Publications

Virginia Lawyer Register - August/September 2011

Contents

In this issue:

Disciplinary Proceedings

Disciplinary Summaries

Proposals for Public Comment

MCLE Proposals for Public Comment

Approved Rule Changes

Proposed Rule Change

Notices to Members

View August Virginia Lawyer Register (PDF of mailed version with hyperlinks to additional materials)


Disciplinary Proceedings

Respondent’s Name

Address of Record

Action

 

Effective Date

Circuit Courts

 

 

 

 

Curtis Tyrone Brown

Chesapeake, VA

Public Reprimand w/Terms

 

April 14, 2011

Stacy F. Garrett III

Midlothian, VA

Suspension — 1 year

 

April 20, 2011

* Mark Michael Kantro

Norfolk, VA

Revocation

 

June 11, 2011

Tina Elizabeth Orr

Norfolk, VA

Suspension w/Terms — 5 years

 

May 31, 2011

Disciplinary Board

 

 

 

 

Margaret Louis Bassett

Black Mountain, NC

Revocation

 

July 11, 2011

John Arthur Elmendorf

Germantown, MD

Revocation

 

March 25, 2011

Brian Gay

Virginia Beach, VA

Revocation

 

June 24, 2011

Joshua Jesse Robert Gessler

McLean, VA

Revocation

 

June 10, 2011

Bruce Howard Gould

Norfolk, VA

Public Reprimand

 

April 13, 2011

Martin Ray Johnson

Glen Allen, VA

Revocation

 

April 21, 2011

James Berkley Priest

South Boston, VA

Suspension — 12 months

 

June 24, 2011

Jesse Scott Shelor

Vinton, VA

Revocation

 

February 18, 2011

** Robert Henry Smallenberg

Ashland, VA

Suspension — 10 days

 

June 24, 2011

William Orr Smith

Richmond, VA

Revocation

 

June 13, 2011

Gregory Allen Thomas

Colonial Heights, VA

Revocation

 

April 11, 2011

Bradley Douglas Wein

Richmond, VA

Revocation

 

June 24, 2011

Katina C. Whitfield

Petersburg, VA

Public Reprimand w/Terms

 

April 1, 2011

David Redd Young Jr.

Leesburg, VA

Suspension — 5 years

 

May 20, 2011

District Committees

 

 

 

 

Sandy Yeh Chang

Rockville, MD

Public Reprimand

 

July 6, 2011

Monica Marie Goodling

Woodbridge, VA

Public Reprimand

 

March 25, 2011

Phillip Stone Griffin II

Winchester, VA

Public Admonition w/Terms

 

June 9, 2011

James Patrick Hodges

Leesburg, VA

Public Reprimand

 

May 27, 2011

David Colin Jones Jr.

Fairfax, VA

Public Reprimand

 

June 20, 2011

George G. Joyner III

Portsmouth, VA

Public Dismissal De Minimis

 

April 15, 2011

Edward Allen Malone

Maywood, IL

Public Reprimand w/Terms

 

February 28, 2011

Paul Andrew Murphy

Falls Church, VA

Public Admonition w/Terms

 

June 20, 2011

Alfred Lincoln Robertson Jr.

Fairfax, VA

Public Reprimand w/Terms

 

June 10, 2011

 

 

Public Reprimand

 

June 10, 2011

Charles James Swedish

Vienna, VA

Public Reprimand w/Terms

 

June 9, 2011

Impairment

Address of Record

Effective Date

 

 

Kenneth Edward Hildebrand

Virginia Beach, VA

June 8, 2011

 

 

Suspension – Failure to Pay Disciplinary Costs

Address of Record

Effective Date

Lifted

 

John Raymond Angus

Lake Kiowa, TX

June 22, 2011

 

 

Spencer Dean Ault

Lovettsville, VA

June 23, 2011

 

 

Richard Anthony Bednar

Farmington, UT

May 24, 2011

 

 

Martin Ray Johnson

Glen Allen, VA

July 21, 2011

 

 

Edward Allen Malone

Maywood, IL

April 28, 2011

 

 

Keh Soo Park

Fairfax, VA

May 24, 2011

 

 

