As used in this Paragraph, the following terms shall have the
meaning herein stated unless the context clearly requires otherwise:
“Adjudication of a Crime Proceeding” means the proceeding which
follows the summary Suspension of an Attorney after receipt by the
Clerk of the Disciplinary System of initial notification from any
court of competent jurisdiction stating that an Attorney has been
found guilty of a Crime, irrespective of whether sentencing has
“Admonition” means a finding that Respondent has committed
No substantial harm to the Complainant or the public has occurred;
The Misconduct is minor and Respondent has taken reasonable
precautions against a recurrence or there is otherwise little
likelihood of repetition; or
There exist exceptional circumstances, which must be set forth in
An Admonition may be imposed as a
- Private sanction by a Subcommittee sua sponte;
Private or public sanction based upon an Agreed Disposition
approved by a Subcommittee; or
Public sanction imposed by a District Committee, the Board, or a
three-judge Circuit Court.
“Agreed Disposition” means the disposition of a Disciplinary
Proceeding agreed to by Respondent and Bar Counsel and approved by a
Subcommittee, District Committee, the Board or a Circuit Court.
“Answer” means a written response to a Charge of Misconduct,
Certification, or petition for expedited hearing, which shall
respond to each fact and Misconduct allegation contained in the
Charge of Misconduct, Certification, or petition for expedited
hearing, and be signed by the Respondent.
“Attorney” means a member of the Bar, a Corporate Counsel
Registrant, Foreign Lawyer, Foreign Legal Consultant, and any member
of the bar of any other jurisdiction while engaged,
pro hac vice or otherwise, in the practice of law in
“Bar” means the Virginia State Bar.
“Bar Counsel” means the Attorney who is appointed as such by Council
and who is approved by the Attorney General pursuant to Va. Code §
2.2-510 and such deputies, assistants, and Investigators as may be
necessary to carry out the duties of the office, except where the
duties must specifically be performed by the individual appointed
pursuant to Va. Code § 2.2-510.
“Bar Official” means any Bar officer or any member, employee, or
counsel of Council, the Board, a District Committee, or COLD.
“Board” means the Bar Disciplinary Board.
“Certification” means the document issued by a Subcommittee or a
District Committee when it has elected to certify allegations of
Misconduct to the Board for its consideration, which document shall
include sufficient facts to reasonably notify Bar Counsel and
Respondent of the basis for such Certification and the Disciplinary
Rules alleged to have been violated.
“Certification for Sanction Determination” means the document issued
by a District Committee to certify to the Board that a sanction
within the power of the Board is in order where the District
Committee has found that Respondent failed to fulfill the terms of a
Public Reprimand with Terms issued either by a Subcommittee on the
basis of an Agreed Disposition or by a District Committee.
“Chair” unless otherwise specified, means the Chair, Vice Chair, or
Acting Chair of a District Committee, or a Section, Panel, or
Subcommittee of a District Committee, or of the Board or any Panel
of the Board.
“Charge of Misconduct” means the notice given by the Bar to a
Respondent, setting forth generally the Misconduct alleged to have
been committed by the Respondent, and identifying the specific
Disciplinary Rule(s) alleged to have been violated by the
Respondent. The Charge of Misconduct shall also include the date,
time, and place of the hearing.
“Circuit Court” means a court designated as such by Va. Code
“Clerk” means the Clerk of the Disciplinary System who, together
with such assistants as may be required, provides administrative
support to the disciplinary system and serves as official custodian
of the records of the disciplinary system, unless the context
“COLD” means the Standing Committee on Lawyer Discipline.
“Complainant” means the initiator of a Complaint.
"Complaint" means any written communication alleging Misconduct or
from which allegations of Misconduct reasonably may be inferred.
“Committee Counsel” means an Attorney District Committee member
assigned to prosecute a Complaint.
“Corporate Counsel Registrant” means a person who has been recorded
by the Virginia State Bar as a Corporate Counsel Registrant pursuant
to Rule 1A:5.
“Costs” means reasonable costs paid by the Bar to outside experts,
consultants, or guardians ad litem in a proceeding conducted
pursuant to subparagraph 13-22; reasonable travel and out-of-pocket
expenses for witnesses; Court Reporter and transcript fees;
electronic and telephone conferencing and recording costs, if such
procedures are requested by Respondent; copying, mailing, and
required publication costs; translator fees; and an administrative
charge determined by Council.
“Council” means the Council of the Bar.
