News and Information
July 26, 2021

Special Election Held for Three Bar Council Spots

The Virginia State Bar will hold a special election for Bar Council, the Bar’s governing body, in the Second, Third and Sixth Judicial Circuits for unexpired terms beginning immediately and ending June 30, 2022. Candidates will then be eligible for re-election to a full 3-year term effective July 1, 2022.

Virginia lawyers who wish to be on the ballot must be active members in good standing in their circuit as of August 6, 2021. 

To run, interested lawyers in the 2nd, 3rd or 6th Circuit must:

  • file a nominating petition signed by not fewer than ten other members eligible to vote in the circuit,
  • write a statement of qualifications not exceeding 150 words, and
  • provide a digital headshot. 

File these three things at elections@vsb.org on or before 4:00 pm on August 13, 2021.

In the statement, describe what is it about your background that makes you well suited to the position and what you hope to accomplish as a member of Bar Council. View an example of what voters see here

You must be an active member of the 2nd, 3rd, or 6th Circuits, and in good standing, by August 6, 2021, to vote in the special election.

If you have questions, please contact Asha Holloman at (804) 775-0551 or by email at elections@vsb.org.

Updated: Jul 26, 2021
July 26, 2021

Volunteers Sought for Council at-large and MCLE Board Vacancies

Volunteers are needed to serve on the Virginia State Bar’s boards and committees. The Nominating Committee will refer nominees to the VSB Council for consideration at its October meeting. All appointments are made by the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Vacancies in 2022 are listed below. All appointments or elections will be for the terms specified, beginning on July 1, 2022.

Council Members at Large: 3 lawyer vacancies (of which 1 incumbent is not eligible for reappointment and 2 incumbents are eligible for reappointment to a second term). Members may serve 2 consecutive 3-year terms.

Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Board: 4 lawyer vacancies (of which 1 is a vacant position and 3 incumbents are eligible for reappointment to a second term). Members may serve 2 consecutive 3-year terms.

Nominations, along with a brief résumé should be sent by September 3, 2021, to:

Brian L. Buniva
Chair, VSB Nominating Committee
Virginia State Bar
1111 E. Main St., Suite 700
Richmond, VA 23219-0026

Or e-mailed to nominations@vsb.org.

Updated: Jul 26, 2021
July 07, 2021

Supreme Court of Virginia Issues Twenty-Fifth Emergency Order Due to COVID

On July 7, 2021, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued a twenty-fifth judicial emergency order in response to the COVID pandemic, extending its existing Order through August 11, 2021.  

The Order applies to all circuit and district courts in the Commonwealth and keeps in effect the safety protocols, courthouse admission screenings, tolling of speedy trial act deadlines, and electronic signature provisions of its prior orders.

The Court’s full Order may be read here.

Updated: Jul 07, 2021
July 06, 2021

Clients’ Protection Fund Board Pays $182,280.00 on Twelve Petitions

The Virginia State Bar Clients’ Protection Fund Board authorized payments totaling $182,280.00 in reimbursement at its May 7, 2021, meeting.

A chart of the amounts paid as a result of this meeting follows. The board delays the release of the final chart, as the awards given to petitioners are subject to a 30-day appeal period.

In the largest award of the meeting, the board approved a payment of $75,000 to the estate of a deceased former client of Cherie Ann Washburn of Lynchburg. The board found that, while acting as power of attorney for an elderly client with dementia, Washburn spent large amounts of the client’s money on items that benefitted Washburn, not the client, including the purchase of a home for Washburn, large charitable contributions to a charity with which Washburn was associated, and investments that listed Washburn as the sole beneficiary upon the client’s death. Although the board found that the loss suffered by the client, and thus her estate, far exceeded $75,000, the approved amount is the maximum that the board can pay to any one petitioner under Clients' Protection Fund Rule V.F.5. Washburn’s license was revoked by consent in March 2019 for misconduct related to this claim. She is currently facing criminal charges and civil lawsuits related to this matter.

The board awarded two payments of $41,875 and $28,000 to two former clients of Michael Anthony Cole of South Boston, who is now deceased. The board found that, in the case of the larger payment, Cole settled a motorcycle injury suit with an insurance company for a client but failed to pay out any of the settlement proceeds to the client.  In the second payment, Cole, as trustee, misappropriated funds from a trust. The defalcation was discovered when the beneficiary attempted to dissolve the trust and release the funds only to find that the trust had been depleted by payments that Cole made to himself. The board saw fit to award the petitioner $28,000, the amount that should have been in the account when it was dissolved.  Cole’s license to practice law in Virginia was revoked in February 2020 prior to his death in June 2020.

The Board awarded payment of $9,000 to a former client of Wayne Richard Hartke of Reston, now deceased, for legal fees the former client paid in a criminal matter. The Board found that Hartke did not perform sufficient legal services to earn the fee that he received, and that Hartke did not inform the client of his license suspension until the day of a court hearing. Hartke’s license was suspended for three years effective October 2016 and for an additional five years effective October 2019, prior to his death in April 2019.

The board awarded payment to two former clients of George Harold Edwards of Chesterfield. In the first case, resulting in a $8,500  reimbursement for unearned legal fees, the Board found that Edwards represented the client for eight years in litigation involving repairs to the client’s home, but that Edwards failed to move the case forward during that time, leading the court to dismiss the case for inactivity. In the second matter, the Board found that Edwards had performed substantial work on the client’s behalf, but that he had transitioned his VSB membership to disability status in July 2020 and did not complete the case. The board approved $2,000 for unearned legal fees to the client.

Three former clients of Larry Lynn Miller of Charlottesville, now deceased, were awarded $7,105, $5,500, and $1,550, by the board. In the largest of the three awards, the clients paid Miller $7,105 to make mortgage payments on their behalf through their bankruptcy plan.  None of the money reached the mortgage lender, exposing the clients to possible foreclosure. In the second case, Miller failed to do any work regarding a real estate matter and a divorce. The client was awarded the full $5,500 he paid for representation. In the last matter involving Miller, the client was paid $1,550 by the board for the retainer fee in a bankruptcy matter for which Miller performed no work. Miller’s license was suspended in July 2020 prior to his death in December 2020.

A petitioner was awarded $2,500, representing partial fees paid to Michael Alan Bishop of Meadowview, now deceased, for a divorce proceeding in which the Board found Bishop had performed some services, but had not completed the legal services for which he was hired.  

The board awarded a $1,250 payment for unearned attorney’s fees in an immigration matter. The board found that the attorney, Ellis Charles Baggs of Richmond, performed more than insignificant legal services, but not all the services, that the $2,500 fee should have covered, prompting the board to reimburse half of what the petitioner requested. Baggs’ license was revoked by consent on March 17, 2020, for neglect of multiple cases in his immigration practice.

May 7, 2021 

Docket Number

Lawyer’s Name

City of Record

Amount Paid Type of Case
20-555-003243
20-555-003244
Cherie Anne Washburn Lynchburg, VA $75,000.00 Estate Planning/Administration
20-555-003259 Michael Anthony Cole (deceased) South Boston, VA $28,000.00 Embezzlement/Trusts
20-555-003265 Wayne Richard Hartke (deceased) Reston, VA $9,000.00 Unearned Fees/Criminal Law
20-555-003266 George Harold Edwards Chesterfield, VA $2,000.00 Unearned Fees/Civil Law-State
20-555-003278 Michael Anthony Cole (deceased) South Boston, VA $41,875.00 Embezzlement/Personal Injury/Property Damage
20-555-003286 George Harold Edwards Chesterfield, VA $8,500.00 Unearned Fees/Public Interest
21-555-003289 Michael Alan Bishop (deceased) Meadowview, VA $2,500.00 Unearned Fees/ Family Law
21-555-003292 Larry Lynn Miller (deceased) Charlottesville, VA $5,500.00 Unearned Fees/Family Law and Real Estate
21-555-003294 Ellis Charles Baggs Richmond, VA $1,250.00 Unearned Fees/Immigration
21-555-003299 Larry Lynn Miller (deceased) Charlottesville, VA $1,550.00 Unearned Fees/Bankruptcy
21-555-003302 Larry Lynn Miller (deceased) Charlottesville, VA $7,105.00 Unearned Fees/Bankruptcy

The Clients’ Protection Fund was created by the Supreme Court of Virginia in 1976 to compensate persons who suffer a quantifiable financial loss because of dishonest conduct by a Virginia lawyer whose law license has been suspended or revoked for disciplinary reasons, or who has died and did not properly maintain client funds. The fund is not taxpayer-funded but is supported by Virginia lawyers who pay an annual fee of $5. Payments from the Clients’ Protection Fund are discretionary and are not a matter of right.

If you have any questions, you may contact Vivian R. Byrd, administrator to Clients’ Protection Fund by email at (804) 775-0572.

Updated: Jul 06, 2021
July 02, 2021

Supreme Court of Virginia Seeks Public Comment on Amendments to Canons of Judicial Conduct

On July 1, 2021, the Supreme Court of Virginia requested public comment on the results of its four-year study to amend the Canons of Judicial Conduct. According to the Court, the revised Canons do not “…adopt the 2007 ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct or retain the structure of the current Canons.”

The revised Canons are now organized into three new canons:

  1. A judge must be impartial.
  2. A judge must uphold the public trust.
  3. A judge must promote efficient and effective delivery of justice.

Comments on the proposed amendments to the Rules of Court, Part Six, Section III, Canons of Judicial Conduct, must be received by September 29, 2021.

The Court’s full press release, the complete proposed amendments to the Canons, and information on sending comments may be found on the Court's website.

Updated: Jul 08, 2021
July 01, 2021

VSB News July 2021

The VSB News monthly email was emailed to all Virginia lawyers on July 1, 2021. To ensure you are receiving the VSB emails, update your contact information with the Virginia State Bar and add vsbnews@vsb.org to your email account's address book. To view the original email with images, please click here. Updated: Jul 01, 2021
June 29, 2021

VSB Seeking Public Comment on Two Proposed LEOs and One Rule Change

The Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Legal Ethics is seeking public comment on proposed Legal Ethics Opinion 1893, proposed LEO 1896, and proposed amendments to Rule 1.2 of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

LEO 1893 (update 7/2/21: The proposed draft Legal Ethics Opinion 1893 has been withdrawn pending further review by the Standing Committee on Legal Ethics.)

LEO 1896 addresses the issues of out-of-state lawyers working remotely in Virginia. The opinion explores the remote work questions sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic and discusses opinions on the questions from other states and the ABA. 

The amendments to Rule 1.2 addresses the dilemma faced by lawyers advising clients about cannabis- or marijuana-related activities that are legal under state law but are illegal under federal law. The proposed amendment would allow lawyers to advise clients on how to comply with state law as long as the clients are also cautioned about the application of federal law.

Inspection and Comment

The proposed opinions may be inspected at the above links, or by contacting the Office of Ethics Counsel at 804-775-0557.

Any individual, business, or other entity may file or submit written comments in support of or in opposition to the proposed opinion with Karen A. Gould, executive director of the Virginia State Bar, not later than August 30, 2021. Comments may be submitted via email to publiccomment@vsb.org.

 

Posted 6/29/21

Updated 7/2/21

Updated 7/12/21 to extend comment deadline.

Updated: Jul 12, 2021
June 29, 2021

Supreme Court of Virginia Issues Twenty-Fourth COVID Emergency Order

On Tuesday, June 29, 2021, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued its 24th judicial emergency order due to the COVID pandemic, extending its existing order through July 21, 2021.

The new Order largely reflects the same safety protocols, courthouse admissions, and tolling of the speedy trial act deadlines from its 23rd Order.

The Court's new Order may be read here.

