News and Information
May 30, 2006

Local and Specialty Bar Awards To Be Given at Annual Meeting


The following bar associations will be recognized by the Virginia State Bar’s Conference of Local Bar Associations on June 16 at the VSB’s annual meeting. The awards recognize excellence and high achievement in projects that serve the bench, the bar and the citizens of Virginia.

Awards of Merit

Alleghany/Bath/Highland Bar Association — The association sponsored a Senior Law Day Program in May 2005 at the Covington Courthouse. Using the VSB’s Senior Citizens Handbook as a reference, a series of speakers talked about issues of concern to older people. More than one hundred attended. The program is being circulated by the VSB Senior Lawyers Conference as a model for similar programs in other localities.

Arlington Bar Association — The association sponsored Free B. Fridays, a breakfast at the county courthouse, which provides a social opportunity as well as repast for association members. The gathering has met the bar’s need to provide more opportunities to network, build camaraderie and disseminate information. The breakfast is held approximately every two weeks and is paid for by individual and law-firm sponsors. “We have created a ‘clubby’ and unpressured atmosphere and have given the attorneys a harbor from the clients and busy courtrooms,??? the association reports.

Bar Association of the City of Richmond — The association established a Credit Abuse Resistance Education Program, in which bankruptcy attorneys talk about “financial literacy??? — the wise use of credit cards. They describe the true cost of credit, the temptations to use it and benefits of living without credit card debt. Forty-five lawyers volunteer, and the program has been presented to 956 high school students.

Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association — The association created an online voting option for its judicial candidate endorsement process. The option increased participation significantly. Sixty members, or 40 percent of the membership, voted this year compared to twenty-five in the previous year, when fax and postal mail were the only options.

Norfolk & Portsmouth Bar Association (Three awards) — The association sponsored a Middle School Mock Trial project, in which members taught a ten-week course to twenty-two students. Classes included opening statements, direct examination, cross-examination and closing arguments. The students practiced their skills, then presented a “trial??? before two local circuit judges and juries made up of students. The association plans to repeat the program annually. A Wills for Heroes program, sponsored in Norfolk by the association’s Young Lawyers Section, helped first responders prepare wills, powers of attorney and advance medical directives. More than seventy attorneys and sixty-eight legal staff members volunteered, and more than one hundred members of the Norfolk police, sheriff and fire departments prepared documents. The program was conducted in collaboration with the young lawyers groups of the VSB and Virginia Bar Association. And the association’s fifteenth annual Legal Food Frenzy set a record by collecting 172,734 pounds of food, which was donated to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia. Forty-three law firms and legal organizations participated.

Old Dominion Bar Association — The association held a screening of the movie Lost Boys of Sudan to increase awareness of and benefit a Doctors Without Borders relief effort. The movie documents the journey of two Sudanese orphans who traveled to a Kenyan refugee camp and then to the United States. The movie’s directors, Megan Mylan and John Shenk, participated. The event raised $2,219 in donations.

Prince William County Bar Association — The association operates a Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court Conciliators Program, which offers parties involved in temporary custody, temporary support and temporary visitation an alternative to reach an agreement. Volunteer lawyers from the association are trained to meet with the parties — represented or unrepresented — and adjourn from the courtroom to a conference room. If an agreement cannot be reached, the parties return to the courtroom for a thirty-minute hearing. In either case, the result is a binding court order until a full hearing can be held. Most of the association’s thirty experienced family lawyers participate in the program.

Roanoke Bar Association (Two awards) — The association held a Roanoke Bar Foundation Gala and Law Day Celebration, which replaced a Law Day luncheon celebration. The gala was the setting for presenting the association’s first Frank W. “Bo??? Rogers Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award — named for a Roanoke bar member who died in 2005 — and a new Young Lawyer of the Year award. Approximately fourteen thousand dollars was raised, to benefit the foundation and its James N. Kincanon Scholarship Program for students who plan to study law. Another award recognizes the association for rewarding volunteers who contributed twenty-five hours or more of community service, charitable professional services and pro bono publico legal services. The awards were presented at the Gala and Law Day Celebration. The association awarded 26 Certificates of Commendation (25-99 hours per year) and 14 President’s Volunteer Service Awards (100 hours and up).

Shared Award: Loudoun County Bar Association and Fauquier County Bar Association — The associations sponsored Leadership in the Law Camp, which offered rising high school seniors an opportunity to work with local judges, law clerks, law students and other professionals. Over the course of a week, thirty students prepared a mock trial, which they presented before a “jury??? of local officials.

Virginia Beach Bar Association — The association created a Virginia Beach Law Foundation to help meet legal needs of low-income people, provide education and scholarships, enhance the image of the legal profession, and assist lawyers and their families who are in need. In its first year, the foundation raised fifteen thousand dollars and pledges of fifty thousand dollars to be paid over four years.