“Court Reporter” means a person who is qualified to transcribe
proceedings in a Circuit Court.
“CRESPA” See “RESA.”
Any offense declared to be a felony by federal or state law;
Any other offense involving theft, fraud, forgery, extortion,
bribery, or perjury;
An attempt, solicitation or conspiracy to commit any of the
- Any of the foregoing found by a foreign jurisdiction.
“Disbarment” has the same meaning as Revocation.
“Disciplinary Proceeding” means any proceeding governed by this
Paragraph except an Impairment Proceeding.
“Disciplinary Record” means any tangible or electronic record of:
Any proceeding in which the Respondent has been found to have
committed Misconduct, including those proceedings in which (a) the
Board’s or three-judge Circuit Court’s finding of Misconduct has
been appealed to this Court; (b) the Respondent’s License has been
revoked upon consent to revocation or Respondent has been found
guilty of a Crime; or (c) the Respondent has received a sanction
pursuant to this Paragraph; and
Any proceeding in which the Respondent has been found to have
committed a violation of CRESPA or RESA; and
Any proceeding in this or any other jurisdiction which resulted in
a sanction creating a disciplinary record at the time it was
“Disciplinary Record” does not include administrative, interim,
summary, or Impairment Suspensions.
“Disciplinary Rules” means:
the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct and Virginia Code of
Professional Responsibility, as applicable; and
the disciplinary rules of any other jurisdiction applicable under
Rule 8.5 of the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct.
“Dismissal” means the dismissal of a Complaint or Disciplinary
Proceeding by Bar Counsel, a Subcommittee, a District Committee, the
Board or a Circuit Court.
“Dismissal De Minimis” means a finding that the Respondent
has engaged in Misconduct that is clearly not of sufficient
magnitude to warrant disciplinary action, and Respondent has taken
reasonable precautions against a recurrence of same.
“Dismissal for Exceptional Circumstances” means a finding that the
Respondent has engaged in Misconduct but there exist exceptional
circumstances mitigating against further proceedings, which
circumstances shall be set forth in writing.
“District Committee” means one of the District Committees appointed
as hereinafter provided or, where the context requires, a Panel, a
Section, or a Subcommittee thereof.
“District Committee Determination” means the written decision of a
District Committee or a Subcommittee of a District Committee,
relating to a Complaint or Charge of Misconduct.
“Executive Committee” means the Executive Committee of the Bar.
“Executive Director” means the Executive Director of the Bar and any
deputy or assistant designated by Council to act as Executive
“Files” means those files maintained by the Clerk of the
Disciplinary System, and office of Bar Counsel with respect to each
“Foreign Lawyer” means a person authorized to practice law by the
duly constituted and authorized governmental body of any State or
Territory of the United States or the District of Columbia, or a
foreign nation, but is neither licensed by the Court or authorized
under its rules to practice law generally in the Commonwealth of
Virginia, nor disbarred or suspended from practice in any
“Foreign Legal Consultant” means a person who has been issued a
foreign legal consultant certificate by the Virginia Board of Bar
Examiners pursuant to Rule 1A:7.
“Impairment” means any physical or mental condition that materially
impairs the fitness of an Attorney to practice law.
“Impairment Proceeding” means any proceeding:
Initiated by Bar Counsel to petition the Board to order the
Respondent to undergo examination(s) and provide releases for
Initiated by a District Committee, the Board, or Bar Counsel to
determine whether an Attorney has an Impairment;
That follows the summary Suspension of an Attorney who may have an
That follows a request by Respondent to terminate an Impairment
“Investigation” means any inquiry by Bar Counsel, Committee Counsel,
or the Bar’s designee concerning any alleged Misconduct or Crime
committed by an Attorney or any Impairment of an Attorney.
“Investigative Report” means the report prepared as a result of an
“Investigator” means a person designated by the Bar to conduct an
“Judge” means a judge within the meaning of Va. Code §17.1-900, and
any judge appointed or elected under the laws of any other
“Lawyer Assistance Program” means a mental health and/or substance
abuse treatment program for Attorneys that is approved by the Bar.
“License” means the license or authority to practice law granted by
“Memorandum Order” means the opinion and order of the Board entered
following a Disciplinary Proceeding that shall contain a brief
statement of the findings of fact; the nature of the Misconduct
shown by such findings of fact; the Disciplinary Rules found to have
been violated by clear and convincing evidence; the sanction
imposed; the notice requirements, if any, imposed upon Respondent;
the time in which Terms are required to be satisfied by Respondent,
if Terms are imposed; the alternative sanction, if Respondent fails
to comply with any Terms that are imposed; the name and address of
the Court Reporter who served at the hearing; the names of the
members of the Board that constituted the Panel; and that Costs
shall be reimbursed by Respondent.
