Professional Guidelines

An agency of the Supreme Court of Virginia

The Virginia State Bar

Professional Guidelines

13-12 Substantial Compliance, Notice and Evidentiary Rulings, and Address Notification

  1. Substantial Compliance. Except where this Paragraph provides specific time deadlines, substantial compliance with the provisions hereof shall be sufficient, and no allegation of Misconduct shall be dismissed on the sole ground that any such provision has not been strictly complied with.
  2. Time Deadlines. Where specific time deadlines are provided, such deadlines shall be jurisdictional, except when the Clerk, Bar Counsel, a District Committee or the Board is granted specific authority herein to extend or otherwise modify any such deadline.
  3. Service. Whenever any notice or other writing directed to the Respondent is required or permitted under this Rule, such notice or other writing shall be deemed effective and served when mailed by certified mail to the Respondent at the Respondent’s last address on record for membership purposes with the Bar or, if service cannot be effected at the Respondent’s last address on record, or if the Respondent is a Foreign Lawyer, or a lawyer engaged pro hac vice in the practice of law in Virginia, or a lawyer not admitted in Virginia, by first class mail to the Clerk of this Court.
  4. Evidentiary Rulings. In any Disciplinary Proceeding, evidentiary rulings shall be made favoring receipt into evidence of all reasonably probative evidence to satisfy the ends of justice. The weight given such evidence received shall be commensurate with its evidentiary foundation and likely reliability.
  5. Rights of Counsel for Complainant or Witness. Neither counsel for the Complainant, if there is one, nor counsel for any witnesses, may examine or cross-examine any witness, introduce any evidence or present any argument.
  6. Notice of Impairment Evidence. A Respondent who intends to rely upon evidence of an Impairment in mitigation of Misconduct shall, absent good cause excusing his or her failure to do so, provide notice not less than 14 days prior to the hearing to Bar Counsel and the District Committee or Board of his or her intention to do so.
  7. English Required. All communication with the Bar, whether written or oral, shall be in English.


The amendments effective December 1, 2019revised Paragraph 13-12 to clarify and simplify language.

The amendments effective February 17, 2011, revised Paragraph 13 regarding multijurisdictional practice.

The amendments effective March 19, 2010, revised Paragraph 13 dealing with the use of the phrase "Charge of Misconduct".

Updated: November 25, 2019