News and Information
October 26, 2015

Comments Sought on Proposal to Fund the Diversity Conference

The Diversity Conference of the Virginia State Bar has existed since 2010 following the Supreme Court of Virginia’s approval of its creation and mission. The Diversity Conference receives no money from bar dues. It is funded through private donations from entities that support the activities of the conference, which focus on “increasing diversity in the legal profession and . . . ensuring that Virginia meets the legal needs of an increasingly diverse population.” 

The Attorney General of Virginia issued a formal opinion on October 2, 2015, that the mission of the conference creates no constitutional barrier to it being funded by revenue from mandatory dues. [See http://www.oag.state.va.us/files/Opinions/2015/Wexton_15-017.pdf and Keller v. State Bar of California, 496 U.S. 1 (1990.]

The VSB currently funds three conferences: the Conference of Local Bar Associations, the Senior Lawyers Conference, and the Young Lawyers Conference. At its February 2016 meeting, the VSB Council will consider funding the Diversity Conference.  

You are invited to comment on the issue by January 1, 2016, by e-mailing the Executive Director of the Virginia State Bar at publiccomment@vsb.org:

Should the Virginia State Bar Diversity Conference be eligible for funding from state bar funds in the same manner as the Conference of Local Bar Associations, the Senior Lawyers Conference, and the Young Lawyers Conference?

Updated: Nov 02, 2015