Updated: Jun 29, 2021
June 29, 2021

Court of Appeals of Virginia Issues Sixth COVID-19 Order

On June 29, 2021, the Court of Appeals of Virginia issued a sixth order extending its February 22, 2021, order until further notice because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Court of Appeals of Virginia stated in the Order that as of September 21, 2021, efforts will be made to conduct the Court’s oral argument merit dockets in person, as practicable. Oral argument writ dockets will be held virtually through December 31, 2021.

The Court's full Order may be found here. A continuously updated record of judicial announcements and protocols regarding COVID-19 for courts across the Commonwealth may be found here.

Updated: Jul 08, 2021
June 28, 2021

Virginia’s Seventh Constitution Celebrates 50th Anniversary

On July 1, 2021, Virginia will mark the golden anniversary of its seventh Constitution, signed into effect on July 1, 1971. Of the 12 men who worked to draft the Constitution, 11 were Virginia lawyers, including Supreme Court of the United States Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr., civil rights icon Oliver W. Hill, and Albertis S. Harrison Jr., the 59th governor of Virginia who also served on the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Virginia has had seven different Constitutions in its history, with the first taking effect in 1776, and the most recent taking effect on July 1, 1971. Prior to the current Constitution, Virginia had not had a new version since 1902, a document that was rooted in the Jim Crow era. In 1968, Governor Mills E. Godwin Jr. asked the General Assembly to create a commission to revise the Constitution to reflect a modern Virginia and the societal changes and accompanying laws that took effect during the 1960s.

Constitutional law expert A.E. Dick Howard, a professor in the University of Virginia School of Law, served as executive director of the Commission on Constitutional Revision beginning in 1968. 

In a recent article with the university he commented, “I consider Virginia to have been well served by the likes of Lewis Powell and Oliver Hill. Like the framers of 1787, they have handed us good constitution. Mulling its achievements and shortcomings offers an opportunity for an exercise in self-government by a free people.”1

The Library of Virginia has created a document with an overview of the Virginia Constitution from 1776 through 1971 that may be read here.

Caption: Seated left to right: Alexander M. Harman Jr., Colgate W. Darden Jr., Albertis S. Harrison Jr., Davis Y. Paschall, Theodore Roosevelt “Ted” Dalton, and Oliver W. Hill.

Standing: J. Sloan Kuykendall, Albert V. Bryan Jr., Lewis F. Powell Jr., Hardy C. Dillard, George M. Cochran, and A. E. Dick Howard. Photo courtesy of the University of Virginia Law Library Collection.


1 Fox, Mike. "50 Years After Leading Constitution's Revision, Professor Reflects on Changes." University of Virginia School of Law. November 11, 2020. Accessed June 25, 2021. https://www.law.virginia.edu/news/202011/50-years-after-leading-constitutions-revision-professor-reflects-changes.

 

Updated: Jun 28, 2021
June 25, 2021

VSB Offices to Fully Reopen to the Public September 7th

After partially closing to the public in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, the Virginia State Bar will fully reopen its offices at 1111 E. Main Street in Richmond on Tuesday, September 7, 2021.

Until that day, the VSB remains closed to visitors who have not made prior arrangements. If you need to reach a staff person, please send an email or call the appropriate contact person.

Updated: Jun 25, 2021
June 23, 2021

Comments Sought on Proposed Changes to Rules of Court

The Advisory Committee on Rules of Court seeks comments from the Bench and Bar concerning proposed revisions to Part One, Part Five, and Part Five A Rules of Court, which include amendments to accommodate the changed appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals of Virginia.

If adopted by the Supreme Court, these rules revisions would become effective January 1, 2022.

The proposed changes may be reviewed in this PDF.

Comments must be sent before August 10, 2021, to:

Steven Dalle Mura
Director of Research
Office of the Executive Secretary
Supreme Court of Virginia
100 North Ninth Street
Richmond, VA 23219

Or by email to: proposedrules@vacourts.gov.

Updated: Jun 23, 2021
June 23, 2021

VSB Proposes Changes to Review of Agreed Disciplinary Dispositions

The Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Lawyer Discipline proposes amending the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia regarding how the Disciplinary Board reviews Agreed Dispositions. Comments from lawyers and the public are invited until July 23, 2021.

The revision will provide a Panel of the Disciplinary Board express authority to:

(1) advise the parties why the Panel rejects any proposed Agreed Disposition; and
(2) reconsider any revised Agreed Disposition that the parties present to the Panel. 

The revision encourages Agreed Dispositions, is in the interest of judicial economy and transparency, and conforms the disciplinary procedure with practice. The comments of the Panel are made on the record in a public proceeding.

Inspection and Comment
The proposed changes may be inspected here. Any individual, business, or other entity may file written comments in support of or in opposition to the proposed changes with Karen A. Gould, executive director of the Virginia State Bar, not later than July 23, 2021. Comments may also be submitted by mail to 1111 East Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, Virginia 23219-0026 or by email to publiccomment@vsb.org.

Updated: Jun 23, 2021
June 22, 2021

Highlights of the June 18 VSB Council Meeting

At its meeting on June 18, 2021, in Virginia Beach, the Virginia State Bar Council heard the following significant reports and took the following actions.

Proposed Unauthorized Practice of Law Opinion 218

Council unanimously approved draft Unauthorized Practice of Law Opinion 218: Does the uniform power of attorney act authorize a non-lawyer agent/attorney-in-fact to represent the principal in court? The proposed opinion will be presented to the Supreme Court of Virginia for approval.

2021–22 VSB President Installation

Due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions in Virginia, the 82nd Virginia State Bar Annual Meeting was hosted in a hybrid format. Annual Meeting CLEs were held virtually June 14–15. Awards recognition, Executive Committee and Council meetings, and the 2021–22 VSB president induction were held in Virginia Beach on June 17–18 in person by invitation only. Jay B. Myerson was sworn into office at the conclusion of the June 18, 2021, Council meeting. Stephanie E. Grana is president-elect for 2021–22, and will take over the presidency of the Bar in June 2022. 

Updated: Jun 22, 2021
June 22, 2021

Edward L. Chambers Jr. Receives Inaugural Memorial Award

Edward L. Chambers has posthumously received the inaugural Edward L. Chambers Jr. Lifetime Bar Service Award, a memorial award established by the Virginia State Bar to honor Chambers’s commitment to service to the Bar. The award, which was presented to his widow, Jane Sherman Chambers, at the 82nd VSB Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach on June 17, 2021, will be given annually in his name to a lawyer with extensive, longstanding bar volunteerism.

Chambers died suddenly on December 25, 2019, after suffering a heart attack. During his over 40 years as a lawyer in the Peninsula, Chambers was very active with the Virginia State Bar and served on many committees and task forces, including Bar Council, the Executive Committee, the Standing Committee on Professionalism, the Clients’ Protection Fund Board, and the Sixth District Disciplinary Committee. He was inducted as a Fellow of the Virginia Law Foundation in 2010. Chambers also volunteered extensively with the York-Poquoson Bar, serving as its president from 1988 to 1989.

Jane Sherman noted of her husband, “His service to the VSB was the highlight of his career, truly. When he finished his service on Bar Council and the Executive Committee, he was then ready to retire.”

More information on the award and the nomination process may be found here

Updated: Jun 22, 2021
June 18, 2021

Stephanie Grana Is VSB President Elect

GranaStephanie E. Grana, a partner with the law firm of  Breit Cantor Grana Buckner in Richmond, is the Virginia State Bar president-elect for 2021-22, and will take over the presidency of the Bar from current president, Jay Myerson, in June 2022. 

When she begins her term, Grana will be the seventh woman to head the 50,000 lawyers of the VSB in its 84-year history.  

Grana, a personal injury litigator, wanted to be a lawyer since childhood. Her father and brother were tragically killed in a plane crash in 2008, making Grana a plaintiff and, she believes, a more empathetic lawyer in the process.  

After attending the University of Richmond for both undergraduate and law school, Grana has devoted her career to litigation and service to the bar. 

Her volunteerism includes past presidencies of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association;  the American Board of Trial Advocates-Virginia Chapter;  Lewis F. Powell Jr. American Inns of Court;  and the Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association. 

Grana currently serves on the VSB Executive Committee, Council for the 14th Circuit, the Budget & Finance Committee, and the Nominating Committee. She is also a member of the Boyd Graves Conference, the Virginia Model Jury Instructions Committee, and the “Working Group” to study expansion of the Court of Appeals. 

Grana’s goals for her presidency include: 

  • Promoting professionalism 
  • Increasing diversity among VSB leadership and committees 
  • Recognizing bias 
  • Working with judges to enhance bench/bar relations 
  • Continuing the work of prior presidents for improved access to justice 

Grana is married to attorney Scott Bemberis, and they have three children. 

Updated: Jun 21, 2021
June 18, 2021

Jay B. Myerson Is VSB President for 2021-22

Jay MyersonJay B. Myerson of Reston is the Virginia State Bar president for 2021-22. He was sworn into office at the June 18, 2021, Bar Council meeting at the Virginia State Bar Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach. 

Myerson succeeds outgoing president Brian L. Buniva of Richmond, who becomes immediate past president. 

Myerson founded The Myerson Law Group, P.C., and supervises a six-attorney domestic, criminal, and civil litigation practice in Fairfax County. He is the first VSB president whose law firm is based in the community of Reston. 

Myerson was twice elected to Bar Council, representing the 19th Circuit from 2014 to 2019. He has been a member of the VSB's Executive Committee since 2018. Myerson has been a member of the VSB’s Standing Committee on Budget and Finance for seven years, and recently completed his second three-year appointment on the VSB’s Standing Committee on Legal Ethics. Myerson has also served as a member of the Harry L. Carrico Professionalism Course faculty, the VSB’s Study Group on Online Elections, and the 19th Judicial Circuit Committee on Resolution of Fee Disputes. 

Myerson is a past president of the Fairfax Bar Association (FBA), and for many years led its efforts to obtain judicial funding. He is a five-time recipient of the FBA’s President’s Award and was the 2018 recipient of the Local Bar Leader of the Year Award from the VSB’s Conference of Local and Specialty Bars. 

Myerson has served in the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates and is a past president of the George Mason American Inn of Court. 

A graduate of Georgetown University and Georgetown Law School, Myerson is a Fellow of the Virginia Law Foundation and has been a member of the Fairfax Law Foundation’s Board of Directors since 2012. 

Myerson and his wife Barbara are the parents of three grown children – Josh, Jennifer Samuelson (Patrick), and Matthew (Annie Savage) — and have a young granddaughter. 

“It will be a privilege to work with the many talented bar leaders across Virginia,” Myerson said. “I’m especially looking forward to working with the wonderful VSB staff, the Chief Justice, and other justices on our Supreme Court.” 

Updated: Jun 18, 2021
June 17, 2021

CLSBA Recognizes 12 Bars and Seven Projects for Service to the Profession and the Commonwealth

The Conference of Local and Specialty Bar Associations has recognized 12 bars and seven projects across the Commonwealth with Awards of Merit.

This competition is designed to recognize outstanding projects and programs of local and specialty bar associations; share successful programming ideas and resources with all bar associations; encourage greater service to the bench, bar, and public; and inform the public about some of the excellent work of local and specialty bars and the legal profession in general.

The 2021 Awards of Merit were judged by Marni Byrum, VSB past president; Paul Fletcher, Virginia Lawyers Weekly; and Professor Andrew Connors, Liberty University School of Law.

This year’s Awards of Merit winners are:

Roanoke Bar Association (2 awards)

Keeping it Clean

The Roanoke Bar Association organized and raised funds to provide 20 schools with a washer dryer set for use by their homeless and low-income students who have no other alternative to having clean clothes to wear to attend school. The bar association contributed $4,000 to the project itself and raised additional funds to purchase the appliances. The bar partnered with the Roanoke Law Foundation to advertise and solicit donations. Additionally, they have set up drop-off points for washing supplies and basket donations.

