve as the non-profit vehicle for Virginia lawyers seeking to improve the administration of justice and promote the rule of law throughout Virginia. The foundation has awarded about $24 million in grants during its 39-year history. In addition to its work on continuing legal education through Virginia CLE, it supports the Capital Defenders Workshop, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), the Nuremberg Courtroom at the Virginia Holocaust Museum, The Rule of Law Project, and a number of organizations.

 

Updated: Sep 30, 2013
September 27, 2013

Nominations Sought for 2014-15 District Committee Vacancies

The Virginia State Bar Standing Committee on Lawyer Discipline calls for nominations for district committee vacancies to be filled by Council in June 2014. 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 (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 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th or 8th judicial circuits.

Second District Committee, Section I:  1 attorney vacancy; 3 non-attorney vacancies (2 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:  4 attorney vacancies (3 current members are eligible for reappointment); 1 non-attorney vacancy. The vacancies are to be filled by members from the 2nd or 4th judicial circuits.

Third District Committee, Section I:  1 attorney vacancy (current member is eligible for reappointment); 3 non-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 (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 6th, 11th, 12th, 13th or 14th judicial circuits.

Third District Committee, Section III:  3 attorney vacancies (2 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 6th, 11th, 12th, 13th or 14th judicial circuits.

Fourth District Committee, Section I:  3 attorney vacancies (all 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 17th or 18th judicial circuits.

Fourth District Committee, Section II:  3 attorney vacancies (2 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.

Fifth District Committee, Section I:  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 II:  3 attorney vacancies (all 3 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 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:  3 attorney vacancies (all 3 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 9th or 15th judicial circuits.

Seventh District Committee:  2 attorney vacancies (both current members are eligible for reappointment); 2 non-attorney vacancies (both current members are eligible for reappointment). The vacancies are to be filled by members from the 16th, 20th or 26th judicial circuits.

Eighth District Committee:  2 attorney vacancies (1 current member is eligible for reappointment); 2 non-attorney vacancies (1 current member is eligible for reappointment). The vacancies are to be filled by members from the 23rd or 25th judicial circuits.

Ninth District Committee:  3 attorney vacancies (1 current member is eligible for reappointment); 2 non-attorney vacancies (both current members are eligible for reappointment). The vacancy is to be filled by a member from the 10th, 21st, 22nd or 24th judicial circuits.

Tenth District Committee, Section I:  3 attorney vacancies (2 current members are 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 (all 3 current members are eligible for reappointment); 2 non-attorney vacancies (both current members are 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, 2014, to

Stephanie Blanton, Virginia State Bar,
707 East Main Street, Suite 1500, Richmond, VA 23219-2800
Blanton@vsb.org

 

 

Updated: Oct 02, 2013
September 16, 2013

Supreme Court of Virginia Establishes Access to Justice Commission

The Supreme Court of Virginia has established the Virginia Access to Justice Commission (PDF file). The commission’s mission is to promote equal access to justice in Virginia, with particular emphasis on the civil legal needs of state residents. The goals of the commission include coordinating access to justice activities among various groups, mobilizing legal professionals to provide legal services to low income individuals, and encouraging the development of auxiliary resources for underserved populations.

 

Updated: Sep 16, 2013
September 12, 2013

Mobile Member App Updated

Want to check on your MCLE credits or certify your latest course? Go to the iTunes store to download the Virginia State Bar app for mobile devices. The app allows you to check your contact information of record, certify courses, and access Fastcase from anywhere, using the same login and password you now use on your computer.

The app was developed for Apple iOS devices and is now fully optimized for the iPad and iPad Retina.

“Our new app allows us to leverage mobile technology to reduce costs and provide a higher level of service to our members,” said Bill Dickinson, director of Information Technology at the bar.

The VSB mobile member access app is available for free in the iTunes store.

 

Updated: Sep 12, 2013
September 04, 2013

VSB Informational Videos Debut

The first five of a planned series of informational videos about the work of the Virginia State Bar are available on YouTube. The videos discuss the Clients’ Protection Fund, Fee Dispute Resolution, the Senior Citizens Handbook, the So You’re 18 brochure, and the Virginia Lawyer Referral Service.

The videos were created as part of a project initiated by VSB President Sharon D. Nelson. Ms. Nelson noted that, “More people prefer to receive information via videos today. By making sure key VSB information is available to our members and the public, we help fulfill our regulatory, educational, and accessibility missions.” The videos were written by the VSB Publications Department, approved by the Special Committee on Communications, and produced in the studios of the Virginia Information Technologies Agency. They are intended to provide information about the bar and its services to the public and to our members.

The next set of five videos is in development.

 

Updated: Sep 12, 2013
September 04, 2013

Virginia State Bar E-News, September 2013

The Standing Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law Seeks public comment on two proposed UPL opinions.
- UPL 216 Probation Officers’ Recommendations in Pre-Sentence Reports.
- UPL 217 Non-Lawyer Acting as Prosecutor in a Criminal Contempt Proceeding

A Chesterfield County woman who was pretending to be a lawyer was convicted after being referred to the Hampton Circuit Court by the Standing Committee on Unauthorized Practice of Law.

The Committee on Lawyer Discipline seeks public comment on a proposed revision to Paragraph 13-13 regarding Participation and Disqualification of Counsel.

The VSB Young Lawyers Conference Professional Development Conference will be held in Richmond, Washington, D.C., and Virginia Beach, on October 4.  

An Introduction to Pro Bono: We Can All Do Something is a free webinar offered by the VSB Access to Legal Services Committee to recognize Celebrate Pro Bono Week. The October 21 seminar will discuss the growing need for pro bono lawyers, the rules of professional conduct that apply, available resources, and other information. CLE credits are pending. Registration, which is limited to 100 people, is September 9 through October 14.

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 6. 

Jazz 4 Justice, a benefit supporting the VSB Diversity Conference, Blue Ridge Legal Services, and James Madison University's School of Music scholarships will be held September 14 at JMU in Harrisonburg.

