June 29, 2007
Council Highlights June 2007
At its regular summer meeting on June 14, 2007, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, the Council of the Virginia State Bar heard the following significant reports and took the following actions:
- Heard the bar’s Ethic Counsel, James M. McCauley, describe improved procedures for notifying bar members and the public about proposed rule changes and bar opinions. In addition to the usual press release and publication of the proposed rule changes and opinions in the bar’s publications and on its Web site, they will also be referenced in electronic communications to bar members, and improved procedures for posting these matters on the Web site are being implemented.
- Was informed about new procedures and further refinements in the bar’s process for evaluating judicial candidates. The changes are designed to develop more complete information during the background investigation on each candidate for a judicial vacancy, as well as provide for more effective participation by the bar’s Executive Committee in the process.
- Elected Jan L. Brodie of Fairfax, Michael C. Guanzon of Danville and Theophani K. Stamos of Arlington as new members of the Executive Committee for the 2007-2008 bar year.
- Approved and recommended to the Supreme Court of Virginia a change in Paragraph 15 of the Rules of Court, the Third Year Student Practice Rule, which would eliminate the 10 day prior approval requirement by the judge or administrative tribunal before whom a third year student expects to appear. Under the change, the court or the administrative tribunal can impose whatever advance approval requirement it feels is necessary or appropriate under the circumstances.
- Heard discussion of a proposed amendment to Paragraph 18 of the Rules of Court from the Special Committee on Lawyer Malpractice Insurance which would have required those lawyers indicating on their annual dues statement that they are in private practice and covered by a malpractice insurance policy to provide proof that they do, in fact, have such insurance. Following discussion, the chair of the committee, Darrel Tillar Mason, withdrew the proposal.
In the alternative, it was agreed by Council that the time has come for the body to give direction to the committee on the fundamental question whether the bar should require malpractice insurance of all active members in private practice representing clients drawn from the general public. This philosophical question will be debated and a vote taken on it at the October 2007 Council meeting. Should Council indicate to the committee that it wishes to consider a proposal for requiring such insurance, the committee will develop a specific proposal for subsequent consideration by the Council.
- Unanimously adopted a resolution commending Karen A. Gould of Richmond for her effective and diligent service as president during 2006-2007, and a resolution thanking her law firm for its support of her service.