Meals for Heroes

The RBA also raised funds to donate 18 weeks of meals every Friday between April and August of 2020 to the local medical personnel on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Partnering with the Shenandoah Club, they provided meals for the 120 employees working the COVID-19 floor of the Roanoke Memorial Hospital. The final total was $14, 675 worth of meals provided through donations from the community.

Russell County Bar Association

Advancing the Rule of Law (Law Day Program)

The Russell County Bar Association’s primary service project centered on the American Bar Association’s Law Day and its theme “Advancing the Rule of Law Now.” Together with the Tazewell County Bar Association, the Washington County Criminal Defense Bar, and students from the Appalachian School of Law, they presented a three-pronged observance of Law Day.   

On April 30, in partnership with Marsh Blood Services, they hosted an inaugural Law Day Blood Drive next to the Courthouse in Lebanon. Over the course of the day, the association members spoke with scores of citizens about Law Day, its central theme, and subsidiary themes of promoting the rule of law, defending liberty, and pursuing justice.

On Law Day, May 1, they presented a Pro Bono Legal Clinic, volunteers met with walk-in clients and field phone calls, charging no dee for services and advice. They asked that if people were able to donate time, finds or resources to a charity of their choice.

Lastly, The association is currently working on a Law Day video explaining the importance of the Rule of Law.

The Alexandria Bar Association

Enhanced Monthly Membership Meetings During COVID

The Alexandria Bar Association implemented a unique way to keep their monthly meetings interesting virtually and raise morale during the pandemic. The first Enhanced Monthly Membership Meeting Invited Chef Brandon Whitestone from Mia’s Italian Kitchen to teach a cooking demonstration to the membership. Members picked up meal kits before the meeting with ingredients to make Chicken Parmigiana. Business meeting items were handled before the chef logged on and the fun activities began.

At another meeting, the members were encouraged to dress up in their best flapper outfits or gangster hat. St. Louis-based Jest Murder Mystery Co. led members in a 1920s themed “who done it.” Entirely member-driven, the participation of members made this experience memorable. Cocktail Kits were made available from The Majestic, a local restaurant, before the meeting. Beverage director Mike Rice demonstrated how to make the perfect roaring 20’s themed specialty cocktails.

In March, Chef Ahn from Palette 22, a local restaurant, taught members how to make lumpias, and comedian Cory Michaelis entertained members with a thirty-minute show.

The Bar Association of the City of Richmond in association with:
Chesterfield County Bar Association
Greater Richmond Criminal Bar Association
Henrico County Bar Association
Hill-Tucker Bar Association
Metro Richmond Family Law Bar Association
Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association

Virtual Bench-Bar Conference

The metropolitan Richmond local and specialty bar associations presented a Virtual Bench-Bar Conference on March 18, 2021. The conference's objective was to provide attendees with "inside information" on the newest changes and procedures for 2021 in all local courts. The presentations included tips from the experts on scheduling cases, updated docket procedures, jury trial processes, planning for virtual trials and other information to assist with an efficient, successful court practice post-COVID.

This virtual program took the place of the annual in-person Bench/Bar Conference previously scheduled for September of 2020. The events drew 100 participants, while typically 125 to 150 people attend the in-person conference.

The Prince William County Bar Association

Pivoting During the Pandemic

The Prince William County Bar Association developed an electronic voting system to handle judicial screening elections, increased member engagement programming, increased staff, launched a new community service initiative and added video capability to their toolbox. They did not just maintain ongoing programs, but expanded them, with plans to continue offering virtual engagement as the pandemic restrictions are lifted. 

In addition to hosting their internal events, the bar association continued to provide community outreach through programs such as So You’re 18, Annual Beat the Odds Banquet, and even joining a new endeavor called Fueling the Frontline.

Virginia Beach Bar Association (Sustained Program Award)

C.L.A.S.S. Program (Concerned Lawyers Advocating Spousal Safety)

Every Friday since 1995, two members of the VBBA volunteer their time to represent pro se petitioners for protective orders in the Virginia Beach Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. These attorneys provide representation free-of-charge to people who are seeking from the court a safe harbor from further abuse or the threat of further abuse. The CLASS Program has continued its positive impact in the court system since its inception, with only a short break during the recent pandemic when the court was closed.  

Today, the CLASS Program has a roster of at least 60 committed attorneys who collectively donate hundreds of hours of pro bono service each year. The C.L.A.S.S. Program has earned the sustained projects award, showing growth of the project and five consecutive years of service.

The CLSBA provides information on these projects available to other groups that want to consider similar programs. For information, contact Paulette J. Davidson at davidson@vsb.org or (804) 775-0521.

Updated: Jun 17, 2021
June 16, 2021

Jeannie P. Dahnk Receives the Virginia State Bar Leadership in Education Award

Jeannie Dahnk, the 2003-04 president of the Virginia State Bar, and the second woman to hold the position, has been named the recipient of the William R. Rakes Leadership in Education Award from the VSB Section on the Education of Lawyers in Virginia

In her role as VSB president, Dahnk focused on the quality of faculty and curriculum of the Carrico Professionalism Course, required of all newly licensed attorneys. She served on the faculty and as chair of the Carrico Professionalism Course and has taught professionalism at each of Virginia's law schools. Dahnk has also championed Virginia CLE, and helped ensure its success as a premier educational institution.

In her extensive career, Dahnk has found numerous ways to put her love of teaching to use. She helped create and teach Law School for Legislators, a program for the Virginia General Assembly.  She also co-wrote and routinely teaches The Devil Wore Green, an introduction to trust accounting offered around the Commonwealth. She served as an editor for the 2019 Manual for Commissioners of Accounts and edited the current edition of Lawyers and Other People's Money. She currently chairs the Supreme Court's Standing Committee on Commissioners of Accounts and serves on the Board of Directors of the Virginia Conference of Commissioners of Accounts, of which she is a former president.

Dahnk co-created George Washington and the Rules of Civility – a destination seminar – with Supreme Court of Virginia Justice Steve McCullough. She created and helped teach Autism and the Law, a showcase seminar at the VSB Annual Meeting.  She has taught trial techniques to the Office of Bar Counsel and fiduciary responsibility and ethics to Commissioners of Accounts, and she is a regular lecturer at the Bar’s First Day in Practice Seminar.

In his letter nominating Dahnk, Irving M. Blank of Blank & Marcus LLP wrote, “Jeannie has devoted her professional life to developing and implementing innovative concepts to improve and enhance the state of legal education, as well as enhancing relationships and professionalism among members of the bench and bar of the legal profession in Virginia.”

Dahnk attended George Washington University, where she was an All-American diver and a member of the GWU Athletic Hall of Fame, before graduating from William & Mary Law School. While in law school she coached the William and Mary women’s diving team.  She has practiced civil litigation in many Virginia courts for 34 years and serves as Commissioner of Accounts for Stafford and Spotsylvania counties. She is chair of the board of Legal Aid Works and has served as a board member and counsel to the Fredericksburg SPCA.  She has taught yoga and aerobics.  She learned and has taught ABA therapy for autistic children.  

Dahnk lives in Fredericksburg with her husband, the Hon. William E. Glover, and three golden retrievers.  Her sons Sam and Max are both beginning law school this fall. Because she believes that learning and teaching go hand in hand, she is currently taking welding lessons.

The award, which is underwritten by Gentry Locke, will be presented June 17 at the Virginia State Bar Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach.

Updated: Jun 16, 2021
June 16, 2021

Supreme Court of Virginia Issues Twenty-Third COVID Emergency Order

On June 15, 2021, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued its twenty-third Declaration of Judicial Emergency in response to the COVID pandemic, extending its existing order through July 11, 2021.

The Order gives chief judges and presiding judges discretion as to how to safely operate their respective courts regarding physical distancing and masks. The Order also extends the moratorium on jury trials unless the court has a plan already approved by a panel of three justices. Judges are to use their discretion as to conducting grand jury proceedings.

Speedy trial act deadlines continue to be tolled by the Order throughout the period of judicial emergency. All courts are still authorized to accept pleadings, orders, and other documents with electronic signatures.

The Court’s full Order may be found here.

Updated: Jun 16, 2021
June 15, 2021

Annual License Renewals Mailed: What’s New this Year?

Virginia lawyers’ annual renewal statements for the 2021–22 year are mailed in mid-June to each lawyer’s address of record. Lawyers are now able to renew their licenses and pay annual dues completely online in the lawyer portal. Log in today to renew your license.

The annual license renewal deadline has returned to the standard Supreme Court of Virginia Rule mandated date of July 31, 2021.  

The amount assessed to each active lawyer for the Clients’ Protection Fund has been reduced from $10 to $5 per year.

Delinquency and reinstatement fees, which are assessed on each of the four rules of court not met by the deadline(s), were reduced by half.

As a public health precaution, the VSB offices remain closed to the public. Please consider using the VSB member portal or a trackable express delivery method if sending close to the July 31 deadline. Please be advised if you intend to mail or deliver renewals/payments to the Virginia State Bar, deliveries are only accepted from the following services: USPS, UPS, Fed Ex, DHL, and Richmond Express. All renewal requirements must be received by 4:45 pm on July 31, 2021. 

Voluntary Pro Bono reporting: All active and associate members are encouraged to report their pro bono contributions this year, which will be recorded anonymously unless an attorney chooses to provide a name and/or Bar ID. Amendments to Paragraph 22 Voluntary Pro Bono Publico Legal Services reporting became effective May 15, 2020. 

Emeritus status: If you’re considering retirement, the Court made changes to the requirements for emeritus status in December 2017 making it easier to transition to pro-bono-only work.

Please contact the VSB Regulatory Compliance Department at (804) 775-0530, or email membership@vsb.org if you have questions about your renewal statement.

Updated: Jun 14, 2021
June 14, 2021

Bar Office Remains Closed to the Public

The VSB continues to provide essential services to Virginia’s lawyers and the public. However, we continue to keep the health and safety of lawyers, employees, and the public at the forefront of our actions. We are operating at reduced capacity in the office at 1111 E. Main Street, with many staff members teleworking. The elevators in the building are locked. The VSB office at 1111 E. Main Street is still closed to visitors. If you need to reach a staff person, please send an email or call the appropriate contact person. We will provide additional updates on our website.

We urge the use of electronic communication to assist us in providing services to protect the public. To ensure prompt receipt and review of complaints, the VSB encourages the public to submit bar complaints online. Find a list of updated processes for commonly used services below. Keep up to date on current COVID-19 orders. Keep up to date on Governor Northam’s Executive Orders.

We request the use of electronic communication to assist us in providing the following services to protect the public:

File a Complaint Against a Lawyer

If you have concerns regarding the conduct of a lawyer, you may submit a complaint to the Virginia State Bar. To ensure prompt receipt and review of complaints, we ask you to submit bar complaints online.
 

File an Unauthorized Practice of Law Complaint

An Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL) Complaint can be submitted by completing the form and emailing it.
 

Request an Unauthorized Practice of Law Opinion

A Virginia lawyer may request a UPL Opinion by completing the form and emailing it.
 

Ethics Questions

The VSB Ethics Hotline is open for Virginia lawyers.

 

Law Practice Management Questions

The VSB Claims Prevention Hotline, sponsored by ALPS is open
 

Request a Formal Legal Ethics Opinion (LEO)

A Virginia lawyer may request a written legal ethics opinion from the Standing Committee on Legal Ethics. Formal LEOs must be approved by Council and the Supreme Court of Virginia. If you desire a quick informal response to an ethics question by the Ethics Department staff, please use the Ethics Hotline or submit your ethics question online.
 