Michael Raymond Thames

Arlington, VA

April 28, 2011

 

 

Carlotta Bernice Thompson

Richmond, VA

July 12, 2011

 

 

Karen Patricia Woolley

Southern Pines, NC

May 6, 2011

 

 

Suspension – Failure to Comply with Subpoena

Address of Record

Effective Date

Lifted

 

Kathleene Anne Cipriano

Virginia Beach, VA

May 17, 2011

June 16, 2011

 

Tracey Suzann Foughty-Deavers

Fairfax, VA

April 22, 2011

 

 

Sara Davis Harman

Glen Allen, VA

April 5, 2011

 

 

Martin Ray Johnson

Glen Allen, VA

April 5, 2011

 

 

*Respondent has noted an appeal with the Supreme Court of Virginia.
**Supreme Court granted stay of suspension pending appeal.

Features

The following are summaries of disciplinary actions for violations of the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) (Rules of the Virginia Supreme Court Part 6, ¶ II, eff. Jan. 1, 2000) or another of the Supreme Court Rules.
Copies of disciplinary orders are available at the Web link provided with each summary or by contacting the Virginia State Bar Clerk’s Office at (804) 775-0539 or clerk@vsb.org. VSB docket numbers are provided.

Circuit Court

Curtis Tyrone Brown
Chesapeake, Virginia
08-021-072452
On December 1, 2010, a three-judge panel of the Circuit Court of the City of Norfolk reimposed a public reprimand with terms on Curtis Tyrone Brown after a finding that he had violated professional rules that govern disruption of the decorum of a tribunal and making false or reckless statements about the qualifications or integrity of a judge.  The Norfolk court originally imposed the reprimand on December 15, 2009.   The sanction was stayed pending Mr. Brown’s appeals to the Supreme Court of Virginia. The appeals were dismissed. RPC 3.5(f); 8.2
Order of December 15, 2009: http://www.vsb.org/docs/Brown-Memo-061611.pdf
Order lifting the stay of sanction: http://www.vsb.org/docs/Brown-Reprimand-061611.pdf

Stacy F. Garrett III
Midlothian, Virginia
09-032-079386, 10-032-081824
On April 20, 2011, a three-judge panel of the Chesterfield County Circuit Court suspended Stacy F. Garrett III’s license to practice law for one year. The court found he had violated professional rules that govern competence, diligence, communication, fairness to opposing party and counsel, and failure to respond to a lawful demand for information from the bar. RPC 1.1; 1.3(a); 1.4(a); 3.4(d); 8.1(c)
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Garrett-052711.pdf

Mark Michael Kantro
Norfolk, Virginia
10-021-080833
On July 13, 2011, Mr. Kantro noted an appeal of the following revocation with the Supreme Court of Virginia
A three-judge panel of the Circuit Court of the City of Norfolk revoked Mark Michael Kantro’s license to practice law effective June 11, 2011.  The court found that he had violated professional rules that govern candor toward a tribunal, fairness to opposing party and counsel, and a criminal or deliberately wrongful act and other conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation that reflect adversely on a lawyer’s fitness to practice. RPC 3.3(a)(1),(4); 3.4(a),(c),(d); 8.4(a-c)
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Kantro_Final_7-14-2011.pdf

Tina Elizabeth Orr
Norfolk, Virginia
09-021-076226, 09-021-077701, 10-021-081979, 10-021-083269
The City of Norfolk Circuit Court suspended Tina Elizabeth Orr’s license to practice law for five years and imposed terms, effective May 31, 2011. The court found she violated professional rules that govern communication; fees; safekeeping property; declining or terminating representation; reasonable fees; unauthorized practice of law; knowingly making a false statement of material fact; and a criminal or deliberately wrongful act and other misconduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation that reflect adversely on a lawyer’s fitness to practice. The court ordered Ms. Orr to refund a client $37,000. This was an agreed disposition of misconduct charges. RPC 1.4(a); 1.5(a); 1.15(a)(1),(2), (b), (c)(3),(4), (e)(1)(i-v), (f)(1)(i), (5)(i-iii); 1.16(a)(1), (d); 5.5(c); 8.1(a); 8.4(a-c)
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Orr-061611.pdf

