Standing Committee on Professionalism

Jeannie P. Dahnk, chair


The Standing Committee on Professionalism is charged with responsibility for administration and ongoing oversight of the Mandatory Course on Professionalism, which is required of all newly admitted active members of the Virginia State Bar. The purpose of the course is to encourage attorneys to uphold and elevate the standards of honor, integrity and courtesy in the legal profession. Since institution of the program in 1988, over 31,000 new admittees have taken the course—more than the current active practicing bar in Virginia.

The course faculty is composed of distinguished lawyers and judges representing a broad cross section of the legal profession in Virginia. Faculty members are nominated by their peers and invited by the Chief Justice to accept appointment for a three year term.

The course was offered a total of nine times in Northern Virginia, Richmond, Roanoke, Chesapeake and Charlottesville during the 2011-2012 bar year. There were approximately 1,500 attendees at these courses.

As in previous years, Justice Donald W. Lemons has attended the courses to give an inspiring luncheon address as his schedule permits. The committee was also delighted to welcome the Honorable Gerald B. Lee, the Honorable Charles N. Dorsey, and the Honorable Charles E. Poston as luncheon speakers this year. The involvement of our chief judicial officer, other justices, as well as the leadership of our bar, emphasizes to new lawyers the bar's seriousness regarding the issue of professionalism. The committee is grateful for the attendance of VSB President, George Warren Shanks at each of the courses.

The committee continues to oversee the administrative functions of the course including faculty selection, course material update and faculty training activities. Also, the committee reviews the course evaluations and strives to update the course agenda and format.

Finally, the committee continues to work with the Professionalism for Law Students program co-sponsored by the VSB Section on the Education of Lawyers. This program has become a fixture at all the Virginia law schools and has been diligently led by William E. Glover with the help of the committed faculty.

For the upcoming 2012-2013 course, Steven W. Ray of Fairfax will moderate the courses as well as chair the standing committee.

Updated: Aug 09, 2012