The Honorable David W. Lannetti, Chair

The Standing Committee on Professionalism is charged with the execution, administration, and ongoing oversight of the mandatory Harry L. Carrico Professionalism Course, which all newly admitted active members of the Virginia State Bar are required to attend. 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 41,500new admittees have taken the course—significantly more than the current number of active Virginia licensed lawyers.

            The course faculty is comprised of distinguished lawyers and judges representing a broad cross-section of the legal profession in Virginia.  Faculty members are nominated by their peers, lawyers, and members of the judiciary. Based on the needs of the course, less than ten percent of the nominees are approved by the Standing Committee on Professionalism and invited by the Chief Justice to accept appointment for a single three-year term.

            The course was offered a total of eight times during the 2018-2019 bar year as follows: three times in Northern Virginia; twice in Richmond; and once in Roanoke, Norfolk, and Charlottesville.  There were approximately 1,200 attendees at these courses. The Committee noted the decline in attendance compared to previous years and presumes it was due to lower enrollment in law school (which now appears to have subsided, although course attendance necessarily lags law school enrollment).  In addition, there was an all-day faculty training event each Fall for both new and returning members.

            The Committee was privileged to welcome the Honorable B. Waugh Crigler, the Honorable Douglas E. Miller, the Honorable David J. Novak, the Honorable Rossie D. Alston, Jr., the Honorable Joel C. Cunningham, the Honorable Paul F. Sheridan, and the Honorable David B. Carson as luncheon speakers this year.  Additionally, the VSB President—Len Heath, this year—delivered welcoming remarks to the attendees at each course, for which the Committee is grateful. The participation of judges and distinguished bar leaders in the course emphasizes to new Virginia lawyers the importance of learning and implementing the concepts taught in the Professionalism Course.  

            The Committee continues to oversee the administrative functions of the course, including faculty selection, course material updates, and faculty training sessions.  As the Committee Chair, I also review course evaluations and strive to revise the course agenda and format in the spirit of continuous improvement.  This year the Committee continued to update some of the hypotheticals used in the course workshops and added a few additional attorney wellness hypotheticals, and I have instructed all faculty members to discuss one of the lawyer wellness hypotheticals during one of the workshops. 

            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 Virginia law schools and has been skillfully led by Frank Telegadas and Susan Butler, with the help of their committed faculty.

It has been my pleasure to serve as Chair of the Committee this past year, and I look forward to continuing my service in this capacity.

Respectfully submitted, 

David W. Lannetti

Updated: Jul 11, 2019