Special Committee on Bench-Bar Relations

Jonathan T. Blank, chair

Membership:  The Special Committee on Bench-Bar Relations was composed in fiscal year 2012 of eighteen members — thirteen attorneys, and five judges drawn from Virginia circuit and district courts, and a U.S. district court. 

Diana Balch, membership director, had been the staff liaison for the committee, but died unexpectedly in December 2011, and was replaced by Karen A. Gould, executive director, as staff liaison. The committee commended Diana for her many years of service to the Bench-Bar Relations Committee.

2011-2012 Activities: The committee sponsored a program at the Conference of Local Bar Association’s Bar Leaders Institute held at the University of Richmond Law School on March 5, 2012, on ways to facilitate interaction between the bench and the bar.  Included in the handouts was a comprehensive chart showing the results of a survey on how the different bar organizations involve the bench in their activities.  At its meeting on May 9, 2012, the committee heard a presentation on the Service Members Civil Relief Act, 50 U.S.C. §§ 511 et seq. and agreed to disseminate information about it to the bench to ensure its enforcement.  The concept of regional bench-bar conferences was also discussed at the meeting, and it was agreed that the committee would pursue this venture with the Conference of Local Bar Associations.

Officers: The committee was chaired by Jonathan T. Blank.  The vice chair was the Honorable Michael C. Allen, who retired in January 2012 from the Circuit Court of the County of Chesterfield.  Raymond T. Benzinger of Arlington and Gregory A. Giordano of Virginia Beach finished their service on the committee with the expiration of their second terms.  Buta Biberaj of Leesburg resigned.  They will be replaced by The Honorable Pamela S. Baskervill of the Circuit Court for the City of Petersburg, the Honorable C. Randall Lowe of the Circuit Court of Washington County, and Henry I. Willett III of Richmond.  Jonathan T. Blank of Charlottesville will continue as chair and W. Hunter Old of Williamsburg will be the vice-chair.

Updated: Aug 13, 2012