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 2015, there were approximately 120 random reviews.  Further review is done of specific files if complainants or respondents have questioned the handling of a case, and in FY 15 there were about eight such reviews.

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 changes.  In FY 15, six proposed revisions to Paragraph 13 were published for comment.

The committee is comprised of ten attorneys, two laypersons, and one member of the VSB Disciplinary Board, who serves ex officio.  In FY 15, the committee met monthly from August through June.  Roscoe B. Stephenson, III, served as chair, and E. M. Wright, Jr., served as vice chair.   Catherine Mary Reese chaired the rules subcommittee, and David J. Gogal 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. The FY 15 conference was held at Wintergreen on July 10 and 11, 2014. 

Updated: Jul 21, 2015