July 07, 2008
Voluntary Bar Associations Win VSB Awards
Local and specialty bar associations across Virginia have been recognized by the Virginia State Bar’s Conference of Local Bar Associations for programs that serve the bench, the bar, and the people of Virginia. The recipients and programs are:
Awards of Merit (for excellence):
Fredericksburg Area Bar Association — Reviving Law Day, which returned to the association’s past practice of observing Law Day by providing speakers at area high schools. Topics were “Choose Law” and “So You’re 18,” using resources provided by the Virginia State Bar.
Local Government Attorneys’ Association — Local Government Attorneys’ Guide to Pro Bono Publico Service, a reference manual to promote pro bono work. The guide was produced and distributed by members of the association with a grant from the Virginia Law Foundation.
Prince William County Bar Association — Middle School Court Tours, which organized trips to the Prince William County Judicial Center and Adult Detention Center. The students visited while court was in session. They ended their tour by participating in a mock trial of a hypothetical case involving underage drinking at an unsupervised party. Judges, attorneys, and law enforcement personnel served as guides.
Virginia Beach Bar Association — Law Day Gala, an observance of the fiftieth anniversary of Law Day. The association’s Virginia Beach Bar Foundation sponsored a performance by Clay Jenkinson, a humanities scholar, in the persona of Thomas Jefferson talking about the importance of the rule of law. The program raised funds for the foundation, which works to meet legal needs of the poor, educate about law, and support the efficiency and integrity of the judicial process and administration of justice.
Virginia Women Attorneys Association, Loudoun County Chapter — Adoption Day Ceremony and Fair, held November 17, 2007, at the courthouse in Leesburg. The event included an invitation-only ceremony to honor seven families who had adopted or finalized adoptions in the past year. Following the ceremony, an Adoption Day Fair took place in the courthouse library. There, the association distributed materials and dispelled misconceptions about the difficulty of adoption. Judges, the Loudoun Department of Family Services, and local businesses participated in the event.
Certificates of Achievement (for high achievement):
Arlington County Bar Association (two programs) — A Green Initiative to reduce the paper documents generated by its office. Archival information has been scanned into electronic form and the original papers recycled. The bar adopted an electronic system for incoming faxes. It now e-mails invoices where possible and purchases paper with a high recycled content. Also, a New Membership System that consolidates billing, communication, and information-gathering needs.
Lynchburg Bar Association — Wills for Heroes, which provided wills, powers of attorney, and medical directives for first responders from the Lynchburg police, sheriff’s, fire, and emergency medical services departments. The program provided documents to 178 individuals, and educated more than 250 first responders about estate planning issues. The services were provided by attorneys from the bar and a law professor and students from Liberty University School of Law.
Metro Richmond Women’s Bar Association — Online Membership Registration and Directory, which provides more efficient management of the members’ registration, payment, and contact data.
Norfolk & Portsmouth Bar Association — Middle School Mock Trial Project, a ten-week course on elements of a criminal trial. Students from four schools attended lectures on opening statement, direct and cross examination, and closing arguments. They then conduct a trial before two judges and juries of their middle school peers.
Roanoke Bar Association — Trial Advocacy Program, designed at the request of a federal magistrate judge to be a seminar for inexperienced lawyers. The seminar also included a component for seasoned attorneys and a mock trial. In addition to providing continuing legal education, the program raised money for the Roanoke Bar Association Foundation.
Virginia Women Attorneys Association — A conference, “Votes for Women: Perspectives on Participation in Politics,” which drew on the association’s twenty-fifth anniversary celebration to focus on ways in which women attorneys can enter the political arena or support women candidates for political office.
Virginia Women Attorneys Association, Northern Virginia Chapter — Legislative Reception Program, which focused on mental health legal issues before the 2008 General Assembly. Panelists included participants in the Chief Justice’s Commission on Mental Health Law Reform and the Governor’s Independent Virginia Tech Review Panel and others who work with persons with mental illness.