Regulatory Compliance

We continue to experience some processing delays. You may contact us with specific questions by telephone at MCLE (804) 775-0577 and Membership (804) 775-0530. Should you experience delays in contacting us by telephone or if you prefer email, please email us at MCLE@vsb.org or membership@vsb.org.

If your license has been suspended for failure to complete your 2020 CLE requirement [PC1] [MD2] you may pay your Noncompliance, Late Filing, and Reinstatement fees online with a Visa or Mastercard. Log into your account and click on the option MCLE Payments. You may email your completed Certification(s) of Attendance to MCLE@vsb.org for reinstatement processing. The effective date of your reinstatement will be the day we receive all required CLE hours and fees.

Virginia lawyers’ annual renewal statements for the 2021–22 year are mailed in mid-June to each lawyer’s address of record. The annual license renewal deadline has returned to the standard Supreme Court Rule mandated date of July 31, 2021.

The 2021 MCLE year has not been extended and will end on October 31, 2021. Check your MCLE record and report hours online at the VSB Portal. Review the MCLE compliance deadlines and other information here.

The Professionalism Courses will begin again in July 2021 and are mandatory for all newly active members. More information on dates, times and requirements for new lawyers here.

Regarding the LIVE MCLE Requirement: Programs delivered via teleconference or webcast where there is an opportunity to interact with the speaker in real-time qualify as live interactive CLE. Make sure any course you take indicates it is approved for Virginia live interactive credit. Contact the course sponsor with any questions. A partial list of already approved teleconference and webcast CLE courses is available on the MCLE page under Current Virginia Approved Courses.
 

Disciplinary Hearings

The Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board is conducting hearings via video conferencing, utilizing the Microsoft Teams platform, with access provided to the public to observe.  Links to live hearings can be found on the VSB Events page. In addition, the hearings are recorded and otherwise comply with Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act regarding electronic meetings. Videos and audios from the Disciplinary Board hearings that have been held by teleconference may be viewed or listened to here.

Meetings and Events

The status of all meetings will continue to be updated on the events page of the VSB website.

Questions regarding the status of the bar exam should be directed to the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners.

We will announce any additional information on our website and COVID-19 Updates and Safety Measures page.

Updated: Jun 30, 2021
June 03, 2021

Virginia State Bar Newsletter June 2021

The VSB News monthly email was emailed to all Virginia lawyers on June 2, 2021. To ensure you are receiving the VSB emails, update your contact information with the Virginia State Bar and add vsbnews@vsb.org to your email account's address book. To view the original email with images, please click here. Updated: Jun 03, 2021
June 01, 2021

M. Bryan Slaughter Receives Local Bar Leader of the Year Award

M. Bryan Slaughter of Charlottesville, partner at MichieHamlett, has received the Conference of Local and Specialty Bar Associations’ (CLSBA) Local Bar Leader of the Year Award that honors a bar leader who “…offers important service to the bench, bar, and public.”

In his nomination, Richard Howard-Smith, Charlottesville-Albemarle Bar Association (CABA) immediate past president, noted that Slaughter has been a continuous member of the Association since joining in 1997 and serves as a committee member on the Board of Directors. Slaughter also served as president of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association in 2018-19.

Said Howard-Smith, “He was the driving force behind the formation of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Bar Association’s formal pro bono program, forming the strategic plan and raising money for administration.”

Slaughter also serves on the boards of the Legal Aid Justice Center and the Virginia Poverty Law Center. In the four additional nomination letters showing support for Slaughter, his dedication to pro bono was repeated by Lee Livingston, current member of the VSB Bar Council representing the 16th Judicial Circuit; Kristen Clarens, the CABA pro bono coordinator; Angela Ciolfi, Executive Director of the Legal Aid Justice Center; and Valerie O’Brien, Executive Director of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association.

Each commended Slaughter for seeing the growing need for a strong pro bono community in 2018, and then spearheading the push to fund a pro bono coordinator. As of 2020, in the year it has been operational, the CABA Volunteer Lawyer Program had provided pro bono legal services to more than 75 individuals and organizations, according to Livingston.

Slaughter became president of the bar association in July 2020, months into the COVID-19 pandemic. He then managed the transition to an online presence and organizational platform. Additionally, he led the CABA through an August 2020 membership vote to remove the Confederate soldier statue from Court Square in Albemarle.

“While CABA has traditionally avoided political statements, Bryan saw this issue as a justice issue, as it was,” Livingston said.

Slaughter graduated from Washington and Lee University School of Law in 1997 and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia in 1991. 

The Conference of Local and Specialty Bar Associations will present the Local Bar Leader of the Year Award at the Charlottesville-Albemarle Bar Association’s next in-person meeting on June 17.

Updated: Jun 03, 2021
June 01, 2021

The Alexandria Bar Association Named 2021 Bar Association of the Year

The Virginia State Bar Conference of Local and Specialty Bar Associations has named The Alexandria Bar Association the Bar Association of the Year.

The Alexandria Bar Association, founded in 1928, organizes outreach efforts and strives to promote the relationships between its 309 members and their community.

The association’s annually elected leadership includes: Tamika Jones of Jones Practice, PLLC, president; Rebecca Wade of Wade Grimes Friedman Meinken & Leischner, president-elect; Mary Horner of Legal Services of Northern Virginia, secretary; and Colleen Haddow of Redmon Peyton & Braswell LLP, treasurer.

President Jones nominated The Alexandria Bar Association by highlighting the bar’s transition to virtual on-demand CLE programs and its Mentorship Program, which is now in its 25th year. Additionally, in 2019, the association established the Lawyer Well-Being Committee to promote all aspects of lawyer well-being. The program helps lawyers achieve measured progress in the six dimensions of well-being identified by the National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being: emotional, occupational, intellectual, spiritual, social, and physical.

In the community, bar members organize a free Senior Law Day, an annual June event between the association and Senior Services of Alexandria to educate the community on elder law and introduce services within the City of Alexandria. And in 2021, members participated in “Equal Justice Talks” with Alexandria City High School government students, teachers, and speakers from the greater legal community.

The Foundation of The Alexandria Bar Association is the charitable arm of the association, providing scholarships through fundraising to Alexandria high school students. It also provides grants to local organizations that primarily serve residents of the City of Alexandria for projects that provide services to indigent individuals, or that improve the legal system, access to the legal system, and the administration of justice.

The Alexandria Bar Association also has a lawyer referral service that provides referrals for clients who want to schedule a half-hour consultation with an attorney who is a member of the service. LRS also offers a reduced fee for clients with limited income through their Modest Means Program.

The association has worked to push forward an adaption to telework and online services to meet the needs of its members. In just the last year, the association introduced a mobile app, implemented online elections, payments, surveys, event registration, and contributions.

The CLSBA will present the 2021 Bar Association of the Year Award at the Virginia State Bar Annual Meeting on June 17.

Updated: Jun 03, 2021
May 27, 2021

Comments Sought on Plan to Raise Cap on Refunds to Clients Harmed by Lawyers to $100,000

The Virginia State Bar Clients’ Protection Fund Board seeks comments on proposed amendments to the Clients’ Protection Fund Rules as they pertain to caps on refunds for losses due to lawyer malfeasance. 

The purpose of the amendments is to raise the per-petitioner cap from $75,000 to $100,000 for losses incurred on or after July 1, 2021. The amendments will be presented to Bar Council on October 29, 2021. 

The current rule and the proposed changes may be found here.

Inspection and Comment

Any individual, business, or other entity may file written comments in support of or in opposition to the proposed changes with Vivian R. Byrd, Clients’ Protection Fund Administrator, not later than September 30, 2021. Comments may be submitted by mail to 1111 East Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, Virginia 23219-0026 or by email to cpf@vsb.org.

Updated: May 27, 2021
May 27, 2021

Amy Disel Allman Receives the 2021 Legal Aid Award

Amy Disel Allman, Director of Advocacy for Virginia Legal Aid Society (VLAS), Managing Attorney of the VLAS Foreclosure Prevention & Consumer Protection Project, and VLAS representative within the ACES Justice Project of the Virginia Legal Aid Community, has received the Virginia State Bar 2021 Legal Aid Award honoring excellence in legal aid society work. 

The award recognizes those who exhibit: 1) Innovation and creativity in advocacy; 2) Experience and excellence in service; and 3) Impact beyond his or her own program's service area.

Allman was nominated by David B. Neumeyer, executive director of the Virginia Legal Aid Society, who noted that Allman “..has been a strong advocate and program leader since she began work for VLAS in 2008, but she has accelerated her impact since the start of the pandemic.”

Allman devotes much of her practice to advocating for tenants facing evictions and those living in unhealthy conditions. Allman was able to assist a group of elderly and disabled low-income tenants who were plagued by a bedbug infestation in an apartment complex, but who were afraid to complain about the issue.

Despite facing many obstacles from the landlord and the housing authority, Allman attended and spoke at the housing authority board meeting every month until her tenacity paid off. Ultimately, the board agreed to remedy the bedbug situation for the entire complex and to provide residents with specific protections and prompt responses to complaints. Allman achieved this for her clients without resorting to the expense and time costs of litigation. 

The Hon. Alfred W. Bates III, Chief Judge of the Suffolk General District Court, wrote of Allman: “Since the inception of the COVID crisis, Ms. Allman has appeared at practically every civil docket here in an effort to assist litigants seeking the benefit of the Commonwealth rental relief program and alternatives to COVID-related evictions.” 

A former legal aid lawyer himself, Judge Bates noted that although, “Ms. Allman only represents tenants (and she always makes that emphatically clear), both landlords and tenants routinely and regularly praise her in open court and favorably remark about the depth of her knowledge, her keen intellect, her integrity, her persistence, and general helpfulness to all.”

Neumeyer said of Allman’s contributions to Virginia legal aid, “She has saved hundreds of low-income households from eviction and dozens of landlords from financial loss or foreclosure.”

The recipients of the Legal Aid Award are asked each year to choose a quote that best represents their legal philosophy and Allman chose: "There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed." -- Ray Goforth

A graduate of Syracuse University College of Law, Allman will receive her award at the VSB Annual Meeting on Thursday, June 17. For more information about the award, please email Crista Gantz, Director of Access to Legal Services, at cgantz@vsb.org. Updated: May 27, 2021
May 26, 2021

Supreme Court of Virginia Issues 22nd COVID-19 Emergency Order

On May 26, 2021, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued a 22nd Declaration of Judicial Emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, extending the emergency period through June 20, 2021.

The Order, effective May 31, 2021, advises courts to follow the new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Governor Northam as it pertains to masks, physical distancing, and capacity limits. Despite the easing of mask and capacity limits, jury trials may only be conducted by those courts who have a plan approved by a panel of three Justices.

The Order also calls for a continuation of the screening of individuals entering courthouses to the extent recommended by the Virginia Department of Health; a continuation of the tolling of speedy trial act deadlines; and the continued authorization of the use of electronic signatures for pleadings, orders, and other documents.

The full Order may be found here.

Updated: May 26, 2021
May 26, 2021

Nooreen Reza of UVA Receives 2021 Student Pro Bono Award 2021

Nooreen Reza of the University of Virginia School of Law class of ’21 has been awarded the Virginia State Bar Oliver White Hill Law Student Pro Bono Award for 2021.

Administered by the Standing Committee on Access to Legal Services, the award honors extraordinary law student achievement in the areas of pro bono and under-compensated public service work in Virginia.

A native of Wise, Reza graduated from Yale University where she was active in the Yale Refugee Project, a student-led organization that placed student volunteers with newly resettled refugees for English language education and cultural companionship in the New Haven. After graduating from Yale, Reza received a fellowship to study at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.

