Standing Committee on Lawyer Discipline

David J. Gogal, 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 FY 2018, there were approximately 120 random reviews.  Specific files are also reviewed on occasion if complainants or respondents question the handling of a case, and in FY 2018 there were three such reviews.

COLD formulates and presents proposed amendments to Part Six, Section IV, Paragraph 13 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, which governs the disciplinary process.  Proposed amendments are published for comment and then presented to the Virginia State Bar Council, which decides whether to petition the Supreme Court for adoption of the changes.  In FY 2018, proposed revisions to Paragraph 13 included the addition of 13-1.1 to define Burden of Proof, and changing references to CRESPA (Consumer Real Estate Settlement Protection Act) to RESA (Real Estate Settlement Agents) to conform to Chapter 27.2, Title 55, of the Code of Virginia. Both proposed revisions were approved by the Supreme Court of Virginia, effective June 15, 2018.

In addition, COLD approved amendments to Paragraph 13 dealing with the fees and costs of guardians ad litem, retirement of permanently impaired attorneys, and the sharing of information with lawyer assistance programs.  These proposals were approved by Council in June 2018, and will be presented to the Supreme Court of Virginia for consideration.

The committee is comprised of ten attorneys, two laypersons, and the first vice chair of the VSB Disciplinary Board, who serves ex officio.  In FY 2018, the committee met every other month beginning in July and continuing through May.  David J. Gogal, served as chair of COLD, James W. Hundley chaired the rules subcommittee, and Beverly P. Leatherbury, served as vice chair of COLD and chair of 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 2018 conference was held at Wintergreen Resort on July 27 and 28, 2017.  Attendees included 146 members of district committees, the Disciplinary Board and COLD.

Updated: Jun 21, 2018