The first five of a planned series of informational videos about the work of the Virginia State Bar are available on YouTube. The videos discuss the Clients’ Protection Fund, Fee Dispute Resolution, the Senior Citizens Handbook, the So You’re 18 brochure, and the Virginia Lawyer Referral Service.

ALPS and the VSB are co-sponsoring a CLE Tour September 16-19, September 30, and October 3. The tour is approved for 3 hours of CLE (ethics). Visit www.alpsnet.com/vamcle for more information and to register.

Tax Controversy Today: New Developments and Practical Tips webinar, offered by the Community Tax Law Project and sponsored in part by the VSB Taxation Section, will offer practical tips and remedies to assist clients on September 17. Topics will include IRS Fresh Start initiatives, changes in IRS and Virginia OIC programs, recent Tax Court decisions, changes in how IRS appeals handles cases, and when and how to engage the Taxpayer Advocate Service. Wrap up will include a roundtable on hot issues. The registration deadline is September 13. CLE credits are pending.

 

Updated: Sep 04, 2013
September 04, 2013

Council Seeks Comment on Young Lawyers Conference Proposed Website and Social Media Policy

The VSB’s Council is seeking public comment on the Young Lawyer’s Conference proposed website and social media policy. Comments are due by September 20 to the VSB offices, or publiccomment@vsb.org.

Proposed VSB Young Lawyers Conference Website and Social Media Strategy

Goals/Objectives:

  1. Bring new traffic to our website and social media platforms
  2. Increase our return traffic
  3. Provide wider publicity for our events and projects
  4. Provide our more than 9,000 members with practice resources to increase competence and confidence in practice, in accordance with RPC 1.1
  5. Recruit volunteers to assist with our programs and projects

Tactics:

  1. Add Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus to our social media mix
  2. Continue with the Facebook group
  3. Create VSB YLC YouTube channel
  4. Manage all social media services through HootSuite
  5. Integrate all social media platforms into our website
  6. Create brochures for our programs published on our site and through e-mail
  7. Talk about our social media in public appearances and speeches
  8. Publish minutes from meetings on our website

Moderators:

The YLC website and social media coordinator will manage the operations of each page.  The YLC president and the YLC staff liaison also will have full access to the social media pages and full moderator/editing privileges, meaning all three will have the ability to post, monitor other users’ traffic, and delete inappropriate content as needed.  All social media sites will be monitored and moderated daily.

Guidelines for Use:

  1. All usage must be consistent with the rules and procedures set forth in the Virginia State Bar’s Policy Concerning the Use of Social Media on Behalf of Virginia State Bar and its Entities (Social Media Policy).
  2. Members may post to any VSB YLC social media site, however, such posts are subject to moderation or deletion consistent with the Social Media Policy. Social media will be monitored daily by the moderators. Any inappropriate material will be removed quickly.
  3. Accounts will be maintained by the YLC board member in charge of the website and social media, with co-moderation from the YLC president and the YLC staff liaison.
  4. Neither the Virginia State Bar nor the Young Lawyers Conference are responsible for the third party content on the social media sites.
  5. Members who want a YLC event publicized will coordinate with the board member in charge of social media to schedule postings on all social media platforms.
  6. Any use of passwords and any other security requirements must be consistent with information technology requirements for Virginia state agencies.

Disclaimer to be placed on all social media

“The Virginia State Bar’s use of external social media tools is provided as a public service. The Virginia State Bar and the Young Lawyers Conference disclaim liability for any external content or comments (including, but not limited to, ads, videos, and promoted content) that are written, created posted or published by any person other than the Virginia State Bar and the Young Lawyers Conference. Any such external content or comments constitute the speech of persons other than the Virginia State Bar and the Young Lawyers Conference, and the responsibility for such external content or comments rests solely and exclusively with persons providing them. Any inclusion of external content or comments does not imply endorsement by the Virginia State Bar or the Young Lawyers Conference. The Virginia State Bar and the Young Lawyers Conference reserve the right and may choose to reprint comments/materials placed on the social media websites to other media. The Virginia State Bar and the Young Lawyers Conference have the right, but not necessarily the obligation, to remove comments/materials from social media tools when those comments/materials, in the sole discretion of the Virginia State Bar or the Young Lawyers Conference are:

  • Potentially libelous;
  • Obscene or sexually explicit;
  • Hateful or mean-spirited;
  • Personal attacks, insults, profane, name-calling, or include threatening language;
  • Plagiarized material or material that potentially violates intellectual property rights;
  • Private, personal or confidential information published without consent;
  • Commercial promotions or spam;
  • Off-topic or that link to material that is off-topic;
  • Embedded images from external sources;
  • In violation any law or promote the violation of any law;
  • Intended to encourage or constitute prohibited discriminatory or harassing conduct; or
  • Made by a person masquerading as someone else.

In addition, the Virginia State Bar reserves the right to terminate a person’s ability to post comments/materials or otherwise participate in its social media tools when the person has posted any of the above listed inappropriate comments/materials.”

Updated: Sep 09, 2013
September 03, 2013

Registration Open for “An Introduction to Pro Bono: We Can All Do Something” – Webinar October 21

Celebrate Pro Bono Webinar

 “An Introduction to Pro Bono: We Can All Do Something”

Registration has reached capacity as of October 1. Look for the next free webinar in early December.

Monday, October 21, 2013, 2–3:00 p.m.

Session Description: As the legal community recognizes Celebrate Pro Bono Week, the need for pro bono services nationally is greater than ever during these challenging economic times.  According to the October 2012 Report of the Pro Bono Task Force of the Legal Services Corporation, nearly one in five Americans qualifies for civil legal aid assistance. Further, there has been an “explosion” in the demand for legal services, especially after the foreclosure crisis, as well as a significant increase in legal matters involving Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, health care, predatory lending, and immigration issues. At the same time, funding of legal aid and non-profit law offices which provide legal assistance to the poor has been severely cut. Against this backdrop, studies have found that 80 percent of the legal needs of low income people go unserved. Hence, there is a critical need for assistance from the private bar in order to help to offset the justice gap facing those lacking the economic resources to retain counsel.

