Virginia Lawyer Register - March 2010
- Rules of Court Paragraph 10 & Rules of Professional Conduct 7.2(b) Sunset of Standing Committee on Lawyer Advertising and Solicitation
- Rules of Professional Conduct 1.9 & 1.11 — Conflicts of Interest for Government Officers and Employees
- Rules of Professional Conduct 1.17 — Sale or Purchase of Law Practice
- License Forfeitures
- Call for Nominations
- Professional Guidelines To Be Published Online in Searchable Format
View March Virginia Lawyer Register (PDF of mailed version with hyperlinks to additional materials)
|Respondent’s Name||Address of Record||Action||Effective Date|
|Carl Herman Bundick||Accomac, VA||Public Reprimand w/Terms||September 24, 2009|
|John Francis Gonzales||Alexandria, VA||Suspension – 6 months w/Terms||February 1, 2010|
|Walter Ware Morrison||Virginia Beach, VA||Suspension – 90 Days||October 15, 2009|
|Stacy F. Garrett III||Midlothian, VA||Suspension – 1 year w/Terms||December 11, 2009|
|Marcus Noah Perdue III ||Covington, VA ||Suspension – 60 days||November 2, 2009 |
|Tonja Michelle Roberts ||Danville, VA||Suspension – 3 years||November 20, 2009|
|Johnnye Belinda Duff||Virginia Beach, VA||Public Reprimand ||December 18, 2009|
|Robert P. Dwoskin ||Charlottesville, VA||Public Reprimand||January 7, 2010 |
|Leron William Gilchrist||Norfolk, VA||Public Admonition w/Terms||December 18, 2009|
|Anne Holland Harris||Richmond, VA||Public Admonition w/Terms||December 23, 2009|
|Claudia Joy Zucker||Arlington, VA||Public Reprimand||December 11, 2009|
|Suspension – Failure to Pay Disciplinary Costs||Effective Date||Lifted|
|Barbara Lyn Brackett||Vienna, VA||January 13, 2010|
|David Eugene Cecil||Grundy, VA||January 25, 2010|
|Paul Michael Childers ||Grundy, VA||January 21, 2010|
|Anthony Gerome Davis ||Birmingham, AL||December 16, 2009|
|Crystal Anita Gist Fisher||Waldorf, MD||January 6, 2010|
|Walter Franklin Green IV||Harrisonburg, VA||February 8, 2010|
|Matthew Bennett Greene||United Kingdom||January 27, 2010|
|Ralph E. Mirarchi||Wayne, PA||December 8, 2009|
|Peter Paul Mitrano||Merrifield, VA||January 8, 2010||January 20, 2010|
|Donald F. Snow Jr.||Madison, CT||February 8, 2010|
|Joseph Louis Tantoh Tibui||Hyattsville, MD||January 22, 2010|
|Suspension – Failure to Comply with Subpoena||Effective Date||Lifted |
|Phillip Stone Griffin II||Winchester, VA||February 8, 2010|
|Gary Lance Smith||Winchester, VA||January 25, 2010|
The following are summaries of disciplinary actions for violations of the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) (Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, Part 6, § II, eff. Jan. 1, 2000) or another of the Supreme Court rules (Rules). References to Part 6, § IV, ¶ 13 refer to the reformatted Rules effective May 1, 2009, unless otherwise indicated.
Copies of complete 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. VSB docket numbers are provided.