Disciplinary Board

Margaret Louis Bassett
Black Mountain, North Carolina
12-000-088395
On July 11, 2011, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board revoked Margaret Louis Bassett’s license to practice law. In consenting to the revocation, Ms. Bassett acknowledged the truth of a pending bar proceeding and stated that she could not defend the proceeding.  On June 6, 2011, Ms. Basset pled guilty to felony driving under the influence — third DUI within ten years. Rules Part 6, § IV, ¶ 13-28
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Bassett_Consent-Revoc_7-11-11.pdf

John Arthur Elmendorf
Germantown, Maryland
11-000-086856
On March 25, 2011, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board revoked John Arthur Elmendorf’s license to practice law, based on his December 16, 2010, disbarment by the Maryland Court of Appeals. His Virginia license was summarily suspended on March 3, 2011. Rules Part 6, § IV, ¶ 13-24
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Elmendorf-040511.pdf

Brian Gay
Virginia Beach, Virginia
11-000-087465
On June 24, 2011, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board revoked Brian Gay’s license to practice law for failing to comply with a requirement that he notify clients of an administrative suspension imposed on September 24, 2010. Rules Part 6, § IV, ¶ 13-29
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Gay_Brian-Revoc_7-29-11.pdf

Joshua Jesse Robert Gessler
McLean, Virginia
11-000-085193
On June 10, 2011, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board revoked Joshua Jesse Robert Gessler’s license to practice law. In agreeing to the revocation, Mr. Gessler admitted that he was convicted of multiple felony counts of possession of child pornography, and that he could not defend any VSB charges based on the convictions. Mr. Gessler’s license has been summarily suspended since May 24. He pled guilty and was convicted on March 28 in the Fairfax County Circuit Court. Rules Part 6, § IV, ¶ 13-28
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Gessler-061011.pdf

Bruce Howard Gould
Norfolk, Virginia
05-021-3010
On April 13, 2011, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board imposed a public reprimand on Bruce Howard Gould for violating professional rules that govern competence, diligence, and conflict of interest. This was an agreed disposition of misconduct charges. RPC 1.1; 1.3(a); 1.7(a)(1),(2)
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Gould-Bruce-042911.pdf

Martin Ray Johnson
Glen Allen, Virginia
11-032-086381
On April 21, 2011, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board revoked Martin Ray Johnson’s license to practice law. In consenting to the revocation, Mr. Johnson acknowledged the material facts of a disciplinary case pending against him and that he could not successfully defend against prosecution of the case. Rules Part 6, § IV, ¶ 13-28
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Johnson-050511.pdf

James Berkley Priest
South Boston, Virginia
11-000-086613
On June 24, 2011, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board suspended James Berkley Priest’s license to practice law for twelve months based on his felony conviction in Halifax County Circuit Court of driving while intoxicated, third or subsequent offense in five years. Mr. Priest’s law license has been summarily suspended since January 20, 2011, pending a show cause hearing. Rules Part 6, § IV, ¶ 13-22
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Priest_Final_7-14-2011.pdf

Jesse Scott Shelor
Vinton, Virginia
09-080-077349, 09-080-079109
On February 18, 2011, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board revoked Jesse Scott Shelor’s license to practice law for violating professional rules that govern diligence, communication, safekeeping property, terminating representation, failing to respond to a lawful demand for information from the bar, and committing a criminal or deliberately wrongful act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness to practice. 1.3(a),(b); 1.4(a); 1.15(c)(3),(4); 1.16(d),(e); 8.1(c); 8.4(b),(c)
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Shelor-022411.pdf

Robert Henry Smallenberg
Ashland, Virginia
09-032-075885, 09-032-076648
On June 28, 2011, the Supreme Court of Virginia granted a stay pending an appeal of the suspension described below.
On June 24, 2011, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board suspended Robert Henry Smallenberg’s license to practice law for ten days for violating a professional rule that governs communication. A second case was dismissed. RPC 1.4(a)
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Smallenberg_Final_7-14-2011.pdf