Nominated by Kimberly Carpenter Emery, Assistant Dean for Pro Bono and Public Service at the University of Virginia School of Law, Reza received letters of endorsement from Elaine Poon, Deputy Director of Advocacy for the Legal Aid Justice Center and from Crystal Shin, UVA law professor and director of the Holistic Juvenile Defense Clinic. 

Shin spoke highly of Reza’s commitment to pro bono, despite UVA’s rigorous academics, writing, “Nooreen entered law school with the goal of providing civil legal services to indigent and marginalized community members, and she has not wavered from that path.”

Poon’s recommendation highlighted Reza’s incredibly long list of volunteer work and over several hundred hours of volunteer time, saying, “She has been an exemplar not only to other students, but even other attorneys in what it means to seek justice and to be an advocate with integrity, unparalleled zealous work ethic, and compassion.”

Each award recipient is asked to choose a quote that best sums up their viewpoint on the world, and Reza chose this:  "The multiple consciousness I urge lawyers to attain is. . . a deliberate choice to see the world from the standpoint of the oppressed." -- Mari Matsuda 

Reza will receive her award at the VSB Annual Meeting on June 17 in Virginia Beach. She plans to continue her dedication to public service after graduation by working with the Legal Council for Health Justice as the 20th Powell Fellow in Legal Services, where she will help support Chicago-area communities facing health inequities.

Updated: May 26, 2021
May 25, 2021

Christina Compagnone Receives VSB Young Lawyer of the Year Award

Christina A. Compagnone (Stierhoff) has been awarded the 2021 R. Edwin Burnette Jr. Young Lawyer of the Year Award by the Virginia State Bar Young Lawyers Conference.

This award recognizes young lawyers who demonstrate dedicated service to the conference, the legal profession, and the community. Compagnone has served in a number of roles in the YLC, including spearheading the Social Media Committee and co-chairing the YLC’s Professional Development Conference.

Most recently, Compagnone and her co-chair, Courtney Frazier, revived the Professional Development Conference (PDC), a program that had been inactive since 2018. In April 2021, over 140 young lawyers attended the free daylong CLE opportunity aimed at developing their practical skills in a professional, relaxed, and now virtual format.

Additionally, Compagnone has helped develop and manage the YLC’s social media accounts since 2017. Along with her co-chair at the time, Amanda Newins, she received the YLC’s 2019 Significant Service Award for building a strong social media presence that engaged the young legal community.

“Her creative posts encourage young lawyers and keep them informed of the Virginia State Bar's events, and her meticulous schedule of posts helps advertise other young lawyers' events and accomplishments,” said Walter Weber, American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) Senior Counsel, in his nomination submission.

In her role as Associate Counsel for the ACLJ, Compagnone litigates First Amendment matters from inception to resolution in federal court. Prior to joining the ACLJ litigation team, she worked in the firm’s international human rights sector, drafting Universal Periodic Review reports for the United Nations and fighting for clients unjustly imprisoned overseas. She is also a frequent contributor to the ACLJ’s blog, writing posts on human rights violations and current cases.

During law school, she served in numerous intern­ship programs ranging from the European Centre for Law & Justice in France to the Legal Aid of Eastern Virginia. She also spent a semester at the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Virginia Beach using her Virginia Third Year Practice Certificate. As team brief-writer for the Oxford University Price Media Moot Court Competition on International Human Rights in 2016, her team won awards for both the Best Brief in the Americas and the Second-Best Brief in the World.

Her parents founded Mercy Chefs in 2006, a non-profit that feeds people warm meals during disasters. Compagnone worked with Mercy Chefs throughout her schooling, doing everything from serving food to keeping the accounts. She earned several service awards for her outreach through Mercy Chefs and continues to serve with them today.

Compagnone graduated with distinction from the University of Virginia with a degree in foreign affairs and earned her Juris Doctor from the Regent University School of Law. She currently resides in Alexandria with her husband and Maine Coon, Raja, and enjoys spending her time in community fellowship with National Community Church and serving her HOA.

Updated: May 25, 2021
May 24, 2021

Notice: Lawyers Receive Emails from Impostor Account Posing as VSB

Some lawyers in the Commonwealth received phony emails from an email ending in vastatebar.org, which is a fake account registered in Arizona that has spoofed the Virginia State Bar in the past.

Lawyers are asked not to interact with this email or click on any links in the email as it may contain malware, spyware, worms, or other damaging cyber security software.

In this latest spoofing, the emails purport to be from the VSB Ethics Department. The same email address was also used in a series of spoof emails in 2019.

Updated: May 24, 2021
May 17, 2021

Supreme Court of Virginia Amends COVID Order

On May 17, 2021, the Supreme Court of Virginia amended its May 3 Twenty-First Judicial Emergency Order regarding COVID-19 in light of new guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Governor Northam's executive order regarding face masks.

The new guidance no longer requires masks in most indoor settings, and this now applies to Virginia courts if the chief judge or presiding judge determines that this is safe and in keeping with the CDC guidelines and Governor Northam's Executive Order guidelines.

The amended order shall be in effect through May 30, 2021, and apply to all courts in the Commonwealth.

The Court's full Order may be found here.

Updated: May 17, 2021
May 17, 2021

Supreme Court of Virginia Approves LEO 1878 and Amends Paragraph 13

On May 17, 2021, the Supreme Court of Virginia approved Legal Ethics Opinion 1878 to be effective immediately and amended Paragraph 13 of the Rules of Court to be effective July 16, 2021.

LEO 1878 “…examines the ethical duties of an attorney who assumes representation of a client in a contingent fee matter when predecessor counsel may have a claim against the client or a lien for legal fees earned on a quantum meruit basis against the proceeds of a recovery.” 

The Court’s full Order may be found here.

The Court also amended Section IV, Paragraph 13 of the Rules for Integration of the Virginia State Bar, Part Six of the Rules of Court to be effective July 16, 2021. These Rules govern the procedures for disciplining, suspending, and disbarring attorneys. The changes to Paragraph 13 are intended to promote greater fairness, efficiency, consistency, and transparency in Bar proceedings. 

The Court’s full Order may be found here.

Updated: May 17, 2021
May 14, 2021

Carrico Outstanding Career Service Recipients Named for 2019 and 2020

The Judicial Council of Virginia has named the Hon. William TNewman Jr., Chief Judge of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, as the recipient of the 2019 Harry L. Carrico Outstanding Career Service Award, and the Honorable Everett  A. Martin Jr., Judge of  the  Fourth Judicial Circuit, as the recipient of the Award for 2020. The 2019 award was not presented until now due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Named for the longest serving chief justice and the longest serving member in the history of the Supreme Court of Virginia, the Carrico award is presented annually by the Judicial Council to recognize a Virginia judge "...who, over an extended career, has demonstrated exceptional leadership in the administration of the courts while exhibiting the traits of integrity, courtesy, impartiality, wisdom, and humility."

The full press release may be found here.

Updated: May 14, 2021
May 05, 2021

Supreme Court of Virginia Amends Rules Affecting Bar Officers and Trial Procedures

On May 5, 2021, the Supreme Court of Virginia amended Section IV, Paragraph 4 of the Rules for Integration of the Virginia State Bar, Part Six of the Rules of Court, effective July 5, 2021. The Court also issued a second Order amending Rules 1:19, 3:8, and 4:5, effective July 5, 2021.

Section IV, Paragraph 4 of the Rules for Integration of the Virginia State Bar delineate the rules and processes for selecting and electing the officers of the Bar as prescribed by the Bylaws of the Council.

The Court’s full Order may be found here.

Rule 1:19 concerns pretrial conferences, Rule 3.8 involves answers, pleas, demurrers, and motions, and Rule 4:5 pertains to depositions upon oral examination.

The Court’s full Order may be found here.

Updated: May 05, 2021
May 03, 2021

Supreme Court of Virginia Issues 21st Judicial Emergency

On May 3, 2021, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued its 21st Declaration of Judicial Emergency in response to COVID-19.

The Order applies to all courts of the Commonwealth and extends through May 30, 2021.

The Court's full Order may be found here.

Updated: May 03, 2021
May 03, 2021

Virginia State Bar Newsletter May 2021

The VSB News monthly email was emailed to all Virginia lawyers on May 3, 2021. To ensure you are receiving the VSB emails, update your contact information with the Virginia State Bar and add vsbnews@vsb.org to your email account's address book. To view the original email with images, please click here.

Updated: May 03, 2021
April 30, 2021

Winners Announced in Bar Council Elections

Circuits 18, 23, and 28 went to the virtual polls and elected their representatives to Virginia State Bar Council with voting ending on April 29 at midnight. 

Todd A. Pilot was elected to his first term and John K. Zwerling was elected to his second term to represent Circuit 18, which is based in Alexandria. Daniel P. Frankl won the election for Circuit 23, located in Roanoke. And Bruce H. Russell II will be a representative for Circuit 28, which includes the Abingdon region.

Council consists of 81 people: 65 lawyers elected from the 31 circuits throughout the Commonwealth, as well as nine at-large members appointed by the Supreme Court of Virginia, four conference chairs, and three officers.

Each elected representative will serve a three-year term, with the option to run again for a second term.

Conference chair council members:

CLSBA Chair – Roy V. Creasy of Roanoke      

Diversity Conference Chair – David D. Masterman of McLean

Senior Lawyers Conference Chair – Peter C. Burnett of Leesburg

Young Lawyers Conference President – Kristopher R. McClellan of Norfolk

Council members from uncontested elections:

Circuit 4 – Corrynn J. Peters of Norfolk 

Circuit 8 – Veronica E. Meade of Hampton 

Circuit 12 – P. George Eliades II of Chester 

Circuit 13 –     Timothy R. Baskerville of Richmond

                        Mark D. Dix of Richmond

                        Susheela Varky of Richmond 

                        Henry I. Willett III of Richmond 

Circuit 14 –     Thomas A. Edmonds of Henrico 

Circuit 16 –     Richard H. Howard-Smith of Charlottesville

Circuit 17 –    Jennifer S. Golden of Arlington 

                       Adam M. Krischer of Arlington

Circuit 19 –    Kathryn N. Dickerson of Vienna 

                       Stephen K. Gallagher of Tysons Corner

                       Carly J. Hart of Fairfax 

                        Nathan J. Olson of Fairfax 

                        Debra L. Powers of Fairfax

                        Michael M. York of Reston

Circuit 21 –     G. Andrew Hall of Martinsville

Circuit 30 –     D. Susie Baker of Wise 

Reappointed at-large members:

Lenard T. Myers of Norfolk

Joanna L. Suyes of Richmond

Nicole E. Upshur of Virginia Beach

Caption: (l to r)
Top row: Todd Pilot and John Zwerling.
Bottom row: Daniel Frankl and Bruce Russell II.

 

 

* edited 5/20/21 to add Lenard T. Myers as a reappointed at large member

Updated: May 20, 2021
April 30, 2021

Virginia Lawyer Referral Increases Revenues for Lawyers While Helping Virginians

With a staff of just three, the Virginia Lawyer Referral Service (VLRS) answered over 8,700 calls and online requests for legal services in the last six months of 2020. Of these, the staff collected 2,281 paid referrals, while referring other callers to alternative options for their potential legal problems.

But the big story is this: lawyers who belong to the referral service (called panel members once they join the VLRS) paid back almost $20,000 to the VSB in remittance fees in that period, meaning that they earned over $130,000 in six months simply by being members of the VLRS.

Currently, the VLRS has only 205 panel members across the Commonwealth. Beginning on July 1, 2020, panel members were required to remit 15% of any fees they were paid over $500 back to the VSB as a means of defraying the costs of maintaining the service, which assists people with finding a lawyer and up to a 30-minute consultation for a $35 fee. The VLRS keeps the $35 fee and refers vetted clients to panel members in the appropriate region and practice area.

