Conference of Local Bars

Eugene M. Elliott Jr., chair

The CLBA Executive Committee is proud to have completed another successful year. Our planning for this year took into consideration the move of the VSB offices in the spring.

This year’s Bar Leaders Institute, which is usually held in the spring, took place on November 15, 2013, at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. The program was well-attended and everyone enjoyed the topics and interaction with the speakers.

Similar to last year’s program in Abingdon, the CLBA hosted the Solo & Small-Firm Practitioner Forum/Bench-Bar Conference and Town Hall Meeting in Danville at The Institute Conference Center on March 7, 2014. There were 180 signed up for the program. We woke up Friday morning to several inches of snow and ice on the roads, but we pushed forward, after pushing a few cars, and had a very successful meeting with about 150 in attendance. Many thanks, once again, to W. David Harless for his vision to bring this programing to less populated areas of the state. Thanks also go to the VSB Bench-Bar Relations Committee and local steering committee for their planning of the bench-bar portion of the program.

On April 25, 2014, the local steering committee for the Abingdon area assumed responsibility and hosted its own Solo & Small-Firm Practitioner Forum/Bench-Bar Conference with the technical assistance of the VSB Bench-Bar Relations Committee and the CLBA. This program was funded by the local bar associations, attorneys, and a few sponsors. They had 202 attendees and speakers. After all was said and done, they were left with a nice cushion for next year’s program.

On Monday, May 19, 2014, the CLBA sponsored the VSB Techshow at the Richmond Convention Center. Sharon D. Nelson orchestrated this seminar given by nationally known experts in their fields of technology. They donated their time and were only paid expenses, a very generous effort on their part. This was a major endeavor to keep the solo and small firm practitioners in Virginia on the cusp of new legal technology. There were 370 in attendance with another 136 who remained on the waiting list. We had very favorable responses from those in attendance.

This year’s CLBA Annual Meeting and Breakfast took place on Friday, June 13, at 7:30 a.m. at the Sheraton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel. We had a great turnout at our new location. This year’s Local Bar Leader of the Year Award recipient was Kathleen M. Uston, past president of The Alexandria Bar Association. The winner of this year’s inaugural Bar Association of the Year Award was the Roanoke Bar Association. There were seven Awards of Merit, two for sustained projects, and five Certificates of Achievement presented this year. The CLBA nominating committee report was read and approved unanimously.

The So You’re 18 handbook has been distributed to schools, J&DR Courts, departments of social services, juvenile detention centers, and other groups/organizations as requested. The CLBA Executive Committee is currently working on updates for the coming year.

The CLBA is interacting more with other conferences and committees of the VSB. We promoted membership in the Diversity Conference with our local and specialty bar associations. We seek to cooperate with Lawyers Helping Lawyers, the Young Lawyers Conference, and the Senior Lawyers Conference to deliver information on how to close a solo or small law firm practice due to death or disability. We are also cooperating with the Clients Protection Fund Committee to respond with information to the public through pre-worded press releases when claims are made against disciplined attorneys.

During this year’s VSB Annual Meeting, council members were informed that the Supreme Court of Virginia has directed the VSB to cut 5 percent off its budget. The CLBA is currently working on ways to continue bringing information to bar leaders and solos and small firms during the upcoming year, while cutting back on costs.

Updated: Jul 01, 2014