This webinar will serve as an introduction to pro bono and overview of what constitutes pro bono, why more pro bono lawyers are needed in Virginia, and the rules of professional conduct that govern pro bono work. Participants will also be provided with information about resources that can assist them as they engage in pro bono work.

Registration now closed.

Learning Objectives: During this webinar, attendees will:

  1. Learn about the justice gap experienced by the poor and how pro bono can help alleviate the crisis in legal representation provided to the poor;
  2. Receive information about the Rules of Professional Conduct that specifically address pro bono representation issues;
  3. Gain a greater appreciation as to why every attorney should be able to provide some type of pro  bono assistance;
  4. Be able to identify and gain access to the resources to assist them as they provide pro bono legal assistance.

Presenters:     

  • Joanna Suyes*, Marks and Harrison; Chair, Virginia State Bar Access to Legal Services Committee
  • Alexandra Fannon*, Executive Director, Greater Richmond Bar Foundation
  • Erin E. Layman*, Erin E. Layman, PLC, Harrisonburg
  • Christopher M. Malone, ThompsonMcMullan, P.C., Richmond   

Outline:

  1. Welcome and Introduction of Presenters – Karl Doss, VSB, Access to Legal Services Director (5 minutes)
  1. Pro Bono – What is it? Why Is It Needed? Where Are There Opportunities for Pro Bono Work? – Speaker TBD (15 minutes)
  1. Overview of Rules of Professional Conduct that Apply to Pro Bono Practice – Joanna Suyes (15 minutes)
  1. Handling a Pro Bono Case: One Lawyer’s Experience – Erin Layman  (10 min)
  1. You Are Not Alone – Resources and Assistance – Ali Fannon  (10 min)  
  1. Questions – Wrap Up – Karl Doss (5 min)

 

originally posted 9/3/13

Updated: Oct 01, 2013
August 27, 2013

VA Certifies William & Mary Law School’s Puller Clinic

William & Mary Law School’s Lewis B. Puller Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic has joined the Department of Veterans Affairs Fully Developed Claims (FDC) Community of Practice, the VA announced in a press release August 21. The Puller Clinic is the first law school clinic in the nation to be invited to join the FDC Community of Practice.

Earlier this year, the pro bono attorneys affiliated with the clinic were named this year’s winners of the 2013 Lewis F. Powell Jr. Pro Bono Award for their service to veterans with service connected disabilities and to active duty service members.

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.

Updated: Aug 27, 2013
August 16, 2013

Woman who pretended to be lawyer convicted of obtaining money by false pretenses

Leslee Newsome-Bridgeman, of Chesterfield County, pled guilty and was sentenced on June 21, 2013, to five years in prison, with two years suspended, for obtaining money by false pretenses. She also was ordered to repay her victims $6,000.

Ms. Newsome-Bridgeman was prosecuted in Hampton Circuit Court after the Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Unauthorized Practice of Law referred the matter to the commonwealth’s attorney for the City of Hampton for unauthorized practice of law violations. 

Ms. Newsome-Bridgeman pretended she was a lawyer and was authorized to represent a group of people trying to obtain legal control over their church’s property. Ms. Newsome-Bridgeman charged the group $6,000. This case is one of many that demonstrate that investigation and enforcement of UPL violations may lead, in appropriate cases, to prosecution and conviction of related felony crimes.

 

posted 8/16/13

Updated: Aug 20, 2013
August 14, 2013

Jazz 4 Justice Benefit, September 14th

Date and Time:
Starts at 7:00 pm on September 14, 2013, up to midnight on September 14, 2013.

Event Details:
A benefiit supporting Virginia State Bar's Diversity Conference, Blue Ridge Legal Services, and JMU's School of Music scholarships.

JMU Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Chuck Dotas with JMU Faculty Andy Connell, Marlon Foster, Bob Hallahan, David Pope, and Taylor Barnett.

Jam sessions immediately following the concert in the Forbes Center Grand Lobby. Bring your instruments; musicians of all levels welcome!

Tickets are $15.

Address:
The event is at Forbes Center for the Performing Arts, James Madison University, 147 Warsaw Avenue, Harrisonburg, VA 22807.


View Larger Map

Updated: Sep 03, 2013
August 12, 2013

Standing Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law Seeks Public Comment on Proposed UPL Opinions

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.


The VSB Standing Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law seeks public comment on two proposed UPL opinions by September 9, 2013.

  • UPL 216 Probation Officers’ Recommendations in Pre-Sentence Reports
  • UPL 217 Non-Lawyer Acting as Prosecutor in a Criminal Contempt Proceeding
Updated: Apr 08, 2014
August 01, 2013

Virginia State Bar E-News, August 2013

The Virginia State Bar Standing Committee on Legal Ethics has approved advisory Legal Ethics Opinions 1871 and 1875 as final.

  • LEO 1871 Regarding inadvertent receipt of confidential information during the discovery phase of litigation.
  • LEO 1875 Regarding conflict issues when a government lawyer is furloughed from employment and asked to continue representing the agency.

The Clients’ Protection Fund Board is seeking public comment on proposed changes to the per attorney and per claim limits on payments from the fund. Comments due September 6, 2013. 

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 6. 

Reminder: Check your MCLE hours online. The MCLE compliance deadline is October 31. 

Rickey Gene Young has petitioned the Supreme Court of Virginia for reinstatement of his law license. The VSB Disciplinary Board will hear the petition on September 27. 

Effective September 9, 2013, the Supreme Court of Virginia will permit counsel in cases being argued before the full Court, or a panel thereof, to use personal computers in the courtroom during oral argument.  

