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Home > Actions on Rule Changes and Legal Ethics Opinions > amendments to Paragraph 13 regarding bar proceedings.

Adopted | amendments to Paragraph 13 regarding bar proceedings. Approved by the Supreme Court of Virginia May 17, 2021, effective July 16, 2021.

Update May 17, 2021:
On May 17, 2021, the Supreme Court of Virginia approved amendments to the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia Part 6, Section IV, Paragraph 13. Effective July 16, 2021.

View the court's order.

Update March 9, 2021:
On February 27, 2021, the VSB Council approved by a vote of 61-0, with one abstention, the proposed amendments to Paragraph 13. The proposed amendments were presented to the Supreme Court of Virginia for approval on March 8, 2021.

View the petition to the Court (pdf)

The Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Lawyer Discipline proposes the following amendments to the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, Part 6, Section IV, Paragraph 13 to promote greater fairness, efficiency, consistency, and transparency in bar proceedings by:

1) conforming the Agreed Disposition process for charges on the public District Committee docket with Agreed Dispositions at the Board level by requiring agreed disposition proceedings on Charges of Misconduct be public; allowing such proceedings to be conducted telephonically; and disqualifying panel members who review the Agreed Disposition from hearing the Charge of Misconduct;

2) conforming the process for filing a motion for reconsideration or modification of a District Committee’s decision following a hearing on a Charge of Misconduct with the process at the Board level;

3) clarifying the Chair of the District Committee in which the Complaint is pending has the sole authority to issue a summons or subpoena on behalf of a Respondent;

4) requiring counsel for a Respondent to seek leave to withdraw in any proceeding pending before the Board, a three-judge circuit court, or a District Committee where a Charge of Misconduct has been issued;

5) defining “Answer” and clarifying that to request a three-judge circuit court a Respondent must file both a demand and an Answer to the pending Charge of Misconduct, Certification, or petition.    

6) codifying and expanding the Board’s authority to appoint a guardian ad litem for a Respondent who is unrepresented and either incarcerated or subject to an Impairment Proceeding;

7) requiring Bar Counsel to seek leave of the appropriate tribunal before dismissing a Charge of Misconduct, Certification, or Disciplinary Proceeding where a Respondent has been found to have an Impairment or permanently transferred to the Disabled or Retired class of membership;

8) adding several types of Disciplinary Proceedings in which a Respondent may consent to the Revocation of their law license;

9) clarifying that a Respondent should immediately provide notice of the Suspension or Revocation of his/her law license and make appropriate arrangements for client matters as soon as practicable, and that the respective 14-day and 45-day deadlines set out under 13-29 are the maximum time periods for the completion of those tasks;


10) clarifying that orders lifting an Impairment Suspension and determinations imposing private discipline disclosed in conjunction with a sanctions, Agreed Disposition, or consent to Revocation proceeding (as authorized by 13-30.B) are public.    

The proposed revisions also include several housekeeping amendments creating or clarifying the meaning of certain terms and correcting outdated statutory references contained within Paragraph 13, adding an additional basis for the lifting of a license Suspension for noncompliance with a summons or subpoena, eliminating duplicative/erroneous language, and reorganizing certain provisions.


Inspection and Comment

The proposed changes may be inspected below or at the office of the Virginia State Bar between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Any individual, business, or other entity may file written comments in support of or in opposition to the proposed changes with Karen A. Gould, executive director of the Virginia State Bar, not later than December 7, 2020.  Comments may be submitted by mail to 1111 East Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, Virginia 23219-0026 or by email to

view the proposed changes in a PDF file


Posted: November 4, 2020

Updated: May 17, 2021