“Misconduct” means any:
- Unlawful conduct described in Va. Code § 54.1-3935;
- Violation of the Disciplinary Rules;
- Conviction of a Crime;
Conviction of any other criminal offense or commission of a
deliberately wrongful act that reflects adversely on the
Attorney’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as an Attorney; or
Violation of RESA or any regulations adopted pursuant thereto.
“Panel” means a group of members of a Section, District Committee,
or the Board hearing a disciplinary matter that constitutes the
quorum required by this Paragraph.
“Paragraph” means Paragraph 13 of the Rules of this Court, Part Six,
- An Attorney seeking Reinstatement after a Revocation; or
An Attorney seeking termination of an Impairment Suspension; or
A Bar Counsel or District Committee Chair seeking an expedited
hearing before the Board and alleging that an Attorney is engaging
in Misconduct likely to result in injury to or loss of property of
a client or other entity, or alleging an Attorney poses imminent
danger to the public.
“Private Discipline” means any form of discipline that is not
“Private Reprimand” means a form of non-public discipline that
declares privately the conduct of the Respondent improper but does
not limit the Respondent’s right to practice law.
“Proceeding” means the same as Disciplinary Proceeding.
“Public Reprimand” means a form of public discipline that declares
publicly the conduct of the Respondent improper, but does not limit
the Respondent’s right to practice law.
“Receivership” means a receivership created pursuant to Va. Code §
54.1-3900.01 or § 54.1-3936.
“Reinstatement” means the restoration by this Court of an Attorney’s
License in the manner provided in this Paragraph.
“Reinstatement Proceeding” means the proceeding which takes place
upon referral from this Court of a Petition for Reinstatement by an
Attorney whose License was previously revoked.
"RESA" means Chapters 9 (titled “Real Estate Settlements”) and 10
(titled “Real Estate Settlement Agents”) of Title 55.1 of the Code
of Virginia (formerly "Consumer Real Estate Settlement Protection
Act" or "CRESPA").
“Respondent” means any Attorney:
- Who is the subject of a Complaint;
Who is the subject of any proceeding under this Paragraph, Va.
Code §§ 54.1-3900.01, 54.1-3935, 54.1-3936, or RESA; or
Who is the subject of an Adjudication of a Crime Proceeding,
Proceedings upon Disbarment, Revocation or Suspension in another
jurisdiction, Impairment Proceeding, or Reinstatement Proceeding.
“Revocation” means any revocation of an Attorney’s License and, when
applied to a lawyer not admitted or authorized to practice law in
Virginia, means the exclusion from the admission to, or the exercise
of any privilege to, practice law in Virginia.
“Section” means a subgroup of a District Committee that has the same
powers, authority, and duties as the District Committee.
“Subcommittee” means a subgroup of a District Committee or any
Section thereof, convened for the purpose of performing the
functions of a Subcommittee as described in this Paragraph.
“Summary Order” means a bench order entered by the Chair or
three-judge Circuit Court following a Disciplinary Proceeding that
outlines in summary form the findings as to the allegations of
Misconduct, the sanctions to be imposed, if any, the effective date
of any sanctions imposed, and any notice requirements.
“Suspension” means the temporary suspension of an Attorney’s License
for either a fixed or indefinite period of time and, when applied to
a lawyer not admitted or authorized to practice law in Virginia,
means the temporary or indefinite exclusion from the admission to,
or the exercise of any privilege to, practice law in Virginia.
“Terms” shall mean those conditions imposed on the Respondent by a
Subcommittee, District Committee, Board, or Circuit Court, that
require the Respondent to perform certain remedial actions as a
necessary condition for the imposition of an Admonition, a Private
or Public Reprimand, or a Suspension pursuant to this Paragraph.
“Va. Code” means the 1950 Code of Virginia, as amended.
The amendments effective July 16, 2021, revised
Paragraph 13 to promote greater fairness, efficiency, consistency,
and transparency in bar proceedings.
The amendments effective March 15, 2020, revised
Paragraph 13-1 to clarify language for “Memorandum Order” and
The amendments effective December 1, 2019, revised
Paragraph 13-1 to clarify and simplify language.