Preparing For Violence in the Workplace: A Seminar for Lawyers and Other Professionals,” is a complimentary Web seminar offered by the Arizona State Bar that is available for free to bars across the country. 

Plans are under way to celebrate the 76th Annual Meeting of the Virginia State Bar June 12–15, 2014, in Virginia Beach.    

 

Updated: Aug 07, 2013
July 30, 2013

The Supreme Court of Virginia to Permit Use of Computers in Courtroom

Effective September 9, 2013, the Supreme Court of Virginia will permit counsel in cases being argued before the full Court, or a panel thereof, to use personal computers in the courtroom during oral argument pursuant to a policy set out below.

COMPUTERS IN THE COURTROOM
Counsel presenting oral argument before the full Court, or a panel thereof, is permitted to bring into the courtroom or panel room a laptop, tablet, or other personal computer solely for use during the presentation of oral argument. The computer shall not be used to record any oral argument or other proceeding; shall not be used to take still photos or make a video recording; shall be in silent mode; shall not be used to "tweet," email, instant message, or otherwise communicate while in the courtroom or panel room; and shall not be used to access the internet via any method. The computer must be kept in a case when not being used during counsel's argument. If counsel wishes to use a computer for this purpose, counsel must first request permission in writing from the Court at least 72 hours in advance of oral argument. The written permission received from the Court must be presented to the Capitol Police Officer when counsel arrives at the Supreme Court of Virginia building for oral argument. The Court reserves the right to deny such permission on any basis it deems reasonable.

Updated: Jul 30, 2013
July 26, 2013

Legal Ethics Opinions 1871 and 1875 Now Final

LEO 1871— Regarding inadvertent receipt of confidential information during the discovery phase of litigation.
LEO 1875— Regarding conflict issues when a government lawyer is furloughed from employment and asked to continue representing the agency.

Updated: Jul 26, 2013
July 23, 2013

Free Webinar on Workplace Violence

“Preparing For Violence in the Workplace: A Seminar for Lawyers and Other Professionals,” is a complimentary Web seminar offered by the Arizona State Bar that is available for free to bars across the country. Please see times and other details about this valuable program designed to help educate and provide our members with ways to promote a safer workplace. (This seminar is a member service and is not approved for MCLE credit.)

Updated: Jul 23, 2013
July 03, 2013

VSB Disciplinary Board to Hear Rickey Gene Young Reinstatement Petition on September 27, 2013

Pursuant to Part 6, Section IV, Paragraph 13-25 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, Rickey Gene Young petitioned the Court on October 24, 2011, for reinstatement of his license to practice law.The Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board will hear the petition on September 27, 2013, at 9 a.m. at the Workers’ Compensation Commission, 1000 DMV Drive, Courtroom A, Richmond. After hearing evidence and oral argument, the Disciplinary Board will make factual findings and recommend to the Supreme Court whether the petition should be granted or denied.

The Disciplinary Board seeks information about Mr. Young’s fitness to practice law. Written comments or requests to testify at the hearing may be submitted to Barbara S. Lanier, Clerk of the Disciplinary System, 707 East Main Street, Suite 1500, Richmond, Virginia 23219, or to clerk@vsb.org no later than September 18, 2013. Comments will become part of the public record.

On August 29, 2012, the clerk of the Supreme Court of Virginia forwarded to the executive director of the Virginia State Bar a Petition for Reinstatement filed by Rickey Gene Young.  The Supreme Court of Virginia directed the Virginia State Bar to forward the Petition for Reinstatement to the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board.  The Court directed that the matter be referred to the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board despite the fact that Mr. Young admitted in his petition that he had not met all the requirements the Virginia Supreme Court Rules of Court, Part Six, Section IV, ¶13-25.D, in particular ¶13-25.D.3 and D.4.

The following is a synopsis, pursuant to Part Six, Section IV, ¶13-25.J.5 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, of the Petition for Reinstatement filed by Mr. Young.

Mr. Young was licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia in September of 1980.  In 2001, Mr. Young was charged with several misdemeanors for contempt of court and for willfully failing to file tax returns in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia.  On August 17, 2001, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board suspended Mr. Young’s license to practice law for a period of eighteen months, effective August 1, 2001.  On August 26, 2001, Mr. Young began serving his prison sentence.  After finishing his term, Mr. Young tendered an affidavit consenting to having his license to practice law revoked.  At the time he tendered his consent to revocation, Mr. Young had ten open complaints against him.  The Disciplinary Board accepted Mr. Young’s consent to revocation by order dated February 26, 2003.

Mr. Young alleges in his petition that he was released from all probation in 2003.  In September of 2004, Mr. Young began working for the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development as an appeals hearing officer.

Mr. Young alleges that he has kept current with the state of law, has continued to read recent Virginia Supreme Court decisions, and has completed 100 hours of continuing legal education with 12 in ethics.  Mr. Young alleges in his petition that he successfully completed the Multi State Professional Responsibility Examination with a scaled score of 114, but does not indicate when or where he took the examination.  Mr. Young states that he is active in his church and community, working for homeless shelters.  He has paid back the costs assessed against him by the bar and has begun to pay back the Virginia Clients’ Protection Fund.

Copies of Mr. Young’s disciplinary orders are available from the clerk at clerk@vsb.org or (804) 775-0539.

Updated: Jul 25, 2013
July 01, 2013

Virginia State Bar E-News, July 2013

The VSB’s Council is seeking public comment on a proposal to increase the size of the Executive Committee from 13 to 16 members. Comments are due by September 13.

The VSB’s Multijurisdictional Practice Task Force is seeking public comment on proposed amendments to Comments 5 and 13 to Rule 5.5 of the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct. Comments are due by July 31.

The Virginia State Bar Council met on June 13, 2013, in Virginia Beach, during the Annual Meeting. Fairfax attorney Sharon D. Nelson was sworn in as the 75th VSB president on June 14, and Kevin E. Martingayle assumed the post of president-elect.