William Orr Smith
Richmond, Virginia
11-033-087083
On June 13, 2011, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board revoked William Orr Smith’s license to practice law. In agreeing to the revocation, Mr. Smith acknowledged the material facts of pending disciplinary allegations and that he could not successfully defend if they were prosecuted. Rules Part 6, §IV, ¶13-28
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Smith-062111.pdf

Gregory Allen Thomas
Colonial Heights, Virginia
09-060-077778
On April 11, 2011, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board revoked Gregory Allen Thomas’s license to practice law for violating professional rules governing misconduct that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness to practice. This was an agreed disposition of disciplinary charges. RPC 8.4(b),(c)
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Thomas-042511.pdf

Bradley Douglas Wein
Richmond, Virginia
11-000-088058
On June 24, 2011, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board revoked Bradley Douglas Wein’s license to practice law for failing to notify his clients of suspensions imposed on September 24, 2010. Rules Part 6, § IV, ¶ 13-29
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Wein-070811.pdf

Katina C. Whitfield
Petersburg, Virginia
11-031-085051
On May 9, 2011, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board issued a public reprimand with terms to Katina C. Whitfield for violating professional rules that govern reasonable fees and safekeeping property. RPC 1.5(a)(1-8); 1.15(a)(2), (c)(3), (d)(1)(i), (e)(1)(i-iv),(2)(i-iii)
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Whitfield-070811.pdf

David Redd Young Jr.
Leesburg, Virginia
10-070-082366, 11-070-085556, 11-070-086436, 11-000-085412
On May 20, 2011, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board suspended David Redd Young Jr.’s license to practice law for five years. The board found that he violated professional rules that govern duties of a suspended attorney; declining or terminating representation; unauthorized practice of law; bar admission and disciplinary matters; and misconduct. Rules Part 6, § IV, ¶ 13-29; RPC 1.16(a)(1); 5.5(c); 8.1(c); 8.4(b),(c)
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Young-070811.pdf

District Committees

Sandy Yeh Chang
Rockville, Maryland
10-042-080416
On July 6, 2011, a Virginia State Bar Fourth District Subcommittee issued a public reprimand to Sandy Yeh Chang for violating professional rules that govern competence and knowingly making a false statement of fact or law to a tribunal. This was an agreed disposition of misconduct charges. RPC 1.1; 3.3(a)(1)
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Chang_PR_Determ_7-14-2011.pdf

Monica Marie Goodling
Woodbridge, Virginia
07-042-070763
On March 25, 2011, a Virginia State Bar Fourth District-Section II Subcommittee issued a public reprimand to Monica Marie Goodling for violating a professional rule that governs commission of a criminal or deliberately wrongful act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness to practice. This was an agreed disposition of misconduct charges. RPC 8.4(a),(b)
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Goodling-050511.pdf

Phillip Stone Griffin II
Winchester, Virginia
10-070-080544
On June 9, 2011, a Virginia State Bar Seventh District Subcommittee issued a public admonition with terms to Phillip Stone Griffin II for violating a professional rule that governs failing to respond to a lawful demand for information from the bar. This was an agreed disposition of misconduct charges. RPC 8.1(c)
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Griffin-070811.pdf

James Patrick Hodges
Leesburg, Virginia
09-070-076748
On May 27, 2011, a Virginia State Bar Seventh District Subcommittee issued a public reprimand to James Patrick Hodges after finding he had violated disciplinary rules that govern diligence, communication, safekeeping property, protecting a client’s interests and returning the client’s file when terminating representation, and failure to respond to a lawful demand for information from the bar. This was an agreed disposition of misconduct charges. RPC 1.3(a); 1.4(a); 1.15(a), (c)(3),(4); 1.16(d),(e); 8.1(c)
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Hodges-061611.pdf

David Colin Jones Jr.
Fairfax, Virginia
09-051-079309
On June 20, 2011, a Virginia State Bar Fifth District-Section I Subcommittee issued a public reprimand with terms to David Colin Jones Jr. for violating a professional rule that governs diligence. This was an agreed disposition of misconduct charges. RPC 1.3(a)
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Jones-070811.pdf