Carl Herman Bundick
On September 24, 2009, a three-judge panel in the Virginia Beach Circuit Court imposed a public reprimand with terms on Carl Herman Bundick for violating disciplinary rules that govern diligence and communication. The misconduct occurred in his representation in a divorce. RPC 1.3(a); 1.4(a-c)
John Francis Gonzales
On January 13, 2010, a three-judge panel in the Alexandria Circuit Court suspended John Francis Gonzales’s license to practice law for six months, effective February 1, 2010, and imposed terms on the suspension. The court found that he violated disciplinary rules by engaging in misrepresentation that reflects adversely on a lawyer’s fitness to practice. Mr. Gonzales stipulated that he misrepresented his role in limited liability companies created in connection with loan transactions. This was an agreed disposition of misconduct charges. RPC 8.4(a),(c)
Walter Ware Morrison
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Effective October 15, 2009, a three-judge panel in the Virginia Beach Circuit Court suspended Walter Ware Morrison’s license to practice law for ninety days for violating professional rules that govern candor toward the tribunal and misconduct that reflects adversely on a lawyer’s fitness to practice. The case involved a visitation and custody dispute. RPC 3.3(a)(1), 8.4(c)
On December 11, 2009, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board suspended Stacy F. Garrett III’s law license for one year and imposed terms on the suspension. The board found that Mr. Garrett violated disciplinary rules that govern diligence, communication, safekeeping property, declining or terminating representation, bar admission and disciplinary matters, and misconduct that reflects adversely on a lawyer’s fitness to practice. The matters involved Mr. Garrett’s representations in two clemency petitions, restoration of a driver’s license, and pardon of a domestic violence conviction. RPC 1.3(a); 1.4(a); 1.15(c)(4); 1.16(a)(3); 1.16(d); 8.1(c); 8.4(c)
Marcus Noah Perdue III
On November 2, 2009, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board issued a public reprimand with terms to Marcus Noah Perdue III for violating professional rules that govern candor toward a tribunal. Mr. Perdue did not disclose to a U.S. bankruptcy court that two matters involving marital debt had been litigated and decided in a Virginia circuit court. RPC 3.3(a)(1-3)
On November 20, 2009, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board suspended Tonja Michelle Roberts's license to practice law for three years for failing to comply with the terms of a previous one-year suspension. She did not comply with the terms of her contract with Lawyers Helping Lawyers. Rules Part 6, § IV, ¶ 13-18.0
On December 18, 2009, a Virginia State Bar Second District Subcommittee issued a public reprimand to Johnnye Belinda Duff for violating disciplinary rules that govern diligence and communication. The cases involved several divorce representations. This was an agreed determination of misconduct charges. RPC 1.3(a); 1.4(a)
On January 7, 2010, a Virginia State Bar Seventh District Subcommittee issued a public reprimand with terms to Robert P. Dwoskin for violating disciplinary rules that govern competence, diligence, and bar admission and disciplinary matters. The misconduct occurred in his representation of a client in an employment discrimination lawsuit. This was an agreed disposition of misconduct charges. RPC 1.1; 1.3(a); 8.1(c)
Leron William Gilchrist
On December 18, 2009, a Virginia State Bar Second District Subcommittee issued a public reprimand with terms to Leron William Gilchrist for violating rules that govern diligence, communication, and declining or terminating representation in two court-appointed criminal cases. This was an agreed disposition of misconduct charges. RPC 1.3(a); 1.4(a),(b); 1.16(d)
On December 23, 2009, a Virginia State Bar Third District-Section III Subcommittee issued a public admonition with terms to Anne Holland Harris for violating disciplinary rules that govern conflict of interest: prohibited transactions and misconduct that reflects adversely on a lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness to practice law. This was an agreed disposition of misconduct charges. RPC 1.8(a)(1-3), (j)(1),(2); 8.4(b)
On December 11, 2009, the Virginia State Bar Fourth District Committee-Section I issued a public reprimand to Claudia Joy Zucker for violating disciplinary rules that govern candor toward the tribunal and misconduct that reflects adversely on a lawyer’s fitness to practice. While testifying as an expert witness before the Board of Immigration Appeals, Ms. Zucker stated under oath that a Virginia State Bar disciplinary complaint against her had been dismissed when, in fact, it had resulted in a private reprimand, and she also misrepresented that she had not been represented by counsel in the disciplinary proceeding, when she actually was. RPC 3.3(a); 8.4(c)
The following proposal is published for public comment. All comments should be submitted in writing to Karen A. Gould, Executive Director, Virginia State Bar, 707 East Main Street, Suite 1500, Richmond, VA 23219, no later than end of business on the day of deadline.
