Standing Committee on Lawyer Discipline

Roscoe B. Stephenson III, chair

The Standing Committee on Lawyer Discipline oversees the attorney disciplinary process, including the bar’s investigation and prosecution of complaints. Members of COLD are assigned to monitor the progress of investigations and prosecutions in each of the district disciplinary committees through interactions and discussions with VSB counsel and committee chairs. In addition, the oversight subcommittee randomly reviews case files to ensure that VSB counsel handled them in a procedurally correct manner.  In fiscal year 2014, there were 120 random reviews.  Further review is done of specific files where complainants or respondents have questioned the handling of a case.

COLD also formulates and presents proposed amendments to Part Six, Section IV, Paragraph 13 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, which govern the disciplinary process. Proposed amendments are published for comment and are then presented to the Virginia State Bar Council, which decides whether to petition the Supreme Court for adoption of the change.  During FY2014 three such amendments were approved by COLD.

The committee is composed of ten attorneys, two laypersons, and one member of the VSB Disciplinary Board, who serves ex-officio. The committee meets monthly from August to June.  For the year beginning July 1, 2013, Roscoe B. Stephenson III served as the chair of COLD. Chidi I. James served as vice-chair. Catherine M. Reese chaired the Rules Subcommittee, and E.M. Wright Jr. chaired the Oversight Subcommittee.

COLD hosts an annual Disciplinary Conference which is attended by attorney and lay members of the district committees, the disciplinary board, COLD members, and judges who sit on three-judge circuit court panels that hear disciplinary matters. The programs at the conference are designed to provide education and updates on the disciplinary process to the volunteers serving in the disciplinary system. This year the conference was held at Boar’s Head Inn on July 11 and 12, 2013, with a record high number in attendance. The next Disciplinary Conference is scheduled for July 10-11, 2014.

Updated: Jul 01, 2014