George G. Joyner III
Portsmouth, Virginia
10-010-082732
On April 15, 2011, a Virginia State Bar First District Subcommittee issued a public dismissal de minimis sanction to George G. Joyner III for violating a professional rule that governs safekeeping property. This was an agreed disposition of misconduct charges. RPC 1.15(c)(4)
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Joyner-051311.pdf

Edward Allen Malone
Maywood, Illinois
07-041-1222, 07-041-071135
On February 28, 2011, a panel of the Fourth District Committee, Section I, issued a public reprimand with terms to Edward Allen Malone for violating professional rules that govern diligence, declining or terminating representation, and failing to respond to a lawful demand for information from a disciplinary authority. RPC 1.3(a); 1.16(d); 8.1(c)
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Malone-051311.pdf

Paul Andrew Murphy
Falls Church, Virginia
09-053-076132
On June 20, 2011, a Virginia State Bar Fifth District-Section III Subcommittee issued a public admonition with terms to Paul Andrew Murphy for violating professional rules that require fees to be adequately explained to a client. This was an agreed disposition of misconduct charges. RPC 1.5(b)
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Murphy-070811.pdf

Alfred Lincoln Robertson Jr.
Fairfax, Virginia
09-052-076428
On June 10, 2011, a Virginia State Bar Fifth District-Section II Subcommittee issued a public reprimand with terms to Alfred Lincoln Robertson Jr. for violating professional rules that govern diligence, communication, failing to respond to a lawful demand for information from a disciplinary authority, and declining or terminating representation. This was an agreed disposition of misconduct charges. RPC 1.3(a); 1.4(a),(c); 8.1(c); 1.16(d)
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Robertson-076428-070811.pdf

Alfred Lincoln Robertson Jr.
Fairfax, Virginia
08-052-073790
On June 10, 2011, a Virginia State Bar Fifth District-Section II Subcommittee issued a public reprimand to Alfred Lincoln Robertson Jr. for violating professional rules that govern diligence, communication, and failing to respond to the bar’s lawful demand for information. This was an agreed disposition of misconduct charges. RPC 1.3(a); 1.4(a),(c); 8.1(c)
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Robertson-073790-070811.pdf

Charles James Swedish
Vienna, Virginia
09-051-078734, 09-051-077371, 09-051-079194
On June 9, 2011, a Virginia State Bar Fifth District-Section I Subcommittee imposed a public reprimand with terms on Charles James Swedish for violating professional rules that govern diligence, communication, and safekeeping property. This was an agreed disposition of misconduct charges. RPC 1.3(a); 1.4(a),(b); 1.15(a)(1),(2), (c)(3), (e)(1)(i-v), (2)(i-iii)
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Swedish-070811.pdf

October Council Proposals for Public Comment

The Virginia State Bar seeks public comment on the following proposed rule changes. Comments should be submitted in writing to Karen A. Gould, Executive Director, Virginia State Bar, 707 E. Main Street, Suite 1500, Richmond, VA 23219, no later than end of business on the date of deadline.

Rules of the Virginia Supreme Court
Proposed Amendments to Rule 1A:3, Revocation of Certificates Issued to Foreign Attorneys Admitted on Motion, Paragraph 13-6(F), Jurisdiction

Deadline for comment: October 3, 2011

The Supreme Court of Virginia asked the Virginia State Bar to study and suggest language to change the current procedure for revoking certificates issued to those admitted to practice under the reciprocity rule. These proposed amendments address that request.
Amended Rule 1A:3 would place responsibility with the Virginia State Bar for the proceedings for revocations of “foreign” lawyers — non-Virginia lawyers who are licensed outside Virginia and permitted to practice here under Rules 1A:1 and 1A:2. Amended Rule 1A:3 also would include a process for appealing an adverse decision to the Supreme Court.
Amended Paragraph 13-6(F) would extend the jurisdiction of the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board to adjudicate revocation hearings under Rule 1A:3.
Proposed amended Rule 1A:3:
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Amendment_Rule_1A-3.pdf
Current Rule 1A:3:
http://www.courts.state.va.us/courts/scv/rulesofcourt.pdf
Proposed amended ¶ 13-6(F):
http://www.vsb.org/docs/Par13-6(f)_change.pdf

MCLE Proposals for Public Comment

MCLE Opinion 16 Courses Provided by Distance Learning Methods
MCLE Opinion 16 Law Office Practice Management Programs

The Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Board is seeking comments on the following proposals, which it will consider at its October meeting. Comments should be submitted in writing to MCLE Board, Virginia State Bar, 707 East Main Street, Suite 1500, Richmond, Virginia 23219, or to Cartwright@vsb.org.