Deadline for comment: April 14, 2010
The Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Legal Ethics is seeking public comment on proposed amendments to Rules 7.1 – 7.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
Rules 7.1 – 7.5 regulate lawyer advertising and solicitation. Overall, the proposed amendments make the rules more general in their application by removing specific examples of lawyer advertising from the body of the rule and placing those requirements in the comments, along with examples of applications taken from this Ethics Committee’s opinions on lawyer advertising.
Specifically, the proposed amendments would accomplish the following:
- Rule 7.1 as amended 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.
- Rule 7.2 as amended would eliminate the requirement of a disclaimer for specific or cumulative case results. Statements regarding cumulative case results are still subject, however, to the “misleading” standard of Rule 7.1 and can violate the professional rules if the withholding of material facts renders the statements misleading. Amendments to 7.2(c) would allow lawyers to participate in a qualified legal services plan or a not-for-profit legal referral service that has been approved by the Ethics Committee. New Rule 7.2(e) would require advertising lawyers to respond in a timely manner to the VSB ethics counsel’s requests for information regarding the lawyer’s advertisements.
- Rule 7.3 as amended would broaden the scope of the prohibition against in-person solicitation to cover all types of matters — not only personal injury and wrongful death cases. As the last sentence in proposed Comment  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.” This ban would be expanded in Rule 7.3(b) to prohibit soliciting clients involved in a public interest matter or legal services representation where the lawyer is providing pro bono work.
- The proposed amendments to Rule 7.4 are undergoing consideration by the Ethics Committee.
- Rule 7.5 as amended would add a new Comment  clarifying that a lawyer 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.
The following rule amendments have been approved by the Supreme Court of Virginia:
Rules of the Supreme Court
Part 6, § IV, ¶10 and Rules of Professional Conduct 7.2(b)
Sunset of Standing Committee on Lawyer Advertising and Solicitation
Effective: January 22, 2010
On January 22, 2010, the Court approved amendments to Paragraph 10 and Rule 7.2(b) that sunset the Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Lawyer Advertising and Solicitation, effective immediately. The VSB’s Standing Committee on Legal Ethics is now responsible for responding to informal opinion requests that relate to lawyer advertising and solicitation. The VSB’s legal ethics staff will continue to monitor and review lawyer advertising and issue noncompliance letters that will alert lawyers to problematic advertisements. The VSB ethics counsel will continue to review and advise lawyers on their ads in advance of dissemination on a timely basis.
Effective: January 4, 2010
On November 2, 2009, the Court approved amendments that provide direction to lawyers on law firm disqualifications when lawyers move from private to public employment.
Amendments to Rule 1.9 and 1.11 of the Rules of Professional Conduct move Comment  to the body of Rule 1.11, since the comment deals with a substantive issue of lawyer conduct — disqualification of other lawyers in an agency when one of the lawyers is disqualified from a matter. The amendment to Rule 1.9, Comment , provides direction to lawyers regarding law firm disqualifications when lawyers move from private to public employment.
Effective: January 4, 2010
On November 2, 2009, the Court approved an amendment to Rule 1.17 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The amended rule prohibits a lawyer who sells part of a law practice from engaging in the private practice of law in the same geographic area only with respect to the particular practice area that he or she sold.
The amended rule requires a lawyer who sells a practice to sell the entire practice or area of practice to prevent the buyer from retaining the most attractive or lucrative cases at the expense of clients whose cases are not as desirable, thereby protecting clients who may find it difficult to secure substitute counsel.
On December 29, 2009, the Virginia State Bar Standing Committee on Legal Ethics approved advisory Legal Ethics Opinion 1853, which addresses issues involved when a lawyer enters into a sexual relationship with a client during the course of representation.