Virginia Women Attorneys Association–Loudoun Chapter — The chapter sponsored two seminars: “Perspectives from the Bench: General District Court Practices and Procedures??? in 2005 and “Criminal Procedure in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court??? in 2006. Lawyers who attended received continuing legal education credit. The chapter was able to publish information from the programs to serve as guidelines for lawyers who practice in those courts.

 

Certificates of Achievement

Alexandria Bar Association — The association observed the 250th anniversary of John Marshall’s birth with a gala in November 2005 at the Lloyd House, a historic site that formerly was the home of an attorney who argued the seminal case Marbury v. Madison before the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Anthony Kennedy was the keynote speaker. Other speakers included Lynn Brackenridge, executive director of the John Marshall Foundation, and her husband, former Virginia Chief Justice Harry L. Carrico. The event was held in collaboration with the foundation and several Alexandria historical groups. It drew seventy-five attendees — the capacity of the Lloyd House.

Arlington Bar Association — The association sponsors a Social Networking Initiative, designed to improve camaraderie and collegiality among the member lawyers. The bar offers weekly golf nights in spring and summer, bowling in fall and winter, and a monthly “Judges Series,??? during which members mingle with judges. The activities have achieved the association’s goal of drawing in lawyers from a wide variety of practice areas.

Chesterfield County Bar Association — Members of the association volunteered for a Pro Bono Protective Order Project sponsored by the county’s Victim/Witness Assistance Program. The volunteer attorneys help people with preliminary and permanent hearings for protective orders, and with appeals where necessary. Approximately fifty lawyers participated.

Fairfax Bar Association -- The association held a Colors of Justice reception in May 2006 to raise money toward a five-thousand-dollar scholarship to promote diversity at George Mason University School of Law. About two hundred people attended.

Greater Peninsula Womens Bar Association — The association sponsored its fourth annual Charity Gala to benefit four Peninsula-area social services programs, including Big Brothers and Big Sisters and the Boys & Girls Club. More than twenty area restaurants offered food samples, other merchants provided door prizes and items for a silent auction, and the Point Plaza Conference Center in Newport News donated its ballroom.

Henrico County Bar Association (Two certificates) — The association continued its its Partners in Education program, which supports local schools by providing school supplies for needy children, volunteers to help children learn to read, and practice interviews to help high school students with job-seeking skills. The projects collected over $1,500 worth of supplies, matched more than twenty-five reading volunteers, and interviewed eighty-five students in a total of more than four hundred interviews. Members of the association also participated in a Pro Bono Protective Order Project to represent people seeking temporary orders to protect them from family abuse. On a given day, the volunteer lawyer handled as many as five cases. The program is run by the county’s Victim/Witness Assistance Program.

Metropolitan Women’s Bar Association — The association hosted its annual Legislative Luncheon and Panel Presentation. Eleven state legislators updated members on the 2006 General Assembly session, and seventy-five members and guests attended.

Roanoke Bar Association — The association offered members monthly one-hour continuing legal education programs for free — thus meeting its goal to provide more resources to Roanoke Valley lawyers. The sessions are held at the Roanoke Law Library.

Shared Certificate: Asian Bar Association, Hispanic Bar Association, Northern Virginia Black Attorneys’ Association and Virginia Women Attorneys Association-Northern Virginia Chapter — The associations cosponsored a Color of Justice Program to introduce minority high school students to careers in the law. During the half-day program, the students were introduced to minority lawyers, judges and law students and faculty. In addition to encouraging young people, the program is an opportunity for the bars to work together in community outreach.

Virginia Association of Black Women Attorneys — The association sponsored a You Be the Judge Conference to teach lawyers about the process for becoming a judge. Representatives of the General Assembly and Supreme Court of Virginia, bar leaders and sitting judges participated. The program was designed to appeal to large-firm, small-firm and government lawyers.

Virginia Women Attorneys Association–Hampton Roads Chapter — The association sponsored a Katrina Suited for Success Clothing Drive to provide professional clothing for displaced people after Hurricane Katrina. The project was a collaboration with Suited for Success, a nonprofit organization in the Hampton Roads area.

Virginia Women Attorneys Association–Northern Virginia Chapter — The chapter sponsored a Business Etiquette Program to help law students at American and George Mason universities with job interview and professional conduct skills. Topics included how to make introductions, handshakes and the proper use of e-mail in the workplace. The program also served as a tool to recruit new members to the chapter, as the students graduate and become lawyers. In designing the program, the chapter drew on the skills of a member who is a corporate etiquette consultant.

Virginia Women Attorneys Association–Roanoke Chapter — The chapter sponsored a quarterly continuing legal education program for twenty-five dollars a session to lawyers and legal staff in the Roanoke Valley. The programs helped the bar provide affordable CLE credits to lawyers, gave association members an opportunity to show their expertise in areas of law, and offered networking opportunities. Proceeds from the programs were donated to charities.

 

Information on these and other programs are maintained by the VSB Conference of Local Bar Associations. Address inquiries to allen@vsb.org.

Updated: May 30, 2006