Dues statements were mailed on June 14. The annual dues must be received at the Virginia State Bar by July 31, or delinquency fees will be assessed. Pay online through the member login.

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. If your firm takes care of your dues payment for you, please ask the person responsible for opening and handling your dues form mailing to forward the legal aid donation letter to you personally.

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 6.

The Conference of Local Bars Associations honored bar associations at the VSB Annual Meeting for outstanding projects that serve the bench, bar, and people of Virginia.

Check your MCLE hours online. The MCLE compliance deadline is October 31.

Updated: Jun 27, 2013
June 24, 2013

Nominations Sought for Board and Committee Vacancies

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

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

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

Disciplinary Board: 5 lawyer vacancies and 2 lay member vacancies (of which 3 lawyer members are eligible for reappointment to a second 3-year term, 2 lawyer members are not eligible for reappointment, and 2 lay members are not eligible for reappointment). District committee service is required. May serve 2 consecutive 3-year terms.

Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Board: 5 lawyer vacancies (of which 3  current members are eligible for reappointment to a second term and 2 members are not eligible for reappointment). May serve 2 consecutive 3-year terms.

Nominations, along with a brief résumé, should be e-mailed to nominations@vsb.org, or sent by September 6, 2013, to
W. David Harless, Chair, VSB Nominating Committee
Virginia State Bar
707 E. Main St., Suite 1500
Richmond, VA 23219.

Updated: Jul 23, 2013
June 19, 2013

VSB Multijurisdictional Practice Task Force seeking public comment on proposed amendment to Rule 5.5

Additional Info

view proposed rule change (PDF)

The Virginia State Bar’s Multijurisdictional Practice Task Force (“MJP Task Force”) is seeking public comment on proposed amendments to Comments 5 and 13 to Rule 5.5 of the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct. Comments are due by July 31, 2013 to the VSB offices, or publiccomment@vsb.org.

Updated: Jun 19, 2013
June 19, 2013

VSB Dues Can Be Paid Online

Lawyers can now renew their Virginia State Bar membership and pay their dues online.

Online Membership Renewal is available to members in good standing with active, active/Virginia corporate counsel, and associate memberships. Members also still have the option of renewing by postal mail. Dues statements were mailed June 14, 2013.

The online service accepts individual attorney renewals only.

Access is provided through the secure “Member Login” area of VSB.org. As with the paper statements, members who choose “Online Membership Renewal” certify whether they are covered by a professional liability insurance policy, select what voluntary sections they wish to join, and pay their mandatory annual dues (including the mandatory $25 Clients’ Protection Fund fee), plus any section dues, by credit card.

The site accepts MasterCard and Visa, which can be applied to dues-related payments only. These include late fees that accrue after the membership compliance deadline of July 31. The membership renewal, insurance certification, and dues payment are processed immediately, and a receipt is issued.

Access to the Online Membership Renewal option is available until early October, when attorneys are administratively suspended for membership noncompliance.

More information.

 

Updated: Jun 24, 2013
June 18, 2013

Council Seeks Comment on Proposed Change to Bylaws

The VSB’s Council is seeking public comment on a proposal to increase the size of the Executive Committee from 13 to 16 members. Comments are due by September 13 to the VSB offices, or publiccomment@vsb.org.

View the proposed change.
 

Updated: Jun 18, 2013
June 17, 2013

Highlights of the June 13, 2013, Virginia State Bar Council Meeting

At its meeting on June 13, 2013, in Virginia Beach, the Virginia State Bar Council heard the following significant reports and took the following actions:

Budget

The council approved a $14.66 million budget for 2013-14. This is an increase of $1,088,989 over the 2012-13 operating budget. The budget includes a 2 percent raise for VSB staff and $500,000 in increased expenditures due to relocating the VSB offices.

Office Relocation

Executive Director Karen A. Gould said that six buildings have been identified as possible locations for the VSB offices. That list will be narrowed to three and those will be test-fitted for the bar’s requirements. The VSB's broker will then negotiate with the broker for the chosen site.

Amendments to VSB Bylaws Regarding Executive Committee Membership

The council approved 62 to 5 the motion to amend the bylaws giving the Diversity Conference a seat on the Executive Committee. A proposal to increase the size of the committee from 13 to 16 was suspended.

Rule Changes

The council unanimously approved changes to Rules of Professional Conduct 1.11, conflicts of interest; 1.15, safekeeping property; and 5.4, independence of a lawyer.

Resolutions

The council unanimously approved resolutions honoring W. David Harless for his years of service and his law firm for its support of Harless during his years as an officer and service on the VSB Council.

 

Updated: Jun 17, 2013
June 15, 2013

Kevin E. Martingayle is President-elect of the Virginia State Bar

Martingayle photo

Kevin E. Martingayle, of Virginia Beach, is the Virginia State Bar’s new president-elect. He will serve for a year, then succeed Sharon D. Nelson for the 2014-15 term as the first president from Virginia Beach.

Martingayle took office June 14 during the VSB’s annual meeting in Virginia Beach.

Martingayle, an owner and partner of Bischoff Martingayle PC, just completed two terms as a 2nd District representative on the VSB Council and is chair of the Better Annual Meeting Committee. He serves on the Executive, Budget and Finance, and Legal Ethics committees.

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

Martingayle has extensive involvement in the community. He is founder and race committee member of the Allen Stone Memorial Run-Swim-Run and 5K Run; founder and event coordinator of the Virginia Beach Brave Heart Run-Swim-Run; and legal advisor to the Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad.

Martingayle is a native of Richmond and graduated from Collegiate High School in 1985. He is a graduate of Hampden-Sydney College 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 married to Elisabeth Martingayle and has three children.