An electronic version of the opinion with endnotes is posted at http://www.vacle.org/opinions/1853.htm.
The names of Virginia State Bar members who have forfeited their licenses to practice law for failure to pay annual membership fees are posted at http://www.vsb.org/site/members/license-forfeitures/. Forfeiture is governed by Code of Virginia § 54.1-3914, Title 54.1, Professions and Occupations. The list is current as of February 24, 2010.
The VSB Nominating Committee, consisting of Chair Manuel A. Capsalis, John Y. Richardson, Jr., Judith L. Rosenblatt, Aubrey J. Rosser, Jr., and Edna Ruth Vincent, calls for nominations for special board and committee vacancies to be filled by Council in June.
Vacancies in 2010 are listed below. All appointments or elections will be for the terms specified, beginning on July 1, 2010.
6 vacancies (of which 3 current members are eligible for reelection and 3 current members are not eligible for reelection). Filled from ranks of bar Council for 1-year terms by Council election.
CLIENTS’ PROTECTION FUND BOARD
2 member-at-large vacancies and 5 lawyer vacancies (of which 1 member-at-large is not eligible for reelection, 4 current lawyer members from the First, Second, Fourth, and Fifth disciplinary districts are not eligible for reelection, 1 current lawyer member is eligible for reelection, and 1 lay member-at-large is eligible for reelection). May serve 2 consecutive 3-year terms. Elected by Council.
JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS COMMITTEE
3 vacancies and 1 member-at-large vacancy (of which 1 vacancy is to be filled by a member from the 16th, 20th or 26th judicial circuits; the 2nd vacancy is to be filled by a member from the 9th or 15th judicial circuits, the 3rd vacancy must be filled by a member from the 19th or 31st judicial circuits; and 1 member-at-large is not eligible for reelection). May serve 1 full 3-year term. Elected by Council.
VIRGINIA LAW FOUNDATION BOARD
2 lawyer vacancies and 1 lay member vacancy (of which 1 current lawyer member is eligible for reelection and 1 lay member is not eligible for reelection). May serve 2 consecutive 3-year terms. Elected by VLF Board on recommendation of Council.
VIRGINIA CLE COMMITTEE
6 lawyer vacancies (of which 6 lawyer members are eligible for reelection to 1-year terms). Elected by VLF Board on recommendation of Council.
AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION DELEGATES
2 vacancies (of which 1 present delegate is eligible for reelection and 1 present delegate does not seek reelection). May serve 3 consecutive 2-year terms. Elected by Council.
Nominations, along with a brief résumé, should be sent by April 30, 2010, to VSB Nominating Committee, c/o Valerie Breeden, Virginia State Bar 707 East Main Street, Suite 1500, Richmond, VA 23219-2800
The Virginia State Bar Professional Guidelines for the first time are being published online in a searchable HTML format that will allow users to quickly access the sections they are looking for without flipping through pages or waiting for PDFs to download.
Because the format will meet most VSB members’ needs, print copies of the Professional Guidelines were not mailed with the October 2009 issue of Virginia Lawyer. A limited number of copies will be printed and provided to members on request.
The print version is published each fall and contains the rules and regulations of the bar, including the Rules of Professional Conduct, attorney trust account regulations, mandatory continuing legal education regulations and forms, Virginia Consumer Real Estate Settlement Protection Act regulations, and portions of the Rules of the Supreme Court that outline VSB governance and the procedure for disciplining attorneys.
The online HTML version will allow members to browse the Rules of Professional Conduct by using a table of contents with hot links. Previously, the Professional Guidelines were available on the VSB website only as PDF files. The HTML version will be updated throughout the year to provide a current version at all times. The print version is updated once a year. Changes approved by the VSB Council and the Supreme Court of Virginia are published online as a supplement.
Watch your first-of-the-month VSB E-News for further details.