News and Information
November 30, 2018

Virginia State Bar Newsletter December 2018

The following went out as part of a monthly news summary email to all VSB members and associates on November 30. To make sure you are receiving the VSB emails, update your contact information in the member portal and add vsbnews@vsb.org to the account’s address book.

Governance

On November 8, the  Supreme Court of Virginia approved Legal Ethics Opinion 1885, which concludes that a lawyer may not participate in an attorney-client matching service under the facts presented, and LEO 1889, which reviews the scope of a court-appointed lawyer’s duty to appeal or continue representing a parent.

Be a leader in your bar. A number of committees and boards that sustain the VSB as a self-governing organization are looking for volunteers. Submit your name for consideration before the deadlines in February and March:

  • Local disciplinary district committees review complaints and investigations against attorneys in their jurisdiction and determine whether there is sufficient evidence of a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct
  • Special and standing committees oversee a number of VSB functions, like budget & finance, legal ethics, access to legal services, lawyer referral, the resolution of fee disputes, and more. President-elect Marni E. Byrum chooses amongst applicants.
  • There are also vacancies on the Clients’ Protection Fund Board, the Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee, and the Executive Committee of Bar Council.

Professional Regulation

Recent disciplinary actions:

  • John James Good Jr., administrative suspension effective Nov. 6
  • Kathryn Suzanne Pennington, administrative suspension effective Nov. 26
  • Kurt Joseph Pomrenke, 9-month suspension effective Nov. 27
  • George Ernest Marzloff, 3-year suspension effective Dec. 7
  • Franklin Clemmer Coyner, public reprimand on Sept. 21
  • Richard O. Gates, public reprimand on Sept. 28
  • Keith Hamner Waldrop, public reprimand on Oct. 24
  • Joseph Willis Lee III, public reprimand on Oct. 25
  • Robert Louis Wegman, public admonition on Nov. 13

On November 16, 2018, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board announced that it will recommend that the Supreme Court of Virginia approve Steven Frank Helm’s petition for reinstatement of his license to practice law. The board’s recommendation will be filed with the Court, which will take final action on the petition.

The Office of Bar Counsel has compiled a list of FAQs for lawyers who receive a bar complaint.

Compliance

By 4:45 p.m. on Dec. 15, all active members must have reported all hours for the year, with a minimum of 12 hours CLE, 2 hours of which must be in ethics and 4 hours must be live. Active members of the VSB should have received their end-of-year MCLE reports by now.  If everything is correct, you don’t need to do anything! Here’s what to do if the report isn’t correct.

Wellness

The First Annual Virginia Law Student Wellness Summit at the UVA Law School will include Supreme Court of Virginia Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons, Justice William C. Mims, and the deans of all eight Virginia law schools. More information here.

Remember to take time for self-care this season. This month we recommend the Florida Bar’s mental health and wellness center – with a number of resources and educational materials.

And, the widow of a lawyer in Los Angeles who committed suicide in October pens an emotional open letter to the legal community in The American Lawyer (log-in required). Warning: it’s a difficult read. 

Pro Bono

The VSB and the Virginia Poverty Law Center (VPLC) invite licensed Virginia attorneys to a free CLE webinar on January 7, 2019, on defenses to residential evictions and how attorneys can help address the commonwealth’s eviction crisis. Volunteers will be covered by VPLC's malpractice insurance. VPLC support will be just a phone call away, and any cases that are a bit more complicated will be sent back to VPLC for further assistance. Register now!

Virginia Lawyer Referral Service

Potential clients are looking for you. See a map of places and areas of law where the VLRSneeds panel members to take on vetted potential clients.

Events

On December 4th, learn how to improve your law practice and network with the best and the brightest of the VSB at the First Day in Practice and Beyond seminar -- 6.0 hours CLE (2.0 Ethics). Networking, mentoring, and discussions with three judges, bar counsel, and leaders in the law from a variety of practice areas including criminal, family, trusts and estates, and corporate. Register online now.

Join the VSB Corporate Counsel Section's Holiday CLE event at Tysons Maggiano's on Dec. 7 for a luncheon and learning about General Data Protection Regulation. Only $10! All lawyers welcome!

Save the dates! The annual Criminal Law Seminar will be held on February 1 in Charlottesville and February 8 in Williamsburg.

Awards

Last chance to nominate a leader in the law!  The Criminal Law Section is seeking entries for the Harry L. Carrico Professionalism Award, and the Section on the Education of Lawyers requests nominations for the William R. Rakes Leadership in Education Award. Nominations are due next week!

The Family Law Section is seeking nominations for two awards: The Betty A. Thompson Lifetime Achievement Award and the Family Law Service Award. The nomination deadline for both awards is January 18, 2019. Both awards will be presented at the annual Family Law Seminar in April 2019 at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond.

Updated: Nov 30, 2018