Deadline for comment: October 1, 2011

The proposals are:

  • Opinion 16 — proposed amendments to provide more comprehensive information on the standards for approval of distance learning programs presented in live or prerecorded formats, and
  • Opinion 17 — proposed amendments to provide more comprehensive information on the standards for approval of law practice management programs.

Draft opinions: http://www.vsb.org/site/members/comments-mcle-proposals-2011-07


Approved Rule Changes

Rules of Professional Conduct
Rule 1.15, Safekeeping Property
Rules of the Virginia Supreme Court, Part 6, § IV, ¶ 20

Maintenance of Trust Accounts: Notice of Election Requirements

Effective: June 21, 2011

The Supreme Court of Virginia approved amendments to Rule 1.15 that restructure and simplify record-keeping requirements for Virginia lawyers. The new rule now includes language that requires client consent or direction of a tribunal for disbursement, conversion, or use of certain funds or property by a lawyer. Amendments to ¶ 20 define Virginia State Bar-approved financial institutions, outline requirements they must follow, and clarify the types of trust accounts that can be opened by attorneys.

Details: http://www.vsb.org/pro-guidelines/index.php/rule_changes/item/rule-115-of-rules-of-professional-conduct-and-paragraph-20-of-part-6-iv/

Rules of Professional Conduct
Rule 1.18, Duties to Prospective Clients

Effective: June 21, 2011

The Supreme Court approved new Rule 1.18, which defines a prospective client to whom the duty of confidentiality is owed and distinguishes a prospective client from someone who unilaterally communicates with a lawyer with no reasonable expectation of forming an attorney-client relationship. The rule allows a law firm to screen the lawyer who discussed the possibility of employment by a prospective client to avoid imputation of a conflict to other lawyers in the firm.

Details: http://www.vsb.org/docs/Rule1-18-SCV-order-062111.pdf

Proposed Rule Change

Rules of Professional Conduct
Proposed Amendments to Rule 7.1–7.5 Information about Legal Services
Deadline for comment: September 16, 2011
Proposed changes to Rules 7.1, 7.3, and 7.5 were revised in response to comments received after the proposal was first published in March 2010. In addition, the committee presents a new proposal to eliminate Rules 7.2 and 7.4.

Rules 7.1–7.5 regulate lawyer advertising and solicitation. Overall, the committee’s proposed amendments make these rules more general in their application by removing the specific examples of lawyer advertising statements or claims from the body of the rules to the comment section. Specifically, the proposed amendments to Rule 7.1 would delete the terms “fraudulent” and “deceptive.” If a lawyer’s advertising is “fraudulent” or “deceptive,” it would therefore be “false” or “misleading.” The committee believes that statements in lawyer advertising that are “false” or “misleading” violate Rule 7.1 regardless of any intent by the lawyer to deceive the public or defraud a consumer.

The committee’s new proposal to delete Rule 7.2 is based on the conclusion that the rule is largely a repetition of Rules 7.1 and 7.3. Relevant parts of Rule 7.2 regarding lawyer advertising are incorporated within Rule 7.1, as “Communications” covers all lawyer advertising; relevant parts of Rule 7.2 regarding paying others to recommend a lawyer have been incorporated within Rule 7.3.

The proposed amendments to Rule 7.3 would both broaden and narrow the scope of the prohibition against in-person solicitation. The amendments would broaden the scope of the prohibition by applying the rule to cover all types of matters, not only personal injury and wrongful death cases. As the last sentence in proposed Comment [1] explains, “A person in need of legal services for a divorce, bankruptcy, or criminal defense may be just as overwhelmed and vulnerable to suggestion as a person in need of legal services in cases involving personal injury or wrongful death.” In response to the comments regarding this rule, the committee’s revised proposal would narrow the scope of the prohibition against in-person solicitation by requiring harassment, coercion, duress, compulsion, intimidation, threats, or unwarranted promises of benefits, taking into consideration the prospective client’s sophistication and other circumstances.