 

Updated: Jun 15, 2013
June 15, 2013

Fairfax Attorney Sharon D. Nelson Is President of Virginia State Bar

Nelson photo
Sharon D. Nelson, president of Sensei Enterprises Inc. of Fairfax, is the Virginia State Bar’s new president for the 2013-14 term. She heads the state agency that regulates and supports 46,000 Virginia lawyers.

She was sworn in June 14, during the VSB’s annual meeting at Virginia Beach.

She has been a member of the VSB Council and Executive Committee. She also is a member of the bar’s Standing Committee on Budget and Finance and has served as chair of the Technology in the Practice of Law and Unauthorized Practice of Law committees. She is a court-appointed special advocate for abused and neglected children. In addition to her membership in the bar, she is a member of the  Virginia Bar Association, American Bar Association, Fairfax Bar Association, Women in Technology, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, and Virginia Women Attorneys Association. She also is a former president of the Fairfax Bar Association.

Nelson speaks frequently on legal technology, information security and electronic evidence at bar associations, colleges, law firms, and other organizations in Virginia and across the country.

Nelson has been the president of Sensei Enterprises Inc. since 1997. The company is a digital forensics, information security, and legal technology firm providing IT services to more than 200 law firms and businesses in Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland and forensic services to hundreds of law firms nationwide. She also is a sole practitioner whose practice deals almost exclusively with electronic evidence cases.

Nelson is married to John W. Simek, vice-president of Sensei Enterprises.

 

Updated: Jun 17, 2013
June 10, 2013

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:

Alexandria Bar Association
Senior Citizens Law Day, partnering with Senior Services of Alexandria to provide factual information to the community about the legal issues related to planning for aging, care needs, and services available to meet the needs of its citizens. Pro bono professionals were available to attendees.

Fairfax Bar Association
Judicial Funding Task Force,, working to restore funding for at least one circuit court and at least one general district court judge until the Supreme Court’s Judicial Workload Study is completed; and attempting to minimize the impact of proposed 5 percent budget cuts for each of the next two years.

Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association
Judicial Programs Project, providing association members with multiple opportunities to meet with members of the judiciary.

Roanoke Bar Association
Handling Section 1983 Civil Rights Cases in Federal Court, providing a CLE program to increase the number of attorneys qualified to be added to the court-appointed list for Section 1983 cases.

Salem/Roanoke County Bar Association
Lawrence L. Koontz, Jr. Opinions Project, a seven-volume collection of the published judicial opinions of Justice Koontz during his tenures on the Court of Appeals of Virginia and the Supreme Court of Virginia.

 

Sustained Project:

Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association
Mentorship Program, helping new attorneys and law students since the 2004-05 bar year to navigate their careers and to provide learning and networking opportunities to participants.

Southwest Virginia Workers’ Compensation Bar Association
Quarterly Luncheon CLE Program, providing low-cost, innovative, and educational programs to members of the bar and other interested professionals.

 

CERTIFICATES OF ACHIEVEMENT
For high achievement in bar projects

Alexandria Bar Association
Resolvers Program, which assists pro se parties who do not have the resources to hire an attorney or to seek alternative advice and guidance when attempting to resolve issues surrounding custody and support of their children, and to assist the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court with its heavy caseload.

Loudoun County Bar Association
Back to School Drive, to provide a resource to the community and to assist needy families with the cost of supplies needed at the beginning of school.

Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association
MRWBA Website Project, increasing publicity for the members and providing members and the public access to information about the association.

The Prince William County Bar Association Inc.
Breakfast at S.E.R.V.E., working with Securing Emergency Resources through Volunteer Effort, the Young Lawyers Group of the PWC Bar provides Sunday breakfast for about forty residents of the organization’s shelter, half of whom are children.

Virginia Women Attorneys Association
Justice is a Woman: Women and the Judiciary, an event designed to encourage more women to seek judicial positions.

 

Updated: Jun 10, 2013
May 31, 2013

Virginia State Bar E-News, June 2013

Check your mail – Dues statements will be mailed June 14. 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 17, 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.

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. If your firm takes care of your dues payment for you, please ask the person responsible for opening and handling your dues form mailing to forward the legal aid donation letter to you personally.

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

The Virginia State Bar has been asked to evaluate candidates for a vacancy on the U.S. District Court – Eastern District of Virginia. Applications must be submitted by June 7, and interviews of candidates will take place on July 8 at the VSB offices in Richmond.

The VSB Council will be considering proposed amendments to Rules 1.11, 1.15, and 5.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct by the Standing Committee on Legal Ethics at their meeting on June 13.

The Committee on Legal Ethics is seeking public comment on three proposed advisory LEOs by July 3:

  • LEO 1870 – Application of Rule 4.2 in Cases where a Guardian Ad Litem has been Appointed to Represent a Child
  • LEO 1871 – Inadvertent Receipt of Confidential Information during the Discovery Phase of Litigation
  • LEO 1875 – Conflict Issues When a Government Lawyer is Furloughed from Employment and Asked to Continue Representing the Agency

LEO 1869, Assisting Pro Se Litigants – Courthouse Assistance Program, has been issued as final.

Last call for Annual Meeting online registration. Online pre-registration will be accepted until 5 p.m. Monday, June 10, or register on-site in Virginia Beach. Sharon D. Nelson of Fairfax will be sworn in as the 75th VSB president on Friday, June 14.

The Virginia Law Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Virginia's legal profession, is seeking an Executive Director.

Awards:

Updated: May 31, 2013
May 28, 2013

Vienna Attorney Named Young Lawyer of the Year

The Virginia State Bar Young Lawyers Conference will present its 2013 R. Edwin Burnette Jr. Young Lawyer of the Year Award to Christopher R. Fortier of Vienna.Fortier photo

The award recognizes young lawyers who demonstrate 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 14, 2013, at the Virginia State Bar Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach.

Fortier has been chair of the Young Lawyers Conference annual Professional Development Conference for two years and last year expanded that program from Richmond to a second location in Northern Virginia. He also has planned to expand it to Hampton Roads later this year. The Professional Development Conference provides courses in basic substantive legal skill training to Virginia lawyers.