In March of this year, the VLRS revenue was up $18,000 over last year, and the service, which was founded in 1978, continues to be a win-win for Virginians and Virginia lawyers.

Virginians who are not comfortable trying to contact a lawyer are helped by the VLRS service, and lawyers who work with the VLRS can build their practices while also giving back to some clients who may be referred to as low bono – financially beyond the pro bono requirements, but not adept at finding and hiring a lawyer without assistance from the Bar.

If you are interested in learning more about being a part of the VLRS, please contact Toni Dunson at dunson@vsb.org, or visit the VLRS lawyer webpage: http://bit.ly/vlrslawyer.

Updated: May 03, 2021
April 29, 2021

Supreme Court of Virginia Amends Rules of Court Effective Immediately

On April 28, 2021, the Supreme Court of Virginia amended Part 6, Section IV, of the Rules of the Supreme Court to be effective immediately.

The amendments affect Paragraph 13.1, Suspension for Failure to Complete Professionalism Course; Paragraph 16, Clients’ Protection Fund; and Paragraph 19, Procedure for the Administrative Suspension of a Member. 

At the request of the VSB, the Supreme Court of Virginia extended the period for completion for the Mandatory Professionalism Course from twelve to twenty-four months.

For Paragraph 16, effective July 1, 2021, the amount assessed each active lawyer for the Clients’ Protection Fund will be reduced from $10 per year to $5 per year.

Lastly, for Paragraph 19, at the request of the VSB, delinquency fees and reinstatement fees, which applied to all four rules of court for renewal, were halved.

The Court’s full Order may be found here.

The current rules and the amendments may be found here.

Updated: Apr 30, 2021
April 22, 2021

Highlights of the April 21 VSB Council Meeting

At its April 21, 2021, virtual meeting the Virginia State Bar Council heard the following significant reports and took the following actions:

Reauthorize Clients’ Protection Fund Assessment beyond July 1, 2023
The Council approved, with 62 yea and 0 nay votes, a proposal to petition the Virginia General Assembly to reauthorize the Clients’ Protection Fund assessment beyond July 1, 2023, and to remove the associated “sunset” provision. The proposed changes will be presented to the Supreme Court of Virginia for approval before the Bar petitions the General Assembly.

Amendment to Paragraph 17 (C) to include an option of Elimination of Bias MCLE within Ethics and Professionalism
The Council approved, with 63 yea and 2 nay votes, proposed revisions to Paragraph 17 (C) to add elimination of bias as an approved CLE topic, eligible for specialized ethics/professionalism credit. The proposed changes will be presented to the Supreme Court of Virginia for approval.

Amendments to Rules of Professional Conduct:

Amendments to Rule 1.8 to add section (k) prohibiting a lawyer from having sexual relations with a client (and associated re-enumeration of Rule 1.10)
The Council approved, with 55 yea and 2 nay votes, an addition to Rule 1.8 and revisions to Rule 1.10. The proposed changes will be presented to the Supreme Court of Virginia for approval.

Amendments to Rule 1.8(b) and new Comment [2]
The Council approved by unanimous vote, proposed revisions to the rule to mirror the standard for confidentiality set out in Rule 1.6(a), rather than the broader standard of “information relating to representation of a client,” and adds proposed new Comment [2] to explain the purpose and application of Rule 1.8(b). The proposed changes will be presented to the Supreme Court of Virginia for approval.

Rule 1.10 and Rule 1.15
The Council approved by unanimous vote, proposed revisions to Rule 1.10 Comment [1] and to Rule 1.15 Comment [1] to replace uses of “should” with “must” where the comments describe mandatory duties. The amendments also define what makes a group of lawyers a “firm.” The proposed changes will be presented to the Supreme Court of Virginia for approval.

Rule 3.3
The Council voted, with 47 yea, 4 nay votes, and 1 abstention, to table discussion of proposed amendments to Rule 3.3 until the June Council meeting.

 

posted April 22, 2021

Updated: Apr 22, 2021
April 19, 2021

82nd Annual Meeting Registration Is Open

Registration to the Virginia State Bar 82nd Annual Meeting is now open! We're back and eager to enjoy the fun of the VSB annual meeting — even if it looks a little different this year.

The 82nd Annual Meeting will be hosted in a hybrid format:

The Annual Meeting CLEs: June 14 & 15, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm each day will be hosted virtually. 

The Awards Recognition, Executive Committee and Council Meetings, and VSB 2021-22 President Installation:  June 17 & 18, Virginia Beach will be held in person by invitation only to increase the safety of participants.

Register now at a low fee of $95. The fee covers all the VSB-sponsored CLE programs on Monday and Tuesday, June 14-15. You can earn a full year's worth of CLE in one event: 12 hours of CLE comprised of 9.0 Live Hours, 3.0 on-demand hours to be viewed later, including 2.0 ethics hours.

Updated: Apr 23, 2021
April 12, 2021

Supreme Court of Virginia Issues Twentieth COVID Emergency Order

On April 12, 2021, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued its twentieth Judicial Emergency Order, extending its prior order through May 9, 2021.

The Judicial Emergency applies to all courts in the Commonwealth and has now been in effect from March 16, 2020 through May 9, 2021.

The Court's full order may be found here.

Updated: Apr 16, 2021
April 12, 2021

Three Circuits Will Hold Elections for Bar Council


Beginning today, April 12, and until April 29 at midnight, active and in good standing Virginia lawyers in Circuits 18, 23, and 28 are asked to vote for their Virginia State Bar Council leaders. Ballots will be emailed to lawyers in those circuits from Intelliscan Inc, who is administering the election for the Bar.

The candidates and their photos and bios may be found here.
 
If you have any questions contact: elections@vsb.org.
 
Please remember to vote, and encourage others in your circuit to vote as well.

Updated: Apr 07, 2021
April 09, 2021

Henrico and Richmond Lawyers and Legal Employees Now Eligible for COVID Vaccine

Phase 1c of the COVID vaccine schedule has opened, meaning legal service workers are able to register and schedule a COVID vaccine appointment. Anyone in Henrico or Richmond may call 804-205-3501 to schedule a vaccine appointment.

Legal professionals in all other areas of the Commonwealth should visit their city or county website to schedule a vaccine or visit www.vdh.virginia.gov.

Updated: Apr 09, 2021
April 01, 2021

Supreme Court of Virginia Amends Parts Five and Five A of the Rules of the Court

On April 1, 2021, The Supreme Court of Virginia amended the Rules of the Court of Virginia Parts Five and Five A to be effective June 1, 2021.

The Court's full order may be found here.

 

  Updated: Apr 01, 2021
April 01, 2021

Virginia State Bar Newsletter April 2021

The VSB News monthly email was emailed to all Virginia lawyers on April 1, 2021. To ensure you are receiving the VSB emails, update your contact information with the Virginia State Bar and add vsbnews@vsb.org to your email account's address book. To view the original email with images, please click here.

Updated: Apr 01, 2021
March 24, 2021

Clients’ Protection Fund Board Pays $134,080.85 on Seven Petitions

The Virginia State Bar Clients’ Protection Fund Board authorized payments totaling $134,080.85 in reimbursement at its January 29, 2021 meeting.

In the largest award of the meeting, the board approved three separate payments, of $50,000, $28,047.50, and $29,060.85, to the new trustee of multiple trusts based on evidence of Phillip R. Farthing’s breach of fiduciary duty and excessive fees that Farthing charged when he was trustee for the trusts over the course of several years. The board considered each of the trusts a distinct petitioner under the rules capping the amount a single petitioner can receive. The losses occurred when the per-petitioner cap was $50,000. Farthings’ license was revoked in January 2020 by consent for misconduct related to this claim.

The board approved the payment of $12,500 to a petitioner regarding Robert Lyman I. Shearer, Jr. of Springfield for failing to perform all the work required to finalize a divorce and property settlement case.  The board found that Shearer performed more than insignificant legal services, but not all the work for which he received $25,000, prompting the board to reimburse half of what the petitioner requested. Shearer’s license was suspended for three years beginning June 22, 2018.

A married couple received $5,660.50 as reimbursement for fees they paid John B. Russell Jr. and/or companies with which Russell was affiliated for legal representation in a mortgage modification case, finding that neither Russell nor the affiliated companies performed sufficient legal services to earn the fee the petitioners paid.

The board approved a $5,000 payment as reimbursement for unearned attorney’s fees in an immigration matter. The board found that the attorney, Charles Ellis Baggs, performed more than insignificant legal services, but not all the services, that the $10,000 fee should have covered, prompting the board to reimburse half of what the petitioner requested. Baggs’ license was revoked by consent on March 17, 2020 for neglect of multiple cases in his immigration practice.

Two former clients of Randall Sousa of Fairfax were awarded $2,500 and $312, respectively, by the board. In the larger of the two reimbursements, the client paid Sousa $5,300 to handle her divorce. $300 was for the initial consultation, and the remaining fee would be earned as work was performed. The board found that Sousa did enough work on the case to justify reimbursing one-half of the requested amount.  In the second case, Sousa failed to do any work to protect the client’s interest after the client hired Sousa for a civil matter that the client had filed pro se.  A three-year suspension was issued on January 27, 2020 for Sousa. He appealed the suspension, but the appeal was subsequently dismissed by the Supreme Court of Virginia.

A petitioner recovered $1,000, representing fees paid to Jahangir Ghobadi of Sterling for a retainer to file an application for a license to authorize the client to transfer money to a U.S. bank account from another country.  Ghoabadi failed to do the work to obtain the license. Ghobadi’s license was revoked in June 2019 for a similar misconduct case.

A chart of the amounts paid as a result of this meeting follows. The board delays the release of the final chart, as the awards given to petitioners are subject to a 30-day appeal period.

January 29, 2021 

Docket Number

Lawyer’s Name

City of Record

Amount Paid Type of Case
20-555-003268

Philip R. Farthing

Norfolk, VA

$50,000.00

$28,047.50

$29,060.85

Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Unearned fees/ Estate Planning Administration and Trusts

20-555-003295

Randall Sousa

Fairfax, VA

$312.00

Unearned fees/Civil Law

20-555-003287

Randall Sousa

Fairfax, VA

$2,500.00

Unearned fees/Family Law

20-555-003288

Ellis Charles Baggs

Richmond VA

$5,000.00 Unearned fees/Immigration
20-555-003256 Jahangir Ghobadi Sterling, VA $1,000.00

Unearned fees/Banking

20-555-003252 John B. Russell, Jr. Bon Air, VA $5,660.50 Unearned fees/Banking
20-555-003271 Robert Lyman I. Shearer, Jr. Springfield, VA $12,500.00 Unearned fees/Family Law

The Clients’ Protection Fund was created by the Supreme Court of Virginia in 1976 to reimburse persons who suffer a quantifiable financial loss because of dishonest conduct by a Virginia lawyer whose law license has been suspended or revoked for disciplinary reasons, or who has died and did not properly maintain client funds. The fund is not taxpayer-funded but is supported by Virginia lawyers who pay an annual fee of up to $10. Payments from the Clients’ Protection Fund are discretionary and are not a matter of right.

If you have any questions, you may contact Vivian R. Byrd, administrator to Clients’ Protection Fund by email at (804) 775-0572.

Updated: Mar 29, 2021
March 16, 2021

VSB to Evaluate Candidates for Virginia Court of Appeals Vacancies

The Virginia State Bar has been asked by Virginia Senator John S. Edwards, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Delegate Charniele L. Herring, Chair of the House of Delegates Courts of Justice Committee, to evaluate candidates for seven vacancies on the Court of Appeals of Virginia.  