Rule 7.3 maintains the requirement that advertisements targeted to a potential client known to be in need of particular legal services be labeled “ADVERTISING MATERIAL,” but clarifies and expands the exceptions to that requirement. The rule includes a new subsection which provides that a communication from a lawyer to a recipient who had prior contact with the lawyer is exempt from the labeling requirement.

The committee’s proposal to delete Rule 7.4 in its entirety is based on the committee’s conclusion that any claim or statement of specialization should be measured by the “false” or “misleading” standard used in Rule 7.1 and that a specific rule for a particular type of statement or claim is both unnecessary and redundant. If a lawyer communicates a specialty certification, the lawyer’s communication will be evaluated under Rule 7.1’s requirement that any advertising regarding a lawyer’s specialty certification cannot be misleading and must be truthful. The committee makes this point in Rule 7.1, new Comment [4].
The proposed amendments to Rule 7.5 would add a new Comment [3] clarifying that lawyers should practice using the official name under which the lawyer is licensed or seek an appropriate and legal change of name from the Supreme Court of Virginia.
Proposed amended rules: http://www.vsb.org/docs/Proposed_7_1–7_5.pdf
Current rules: http://www.vsb.org/pro-guidelines/index.php/rules/information-about-legal-services/

Final Ethics Opinions

Legal Ethics Opinion 1857
May a prosecutor offer, and may a criminal defense lawyer advise his client to accept, a plea agreement that requires a waiver of the right to later claim ineffective assistance of counsel?
Details: http://www.vacle.org/opinions/1857.htm

Legal Ethics Opinion 1858
May a lawyer agree to indemnify an insurance company as a condition of settlement?
Details: http://www.vacle.org/opinions/1858.htm

Notices To Members

MCLE Live Programming Requirement Starts Next Year
Mandatory Continuing Legal Education course requirements have not changed for the current year that ends October 31, 2011. However, starting in the next compliance year that ends October 31, 2012, active attorneys must attend at least four credit hours of live interactive programming to meet their annual MCLE requirements.
For definitions of “live interactive” and other frequently asked questions, see http://www.vsb.org/site/members/faqs-2012-mcle-reg-changes.

MCLE Administrative Suspensions
Attorneys who have been administratively suspended for failing to comply with Mandatory Continuing Legal Education requirements for 2010 have been listed at VSB.org. The VSB has been unable to contact some of these attorneys. The bar requests that members report the location and practice status of any person on the list by contacting the MCLE Department at (804) 775-0577 or MCLE@vsb.org. The posted list is current as of July 22, 2011. To determine whether a listed attorney has fulfilled MCLE obligations after that date, contact the MCLE Department.
List: http://www.vsb.org/site/members/administrative-suspensions#MCLE

Nominations Sought for Disciplinary Board, MCLE Board, and Council Members at Large

Deadline for nominations: September 7, 2011

Volunteers are needed to serve on the Virginia State Bar Council, Disciplinary Board, and Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Board. The Nominating Committee will refer nominees to the VSB Council for consideration at its October meeting.

Vacancies in 2012 are listed below. All appointments or elections will be for the terms specified, beginning July 1, 2012.

  • Council Members at Large: 3 vacancies (of which 2 incumbents are eligible for reappointment to a second term). May serve 2 consecutive 3-year terms.
  • Disciplinary Board: 5 lawyer vacancies and 1 lay member vacancy (of which 3 lawyer members are eligible for reappointment to a second 3-year term, 2 lawyer members are not eligible for reappointment, and 1 lay member is not eligible for reappointment to a second 3-year term). District committee service is preferred. May serve 2 consecutive 3-year terms.
  • Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Board: 4 lawyer vacancies (of which 4 current members are eligible for reappointment to a second term). May serve 2 consecutive 3-year terms.

Nominations, along with a brief résumé, should be sent to Irving M. Blank, Chair, VSB Nominating Committee, Virginia State Bar, 707 E. Main St., Suite 1500, Richmond, VA 23219, or emailed to nominations@vsb.org.