YLC president Brian R. Charville noted that Fortier worked with attorneys at Hunton & Williams and the VSB staff to expand the program and arranged for attendees and presenters at both locations. “In his work on the PDC he has demonstrated creativity, implementing skills, and a real selflessness in service of the program and its participants.”

Fortier also founded the Professional Development Series, which he envisioned in late 2012 as a vehicle for broadcasting YLC programs and other bar organizations' content throughout the bar year, one program each week. He recorded the Professional Development Conference segments and content from other bar organizations including the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyer’s Division and developed a schedule to air the programs. He also has worked with VSB staff to develop a website and its contents. “While the PDS is still quite new and its effects aren't yet known, there is no doubt that Chris's vision and hard work have led to the creation of a useful practice resource for the YLC's members,” Charville wrote. “Chris simply has enviable abilities to brainstorm and implement programs that serve our profession well.”

Fortier is a graduate of James Madison University and the Appalachian School of Law. He grew up in Poquoson and he and his wife Brittany live and practice law in Vienna.

Updated: Jun 10, 2013
May 24, 2013

The Supreme Court of Virginia to Review Proposed Amendments to Rule 3A:11

The Supreme Court of Virginia is considering proposed amendments to Rule 3A:11 related to discovery in criminal cases. See the full proposed changes here.

Comments on the proposed amendments to the Rule should be sent by July 1, 2013, to:

Patricia L. Harrington, Clerk Supreme Court of Virginia
100 North Ninth Street 5th Floor
Richmond, VA 23219

OR via email with the subject line "comment on criminal discovery Rule" to: scvclerk@courts.state.va.us.

 

Updated: May 24, 2013
May 23, 2013

Darrel Tillar Mason Honored for Commitment to Civil Rights and Equal Opportunity

Darrel Tillar MasonDarrel Tillar Mason will receive the Virginia State Bar Diversity Conference’s Clarence M. Dunnaville Jr. Achievement Award at the Virginia State Bar’s annual meeting on June 14 in Virginia Beach.  Mason is being honored for fostering, encouraging, and facilitating diversity and inclusion in the bar, the judiciary, and the legal profession

Mason, of Manakin Sabot, “Has been a champion of civil rights and equal opportunity her entire forty year professional career,” attorney Marni E. Byrum wrote in nominating her for the award. “Darrel has been a stalwart soldier in the trenches of fighting for equal rights in employment and education as well as a leader in advancing the legislative changes to protect those rights. Darrel is a credit to the legal profession and deserving of recognition by the Diversity Conference.”

 In 1973, after receiving her master’s degree from Virginia Tech, Mason wrote the school’s first affirmative action plan. After receiving her law degree from the University of Virginia in 1981, Mason represented plaintiffs in a number of civil rights cases and in the 1990s began representing children with disabilities and their families.

In 2000 Mason founded the Center for Special Education Advocacy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving families of disabled children experiencing challenges in securing an appropriate education. She was appointed to the Virginia Office of Protection and Advocacy in 2010 and became chair in 2012. She is also the president of the Virginia Disability Law and Advocacy Fund which supports the work of VOPA.

In addition to her work as an advocate for disabled children, Mason has given uncounted hours of service to the legal profession in Virginia. She served on the VSB Council from 1990-96 and was reappointed in 2009 and again 2012 by the Supreme Court of Virginia. She has been a member of the Virginia Women Attorneys Association since it was founded in 1981 and has served as treasurer and president as well as editor of VWAA’s legal journal. Mason formerly served as vice president of the State Board of Education and chaired the state’s Council on the Status of Women, both gubernatorial appointments.

She has served on the VSB’s Special Committee on Lawyer Financial Responsibility, the Standing Committee on Legal Ethics, the Fee Dispute Resolution Committee, the Special Committee on Lawyer Malpractice Insurance, the board of the Senior Lawyer’s Conference, the Better Annual Meeting Committee, and the Nominations Committee.

Updated: May 23, 2013
May 21, 2013

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, 2013.

Circuit Representatives

    Newly elected:

Daniel M. Schieble of Virginia Beach, 2nd Circuit
Nicholas D. Renninger of Portsmouth, 3rd Circuit
Carl Phillips “Phil” Ferguson of Suffolk, 5th Circuit
Special election, Ballots due 6/3/13, 11th Circuit
Christy E. Kiely of Richmond, 13th Circuit
Alex R. Gulotta of Charlottesville, 16th Circuit
John H. Crouch and Harry A. Dennis III, both of Arlington, 17th Circuit
James A. Watson II of Fairfax, 19th Circuit
Christine Mougin-Boal of Leesburg, 20th Circuit
Lee H. Turpin of Chatham, 22nd Circuit
David B. Neumeyer of Lynchburg, 24th Circuit
Joseph M. Bowen of Tazewell, 29th Circuit
 

    Reelected:

David W. Lannetti of Norfolk, 4th Circuit
Peter D. Eliades of Prince George, 6th Circuit
Raymond B. Benzinger of Arlington, 17th Circuit
Sean P. Kelly of Fairfax, 19th Circuit
Mark K. Cathey of Roanoke, 23rd Circuit
W. Andrew Harding of Harrisonburg, 26th Circuit
Richard L. Chidester of Pearisburg, 27th Circuit
Gifford R. Hampshire of Manassas, 31st Circuit

    Newly appointed council members at-large:

Nancy C. Dickenson, Abingdon

    Reappointed council members at-large:

Michael HuYoung, Richmond
Beverly P. Leatherbury, Eastville

 

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

Conference representatives:

Eugene M. Elliott, Jr. of Roanoke — chair, Conference of Local Bar Associations
Rupen R. Shah of Staunton — chair, Diversity Conference
John M. Oakey, Jr. of Richmond — chair, Senior Lawyers Conference
Kenneth L. Alger II of Luray — president, Young Lawyers Conference
 

Officers:

    Sharon D. Nelson — president
    Kevin E. Martingayle — president-elect
    W. David Harless of Richmond — immediate past president

Updated: May 22, 2013
May 15, 2013

Two Attorneys Named Local Bar Leaders of the Year

Lori D. Thompson, of LeClairRyan in Roanoke, and Polly Chong, a sole practitioner in Newport News, have been named Local Bar Leaders of the Year by the Virginia State Bar’s Local Bar Leaders photoConference of Local Bar Associations.

