Conference of Local and Specialty Bar Associations

B. Alan McGraw, Chair

Mission: Local and specialty bar associations in Virginia comprise the Conference of Local and Specialty Bar Associations. The conference was established to maintain a mutually beneficial relationship between the VSB and the local and specialty bar associations in the Commonwealth. It sponsors a Bar Leaders Institute each year to help new local and specialty bar officers plan their bar year and assists them with ethical issues, various programs and internal management policies and procedures; sponsors Solo & Small-Firm Practitioner Forums open to all VSB members; sponsors awards of merit, a Local Bar Leader of the Year Award, Specialty Bar Leader of the Year Award, and Bar Association of the Year Award; maintains an information database; and makes executive committee and staff members available for technical assistance or presentations to local and specialty bars. The conference publishes The Connection online newsletter with information of interest to bar leaders. The CLSBA also edits, prints and distributes the So You're 18 handbook, and created the website, which is used by many groups to inform young adults of their rights and responsibilities upon turning 18.

The Bar Leaders Institute was held at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden on March 9, 2018. The Honorable Manuel A. Capsalis was our keynote speaker. There were 75 registrants for this program. Topics for the day included Social Media for Bar Associations; How to Plan a CLE; Bar Projects Showcase; You’re the President, Now What?; Ethics for Bar Leaders; and Pro Bono: Why it’s Important and How to Get Involved. We would like to thank the BLI subcommittee that put together another phenomenal program – Chuck Lollar, Marcus Scriven, Lewis Martin and Luis Perez.

On September 20, 2017, the CLSBA presented the Solo & Small-Firm Practitioner Forum in Kilmarnock. Topics of the day included The Future of Law, The Realities of Impairment, What to Do if You Receive a Bar Complaint and Tips on How to Avoid Getting One, and Fastcase 7. The Honorable Robert J. Humphries joined us and gave a lively presentation on appellate practice. There was also a great panel of local judges who shared their Top Ten Things to Do, or Not, in the Courtroom. The day offered 6 hours of live CLE, with 2 hours of Ethics. There were 95 attendees at this program.

The CLSBA hosted its second Solo & Small-Firm Practitioner Forum in Big Stone Gap on October 13, 2017.  Former Chief Justice Cynthia D. Kinser was our keynote speaker. Later in the day, she participated on a CLE panel with Chief Judge Glen A. Huff and Frank K. Friedman to discuss Appellate Practice. Other topics of the day included The Future of Law, Common Allegations of Misconduct in Southwest Virginia, The VSB’s Fee Dispute Program, Fastcase 7; and Nuts and Bolts of Emergency Planning. The day offered 7 hours of live CLE, with 5 hours of Ethics. There were 91 attendees at this event.

The third and final Solo & Small-Firm Practitioner Forum for 2017-18 was held at Hampden-Sydney College. The Honorable Cleo E. Powell was the keynote speaker. Topics of the day included The Future of Law, The Realities of Impairment, The Sweet Spot of Legal Tech, Understanding the Immigration Consequences of Criminal Convictions in Virginia, Common Allegations of Ethical Misconduct in Southside Virginia, and Fastcase 7. The day offered 6 hours of live CLE, with 3 hours of Ethics. There were 89 attendees at this event.

The So You’re 18 pamphlets continue being presented as part of driver’s licensing ceremonies in the Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Courts in many venues across the state. They are also distributed through local bars, schools, detention centers, voter registrars, social services agencies and other interested groups. Blueprints for a panel discussion also are available to local and statewide bar associations.

This year, the CLSBA launched its So You’re 18 website at Check it out! If you have suggestions for other legal topics of interest, please feel free to share them with Paulette Davidson at

The CLSBA’s Annual Meeting and Breakfast was held on June 15, 2018, during the VSB Annual Meeting.  The winners of this year’s Awards of Merit competition were the Roanoke Bar Association and The Prince William County Bar Association, Inc. The Local Bar Leader of the Year Award went to Jay B. Myerson and the Bar Association of the Year Award went to the Fairfax Bar Association.

The CLSBA Executive Committee for 2018-2019, was elected at the Annual Meeting: Officers – Charles M. “Chuck” Lollar, Chair, Norfolk & Portsmouth Bar Association; Lewis A. Martin III, Chair-elect, Charlottesville-Albemarle Bar Association; Sandra T. Chinn-Gilstrap, Secretary, Danville Bar Association; Susan N.G. Rager, Treasurer, Northern Neck Bar Association; B. Alan McGraw, Immediate Past Chair, Tazewell County Bar Association; At-Large Members – Nicholas J. Gehrig, Alexandria Bar Association; John A. Merrick, The Bar Association of the City of Richmond; Joseph W.H. Mott, Roanoke Bar Association; Christine H. Mougin-Boal, Loudoun County Bar Association; Luis A. Perez-Pietri, Fairfax Bar Association; W. Marcus Scriven, South Hampton Roads Bar Association; Dillina W. Stickley, Harrisonburg-Rockingham Bar Association; Amy M.P. VanFossen, Middle Peninsula Bar Association; and Reiss F. Wilks, Virginia Creditors Bar Association.

The CLSBA continually seeks to improve its efforts to better serve the needs of Virginia's local, statewide and specialty bar associations, to identify best practices and inform bar leaders of developments and trends on issues of importance to association leadership.

On behalf of the Executive Committee of the CLSBA, the local and specialty bar associations, and the many lawyers who attended the events sponsored by the CLSBA this year I extend our heartfelt thanks to Paulette Davidson for her professionalism, attention to detail, guidance, patience, and ability to target and coordinate volunteers with just the perfect blend of talents and skills to implement high quality programming. We also thank Karen Gould and Renu Brennan for their support of these efforts and the mission of the CLSBA.

Updated: Jul 20, 2018