The General Assembly has passed SB1261 which creates an automatic right of appeal in all criminal and civil cases, expands the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals of Virginia, and adds six new positions to the Court to accommodate new case volume.  The bill is on Governor Northam’s desk and he is expected to sign it. 
 
Coupled with the vacancy created by the appointment of Judge Rossie D. Alston to the federal bench, there are now seven vacancies on the Court of Appeals. The General Assembly would like all interested applicants to be vetted by the Virginia State Bar. 

If you desire to be evaluated by the VSB, candidates must submit on or before 4:30 p.m. on April 15, 2021, a résumé, a brief writing sample, and responses to a questionnaire (Word document). Submissions should be sent electronically as a Word document (writing sample may be submitted in PDF format). 

Please submit your application materials by email to judicialeval@vsb.org. If you have previously been evaluated by the VSB, you do not need to reapply. 

N.B. Additionally, all candidates must copy Shannon Heard, legal associate with the Division of Legislative Services for the General Assembly of Virginia (sheard@dls.virginia.gov), with their applications in order to receive further instructions on the application process, including additional paperwork such as a questionnaire, record checks, and a Statement of Economic Interest (SOEI); the questionnaire is required by committees, and record checks and SOEI are required by Code.

According to Delegate Herring and Senator Edwards, "Please note that § 17.1‐400 effective July 1, 2021, provides: 'The General Assembly shall consider regional diversity in making its elections.'  We are also dedicated to ensuring diversity of racial and practice areas to the Court."

The following bar groups will also participate in the interview process:

Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Virginia
Hispanic Bar Association
Old Dominion Bar Association
Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Virginia Women Attorneys Association 

The following bar groups will evaluate candidates and make recommendations, but will not conduct interviews:
Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys
Virginia Bar Association
Virginia Trial Lawyers Association

The new judges should be prepared to begin serving on July 1, 2021.

Please contact Asha Holloman of the VSB if you have any questions.

Updated: Mar 16, 2021
March 15, 2021

Supreme Court of Virginia Issues Nineteenth COVID Emergency Order

On March 15, 2021, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued its nineteenth Judicial Emergency Order, extending its prior order through April 18, 2021.

The Judicial Emergency applies to all courts in the Commonwealth and has now been in effect from March 16, 2020 through April 18, 2021.

The Court's full order may be found here.

Updated: Mar 15, 2021
March 11, 2021

Western District of Virginia Judicial Candidate Evaluations Postponed

The Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee meeting to evaluate candidates for the United States District Court of the Western District of Virginia scheduled for March 24, 2021, is postponed.

The meeting will be rescheduled after the Committee conducts evaluations related to the opening occasioned by Judge Barbara M. Keenan of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit taking senior status.

The postponement also allows time for the evaluations of additional judicial applicants necessitated by the expansion of the Court of Appeals of Virginia.

Updated: Mar 11, 2021
March 09, 2021

Paul F. Nichols Receives Family Law Section’s 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award

The Virginia State Bar Family Law Section has awarded its highest honor, the Betty A. Thompson Lifetime Achievement Award to Paul F. Nichols of Nichols Zauzig, P.C., with offices in Woodbridge, Manassas, and Stafford.

The award recognizes a lawyer who has made a substantial contribution to the practice and administration of family law in the Commonwealth of Virginia and is given at the discretion of the VSB Family Law Section Board of Governors. The award will be presented at the 2022 Advanced Family Law Seminar, at the Jefferson Hotel. 

Nichols practiced law with Robert Dech, Fred Welther, and Tom Mains for several years in the areas of personal injury and family law before he cofounded Nichols Zauzig with Charles Zauzig in 1989.  Betty Sandler, the 2015 recipient of this award, was a long-time partner of Nichols. 

Nichols Zauzig handles criminal defense, family law, and personal injury work, although Nichols concentrates in family law. A fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Nichols has extensive litigation experience and helped create the family law section of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association in the 1980s. He has been on the board of governors of the Family Law section of the Virginia State Bar and is a frequent lecturer and author on family topics. Nichols has been a Commissioner in Chancery for the Circuit Court of Prince William County since 1985. He served in the Virginia General Assembly House of Delegates from 2008-2010, where he drafted and helped gain passage of several family laws in the Commonwealth. 

In nominating Nichols, Carl J. Witmeyer II of The Witmeyer Law Firm in Ashland wrote: “No one that I know and have met in my 44 years as a practitioner in Virginia has exercised more efforts to improve the quality of justice in Virginia.”

A graduate of King’s College and George Mason University College of Law, Nichols has practiced for 41 years, owned several businesses, and been the recipient of numerous peer awards including Best Lawyers in America, Washington DC and Virginia Super Lawyers, and Martindale-Hubbell’s preeminent AV rating. He devotes his charitable efforts to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Breast Cancer Awareness, among others.

To bring the arc of his family law practice full circle, Nichols was mentored early in his career by Betty A. Thompson, for whom the award is named, and considered her a close friend.

Updated: Mar 09, 2021
March 03, 2021

U.S. Senators Seek Candidates for U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit Vacancy

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, based in Richmond, will soon have a judicial vacancy. The court is one of twelve regional appellate courts and hears appeals from the nine federal district courts in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, and from federal administrative agencies. The court is authorized to have 15 active circuit judges and currently has two senior judges who also participate in the court’s work.

Senators' Process:

U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Timothy MKaine are accepting applications from candidates interested in pursuing a nomination to fill an upcoming judicial vacancy in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Judge Barbara Milano Keenan, of Virginia, will assume senior status effective August 31, 2021. Relevant information, including a mandatory questionnaire, may be found on Senator Warner's website here. The deadline to submit materials to the senators is March 29, 2021.

The VSB

The VSB will not be involved in the evaluation process. However, candidates should still send questionnaires and materials to the other bar groups:

Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Virginia
Hispanic Bar Association
Old Dominion Bar Association
Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Virginia Women Attorneys Association 

The following bar groups will evaluate candidates and make recommendations, but will not conduct interviews:
Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys
Virginia Bar Association
Virginia Trial Lawyers Association

Questions:

Please contact Asha Holloman of the VSB if you have any questions.

Updated: Mar 24, 2021
March 03, 2021

Supreme Court of Virginia Issues 18th Judicial Order Due to COVID

On March 2, 2021, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued its eighteenth Judicial Order due to COVID-19, extending its prior Order until March 28, 2021.

The Order applies to all courts in the Commonwealth. To address the backlog of cases caused by the pandemic, courts may now:

"(i) grant continuances for good cause shown or as otherwise provided by law; and (ii) increase the use of in-person court proceedings whenever the court determines it is safe to do so."

The Court's full Order may be found here.

Updated: Mar 03, 2021
March 01, 2021

Virginia State Bar Newsletter March 2021

The VSB News monthly email was emailed to all Virginia lawyers on March 1, 2021. To ensure you are receiving the VSB emails, update your contact information with the Virginia State Bar and add vsbnews@vsb.org to your email account's address book. To view the original email with images, please click here.

Updated: Mar 01, 2021
March 01, 2021

Highlights of the February 27 VSB Council Meeting

At its February 27, 2021, virtual meeting, the Virginia State Bar Council heard the following significant reports and took the following actions:

Amendments to the Clients’ Protection Fund Assessment

The Council approved, with 57 yea and 2 nay votes, proposed revisions to Part 6, Section IV, Paragraph 16, of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia to reduce the required CPF fee from $10 to $5 for each active member of the Bar. The proposed changes will be presented to the Supreme Court of Virginia for approval.

Amendments to Delinquency Fees
The Council approved, with 58 yea votes and 3 nay votes, to reduce delinquency fees from $50 to $25 relating to the member compliance requirements governed by Part 6, Section IV, Paragraph 19. The proposed changes will be presented to the Supreme Court of Virginia for approval.

Budget
The Council approved, by unanimous vote, a $14.8 million proposed budget for the FY2022, with a caveat that adjustments will be made to accommodate a proposed 5 percent pay raise with benefits for state employees currently under consideration by the Virginia General Assembly. The budget will be presented to the Supreme Court of Virginia for approval.

Bylaws and Paragraph 4 Amendments Regarding President-elect Elections
The Council approved, by unanimous vote, to conform Paragraph 4 of the Rules of Court and the Bylaws governing the VSB to modern voting practices. The proposed changes will be presented to the Supreme Court of Virginia for approval.

Amendments to Paragraph 13 Regarding Bar Proceedings
The Council approved, with 61 yea votes, 0 nay votes, and one abstention, revisions to Part 6, Section IV, Paragraph 13, to promote greater fairness, efficiency, consistency, and transparency in Bar proceedings, after Council unanimously approved amending Paragraphs 13-16.DD. and 13-18.R. to substitute the word “motion” for “case,” in the sentence: “If no relief is granted, the Board shall enter its order disposing of the casemotion.” The proposed changes will be presented to the Supreme Court of Virginia for approval.

Amendments to Completion Period for Mandatory Professionalism Course
The Council approved, with 61 yea votes and 1 nay vote, amending Part 6, Section IV, Paragraph 13.1, to extend the period for completion of the Professionalism Course. The proposed changes will be presented to the Supreme Court of Virginia for approval.

Proposed LEO 1878
The Council approved, with 58 yea votes, 0 nay votes, and one abstention, LEO 1878 regarding a successor lawyer’s duties in a contingent fee matter.

Updated: Mar 01, 2021
February 26, 2021

Spring into Pro Bono Action: Great CLEs in March

It's not too late to start a new resolution to do some pro bono and we have a wonderful collection of pro bono CLEs to make it that much easier to make a fresh pro bono start.

Heirs Property CLE: Understanding the Concept to Protect Ownership and Prevent Land Loss

Tuesday, March 16 from 12 - 1:30 pm

Sponsors: 

Black Family Land Trust
Virginia State Bar, Access to Legal Services 
Virginia’s United Land Trusts

Description:

Heirs property refers to land that has been passed down informally from generation-to-generation, often without written wills, which is now owned by cousins or more remote relatives, possibly of multiple generations. Heirs property creates social issues and impacts disadvantaged communities the hardest.

In 2020, Virginia adopted major provisions of the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act (UPHPA) to help prevent involuntary loss of family land and the associated real estate wealth of that family land through a hierarchy of rights and remedies for tenant-in-common owners in a partition action.

Virginia’s approach to the UPHPA preserves traditional elements of Virginia’s partition law (in-kind partition preference) while adopting major provisions of the UPHPA, with these new provisions integrated into Virginia’s partition statute for all cases, not just Heirs Property.

The webinar will also address Barriers to Resolving Title Problems and Preventing Heirs Property.

****CLE application pending.

Speakers:

Ryan A. Brown, Esq., Arlington Law Group
Brett Glymph, Esq., Executive Director Virginia Outdoors Foundation
Stephen W. Lemon, Esq., Martin, Hopkins & Lemon, P.C.

Registration here

 

Operation Healing Forces: Serving Those Who Have Served Our Country

Wednesday, March 17 from 12 - 1:30 pm

Sponsor: University of Richmond School of Law Carrico Center for Pro Bono Service

The Carrico Center continues its popular "Law Over Lunch" CLE series with a program that explores the legal needs of our returning Special Forces population and the ethical call for all attorneys to serve these veterans.

Special Operations Forces (SOF) work in up to 76 countries on any given day, tasked with carrying out the military's most confidential and specialized missions. Yet military service does not insulate these SOF servicemembers and veterans from legal issues on the homefront; indeed, sometimes the service exacerbates them. From housing law to estate planning, SOF members, veterans, and their families encounter unique legal challenges when attempting to balance their worlds.