The award recognizes continued dedication of bar leaders and close cooperation with the VSB.

Thompson has practiced in Roanoke since 1997 when she graduated from the University of Virginia Law School. Her contributions to the local and statewide bars and the community have been extensive and widely recognized.

Thomas H. Miller, president of the Roanoke Bar Association, wrote that, “Many of the ideas for which our bar has been recognized over the last several years were the fruit of the imagination of Lori. …  She is a tireless worker.”

She was president of the Roanoke Bar Association in 2011-12. She is chair of the Roanoke Law Foundation and was one of the originators of its gala. Thompson started the Santa in Square, Day of Service, Mentor Match, and Barrister Book Buddies programs.

She has twice been a member of the board of governors of the Virginia Bar Association and is a past chair of its Young Lawyers Division. She has served on the faculty of the VSB Harry L. Carrico Professionalism Course and is a former president of the board of directors of the Roanoke Chapter of the Virginia Women Attorney’s Association.

Chong has been a member of the Greater Peninsula Women’s Bar Association since 1996. She served as chair of the association’s annual Charity Gala for ten years, was a volunteer for the Color of Justice Program, and a member of the Judicial Nominations Committee.

Elwood Earl “Sandy” Sanders Jr., of Lantagne Legal Printing, wrote that, “Polly Chong is an attorney with a tremendous passion for equal justice under law and demonstrates it by her many civic and bar activities.”

Through the Charity Gala, Chong has helped raise funds for such organizations as the Boys and Girls Club, Transitions Family Violence Services, breast cancer research, CASA, and Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

She is a member of the Old Dominion Bar Association, the I’Anson-Hoffman American Inn of Court, the Downtown Hampton Childhood Development Center, the Hampton-Newport News Community Criminal Justice Board, the Newport News Library Committee, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She also is an attorney for the Southern Police Benevolent Association and a member of Liberty Baptist Church.

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

 

Updated: May 15, 2013
May 15, 2013

Fairfax Attorney to become 75th VSB President

Sharon D. Nelson will be sworn in as the 75th VSB president during the VSB Annual Meeting on Friday, June 14.

Online pre-registration will be accepted until Monday, June 10, at 5:00 p.m.

... or register on site in Virginia Beach.

The registration fee of $180 entitles you to attend all of the VSB CLE programs scheduled on Friday, June 14, as well as many of the social events scheduled during the weekend. First Time Attendees — $130

Updated: May 15, 2013
May 13, 2013

VLF Seeks Applications For New Executive Director

The Virginia Law Foundation (VLF), the philanthropic arm of Virginia's legal profession, is seeking an Executive Director.

Updated: May 13, 2013
May 10, 2013

Virginia State Bar Announces 2013 Law in Society Contest Winners

Thomas ForsterThomas Forster, a senior at Rockbridge County High School in Lexington, has been awarded first place in the 2013 Law in Society Contest sponsored by the Virginia State Bar and its Litigation Section. Forster will attend Yale University in the fall.

Forster won for his essay “Teacher Intimidation in the 21st Century.” He will receive $2,300. This year’s essay theme had students explore online teacher intimidation by students. Entrants were asked to imagine that they were a legislative aide and write a law making it illegal for students to try to intimidate their teacher online. They were also required to argue in favor of their law and anticipate the arguments of those opposed to it and address them. The essay is available at http://www.vsb.org/site/public/2013-winning-essay.

The Law in Society award was developed to increase awareness of and appreciation for the U.S. Constitution and legal system. Forster’s essay was among dozens submitted by public, private, and homeschooled students in the equivalent of high school. Forster will receive his award during a ceremony at Rockbridge County High School on May 30.

Connor Mills, a senior at James Madison High School in Oakton, and Olivia Laughter, a senior at Douglas Freeman High School in Richmond, placed second and third, respectively. Mills will receive $1,850 and Laughter $1,350.

Five honorable mentions will be awarded to: Mallory Kirby of North Stafford High School in Stafford, Emily Lovekamp of Riverheads High School in Greenville, Sarah Baber of Millbrook High School in Winchester, Alix Nguyen of Massaponax High School in Fredericksburg, and Kevin Zhang of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Herndon.

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: May 20, 2013
May 08, 2013

VSB to Evaluate Candidates for Judicial Vacancy

Additional Info

letter from Senators Kaine and Warner (PDF file)

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 – Eastern District of Virginia.

Candidates are to submit on or before June 7, 2013, 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 July 8, 2013, at the Virginia State Bar office at 707 E. Main Street, Suite 1500, Richmond. Contact VSB staff member Asha Holloman, holloman@vsb.org, (804) 775-0551, if you have any questions.

 

Updated: May 15, 2013
May 01, 2013

Virginia State Bar E-News, May 2013

The Supreme Court of Virginia is considering proposed amendments to Rules 1A:1 and 1A:3 related to the admission of foreign attorneys to practice in Virginia without examination, and the procedure for revocation of certificates issued to foreign attorneys. Comments due by May 31.

The Supreme Court of Virginia has approved amendments to Rules 7.1-7.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The amendments move specific examples of lawyer advertising statements or claims from the body of rules to the comment sections, and remove unnecessary and redundant language.

Last call for discounted registration fee for 2013 Annual Meeting, June 13-16. Your registration fee entitles you to attend CLE programs and special events. Rates increase May 13.

Awards:

Updated: May 01, 2013