Real Property Section

Paul A. Bellegarde, chair



As of the end of June 2011, the Real Property Section had 1,889 members.


The budget for fiscal 2010-11 was $45,850, which included a carry-forward of $6,850 from the prior fiscal year’s budget to pay expenses incurred (but not paid) during the prior fiscal year.  At year’s end (June 30, 2011) there was a surplus of less than $2,000.

Section governance meetings

The officers, board of governors and area representatives convened four times during fiscal 2011 to conduct business matters and address issues of concern to the section.  The Fall Meeting was on September 14, 2010, at the Virginia CLE Office in Charlottesville; the Winter Meeting on January 21, 2011, at the Williamsburg Inn  in Williamsburg, in conjunction with the Virginia Bar Association’s Annual Meeting;  the Spring Meeting on March 4, 2011, at the Kingsmill Resort Conference Center in Williamsburg, in conjunction with the Virginia CLE Fifteenth Annual Advanced Real Estate Seminar; and the Summer Meeting on June 17, 2011, at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites in Virginia Beach, in conjunction with the Virginia State Bar Annual Meeting.

In addition, a teleconference meeting was conducted on June 7, 2011, by the chair, vice chair, and other available members of the section’s officer nomination committee, in accordance with the section’s standing bylaws as amended, for the purpose of developing a proposed slate of individuals for nomination as officers and board members for fiscal 2011-12.

Educational initiatives (CLE and Fee Simple magazine)

During the course of the year, the section actively participated in Virginia CLE seminar program events, including the Fifteenth Annual Advanced Real Estate Seminar and the Twenty-ninth Annual Real Estate Practice Seminar, and it cosponsored with the Bankruptcy Law Section a continuing legal education program titled “Lessons in Real Estate and Bankruptcy from the Global Financial Crisis:  It’s Not Just About Dirt Anymore,” during the Summer Meeting.

Other educational initiatives included:

  • publication of the November 2010 and May 2011 editions of the Fee Simple (Volume XXXI, Numbers 1 and 2, respectively) in conjunction with the College of William and Mary School of Law; and
  • support of a project commenced by the section’s eminent domain standing subcommittee, to prepare and produce for VSB publication a pamphlet, Understanding Condemnation – A Guide for Landowners, to educate the public about the condemnation process and related rights.  It was hoped that this pamphlet would have been completed during fiscal 2010-11, but changes in the related laws and regulations caused delay. The pamphlet should be completed during fiscal 2012.  Projects like these are encouraged by the section, and the hope is that more such efforts can be successfully sponsored

Administrative initiatives – enhancing member communication

This year the section changed its default mode of distributing the Fee Simple to its nearly two thousand members.  The November 2010 issue was the last issue sent out in print to all members.  The May 2011 issue was instead disseminated to all members by email notification and link, with print copies mailed only to those who made specific request (fewer than three hundred members).  This action significantly lowers the section’s carbon footprint, while also saving the section thousands of dollars annually.  These funds can now be reallocated to other initiatives that will not only help achieve the section’s overall mission of service to the general public, but will also provide enhanced benefits to the section’s membership at large.

The section also changed its website format by adopting and implementing the VSB’s standard template.

The section enhanced member benefits by developing a detailed plan with a PowerPoint presentation for establishing a “knowledge sharing” website to better enable section members to exchange information and ideas.  Intended capabilities include discussion threads, announcements and alerts, a section virtual library, a section member contact list with email capabilities, frequently asked questions, access security and data safeguarding, and more.  The section hopes to obtain approval for a pilot program for this site during the next fiscal year.


At the Summer Meeting, the following individuals were elected as Officers for fiscal 2011-2012: Paul H. Melnick, chair; J. Philip Hart, vice chair; and William L. Nusbaum, secretary-treasurer.

Paul A. Bellegarde, will serve as immediate past chair, and was also elected to serve a third term on the board, along with Randy C. Howard.

J. Philip Hart, Kenneth L. Dickinson, and Susan S. Walker were elected to serve second terms on the board, and F. Lewis Biggs was also elected to serve his first term as a board member.   

Updated: Aug 10, 2011