Join Jim Giudice, US Marine Corps veteran and attorney with Williams Mullen, who will share how a new pro bono program, Operation Healing Forces, seeks to assist SOF servicemembers, veterans, and their families with tackling their legal issues on the homefront; further, he will discuss the special representational considerations of working with current and veteran servicemembers. He will be joined by Crista Gantz, Director of Pro Bono/Access to Legal Services at the Virginia State Bar, who will demonstrate why attorneys must heed the ethical call to provide pro bono service to our military personnel and their families.

****CLE application pending.

Speakers:

Crista Gantz, Esq., Director, Pro Bono and Access to Legal Services, Virginia State Bar
James Giudice, Esq., Williams Mullen

Registration here 

 

Central Virginia Legal Aid Pro Bono Hotline Volunteer Drive and Training
Wednesday, March 31 from 12 - 2 pm

Sponsors: 

Central Virginia Legal Aid Society and Hunton Andrews Kurth

The hotline is a perfect way to help CVLAS clients with discrete legal advice in a virtual setting. This pro bono opportunity will allow you to learn something new, develop new skills, and know that your advocacy will make a difference in the lives of people in our community. Pro Bono Hotline Volunteers will sign up to handle 6-8 advice calls in 2.5 hour shifts several times per year from the comfort of your home or office. 

Topics

•          Ethical Considerations and Importance of the CVLAS Hotline

•          Basic Steps of Taking a Hotline Call

•          Benefits of Discrete Legal Advice

•          Answers to Ethics FAQs of Hotline Calls

•          JusticeServer 101

****CLE application pending.

Registration here 

Updated: Feb 25, 2021
February 25, 2021

VSB Ethics Committee Seeks Comments on UPL Opinion

Additional Info UPL Opinion 218

The Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Legal Ethics is seeking public comment on proposed Unauthorized Practice of Law Opinion 218. Comments are due by March 31, 2021.

This opinion addresses whether to reconsider UPL Opinion 194 in light of the Virginia legislature’s enactment of the Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA) in 2010.

Specifically, whether, pursuant to the UPOAA, a power of attorney would allow a non-lawyer agent/attorney-in-fact to prepare, sign and file pleadings with a court on behalf of the principal and then appear and represent the interests of the principal before the court, without engaging in unauthorized practice of law. In proposed UPL Opinion 218 the Committee concludes that the UPOAA does not change the analysis and conclusions of UPL Opinion 194 and the UPOAA does not create a “carve out,” explicit nor implicit, to allow nonlawyers to practice law under a private POA given by one person to another.

Inspection and Comment

The proposed opinion may be inspected here, or by contacting the Office of Ethics Counsel at 804-775-0557.

Any individual, business, or other entity may file or submit written comments in support of or in opposition to the proposed opinion with Karen A. Gould, executive director of the Virginia State Bar, not later than March 31, 2021. Comments may be submitted via email to publiccomment@vsb.org.

Updated: Feb 25, 2021
February 25, 2021

Bar Council Elections: Are You In the Correct Circuit?

Thirteen circuits will hold elections this year for 23 vacancies on the Virginia State Bar Council. Active and in good standing lawyers are eligible to run and vote in circuits 4, 8, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 23, 28, and 30.

Where you vote and what circuit you may run in is determined by your address of record (AOR) with the VSB. Your AOR may be your home address or your work address, but it must be recorded with the VSB by March 15, 2021 to be your valid AOR for election purposes.

Lawyers may update their AOR on the VSB attorney portal.

On March 2, 2021, lawyers in the preceding circuits will receive a detailed email with instructions on how to get on the ballot. All applications must be received by 4:45 pm EST on April 1.

Voting begins on April 12 and ends April 29 at midnight. The VSB needs lawyers to represent their circuits and help decide the issues that affect all lawyers, and we encourage all those interested to participate.

Updated: Feb 25, 2021
February 24, 2021

SCOVA Amends Article II, Section 6-A of the Constitution of Virginia

On February 23, 2021, The Supreme Court of Virginia amended the Rules and Procedures for Implementing the Requirements of Article II, Section 6-A of the Constitution of Virginia to be effective immediately.

The Court's full order may be found here.

 

  Updated: Feb 24, 2021
February 22, 2021

Virginia Court of Appeals Issues Fifth Emergency Order Due to COVID

On February 22, 2021, the Virginia Court of Appeals issued its fifth emergency order due to the COVID-19 pandemic, extending its fourth order until June 30, 2021.

Information on appellate and local court protocols as a result of the pandemic is updated here.

The Court of Appeals' Fifth Order may be found here.

Updated: Feb 22, 2021
February 19, 2021

Senators and VSB Seek Candidates for Federal Judicial Vacancy

Senators' Process:

U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Timothy M. Kaine are accepting applications from candidates interested in pursuing a nomination to fill an upcoming judicial vacancy in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia. Judge James P. Jones will assume senior status effective Aug. 30, 2021. Relevant information, including a mandatory questionnaire, may be found on Senator Warner's website here. The deadline to submit materials to the senators is March 8, 2021.

Virginia State Bar Process:

The VSB is assisting Senators Warner and Kaine in evaluating candidates to fill Judge Jones’s vacancy on the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia.

Candidates who desire to be evaluated by the VSB must submit a resume, a brief writing sample, and responses to a questionnaire (Word document) available here on the Virginia State Bar website. The deadline for submissions is 4:30 p.m. on March 8, 2021. Please submit your application materials by email before the deadline to judicialeval@vsb.org.

Interviews will be conducted by the individual committee members.

These are the other bar groups that will also conduct interviews (in addition to the JCEC):

Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Virginia
Hispanic Bar Association
Old Dominion Bar Association
Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Virginia Women Attorneys Association 

The following bar groups will evaluate candidates and make recommendations, but will not conduct interviews:
Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys
Virginia Bar Association
Virginia Trial Lawyers Association

Questions:

Please contact Asha Holloman of the VSB if you have any questions.

 

Posted: Feb 19, 2021

Updated: Mar 12, 2021
February 19, 2021

VSB Offices will open at 10:00 due to Inclement Weather

The VSB offices will open at 10:00 am February 19 due inclement weather. Updated: Feb 19, 2021
February 17, 2021

VSB Offices Closed Due Inclement Weather

The VSB offices will be closed February 18 due inclement weather.

Updated: Feb 17, 2021
February 16, 2021

Call for Nominations for Legal Aid and Law Student Pro Bono Awards

The Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Access to Legal Services is seeking nominations for two longstanding awards that recognize a legal aid lawyer and a law student for exemplary pro bono service. Nominations are due by April 9, 2021.

Since 1992, an outstanding legal aid attorney has received the Virginia Legal Aid Award. The award is traditionally presented at the Legal Aid luncheon at the VSB Annual Meeting.

Marcellinus Slag received the award in 2020. 

The Oliver White Hill Law Student Pro Bono Award was inaugurated by the Bar in 2002, and honors extraordinary law student achievement in pro bono and access to justice work. Emily Lopynski, a University of Richmond Law student, won the award in 2020.

Presentation of the award is reserved for extraordinary achievements of outstanding students. The Access Committee will annually review nominations to determine if there should be a designee. 

The deadline for nominations is 5 p.m. Friday, April 9, 2021. Please submit all nominations to Access to Legal Services Committee, c/o Crista Gantz, Virginia State Bar, 1111 East Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, Virginia 23219-0026. Direct questions to Crista at (804) 775-0522, or e-mail cgantz@vsb.org.

 

Updated: Mar 31, 2021 to change the deadline from April 2 to April 9.

Posted: Feb 16, 2021

Updated: Mar 31, 2021
February 12, 2021

VSB Offices Closed Due to Snow

The VSB offices are closed today, February 12, for snow. We are also closed Monday, February 15, in honor of federal holiday, Presidents' Day. Updated: Feb 12, 2021
February 08, 2021

Supreme Court of Virginia Issues 17th Emergency Order Due to COVID

On February 8, 2021, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued a unanimous seventeenth Judicial Emergency Order, extending its prior order until March 7, 2021. The order applies to all courts in the Commonwealth.

The Court's full order may be found here.

Updated: Feb 08, 2021
February 05, 2021

All Lawyers Asked to Check their MCLE Compliance

In April 2020, to ease active attorney’s professional responsibilities during the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Supreme Court of Virginia extended the completion deadline for active lawyers to complete their 2020 MCLE requirement from October 31 to December 31.

As we approach the first reporting deadline, please take time to review the Reporting Deadline FAQs on our website.
 
Due to our system’s configurations, we had to send out the 2020 MCLE Form 1 End of Year Reports in two mailings. We apologize for any confusion this may cause.
 
The first 2020 MCLE End of Year Report mailed to you included CLE courses completed between November 1, 2019, and October 31, 2020.
 
The second mailed a week later, contains CLE hours taken between November 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020. Both reports only include CLE hours reported by December 31, 2020.
 
To determine how many CLE hours you have, simply add the hours on both pages. (Note: Do not add in the 2019 carryover hours at the top twice.) As an alternative, we encourage you to log into your account at the Virginia State Bar website to view the most accurate and up to date version of your CLE record. 
 
You may also log into your account at the Virginia State Bar website to add additional CLE hours to your record. If you elect to report by mail, please follow the directions on the back of your Form 1.
 
All hours, whether used for compliance or carryover, need to be reported no later than 4:45 pm EST on February 15, 2021. The online reporting system will remain open until 11:59 pm on February 16, 2021.
 
Due to emergency closings, staffing shortages, and alternative processing measures related to the COVID-19 public health emergency, we are currently experiencing course review backlogs and are working diligently to resolve this issue.
 
Because the delay in receiving your Form 1 End of Year Report(s) and the backlog of courses pending review may result in some attorneys not meeting the February 15 reporting deadline, we have implemented a reporting grace period and will not assess the Late Filing Fee until March 15, 2021. All CLE hours for the 2020 CLE year reported by March 15 will be considered timely. However, you are encouraged to report by February 15 if you are able.
 
To summarize:
  • The MCLE End of Year Report(s) have been mailed to all active attorneys. The reports will include hours reported by December 31.
  • Log into the VSB Portal to review the most up-to-date version of your record.
  • All hours for the 2020 CLE year reported by March 15 will be considered timely. The Late Filing Fee will be assessed after this date. Report by February 15 if possible.
  • CLE hours for 2020 can be reported online until 11:59 pm February 16. Follow instructions on the Form 1 for reporting courses by mail after this date. Refer to the blank Form 1 on our website if you have not received the form(s) mailed to you.
Your timely compliance is important to us. If you have any questions, contact our office at (804) 775-0577 or MCLE@vsb.org
Updated: Feb 05, 2021
February 01, 2021

Virginia State Bar Newsletter February 2021

The VSB News monthly email was emailed to all Virginia lawyers on February 1, 2021. To ensure you are receiving the VSB emails, update your contact information with the Virginia State Bar and add vsbnews@vsb.org to your email account's address book. To view the original email with images, please click here. Updated: Feb 01, 2021
February 01, 2021

VSB Office Opening Late Due to Inclement Weather

Due to inclement weather, the office will open at 10:00 a.m. today.

The office remains closed to visitors.

If you need to reach a staff person, please send an email or call the appropriate contact person. We strongly urge the use of electronic communication to assist us in providing services.

Updated: Feb 01, 2021
January 26, 2021

Fourth Circuit Seeks Comments on Increase in Attorney Admission Fee

On January 25, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit amended Local Rule 46(b) to reflect an increase in the total attorney admission fee to practice before the Court from $221 to $228. The amendment is effective immediately, subject to revision after comments are received.

Comments are due by February 24, 2021. The Court's full Order may be found here.

Updated: Jan 26, 2021
January 19, 2021

Supreme Court of Virginia Declares 16th Judicial Emergency

On Tuesday, January 19, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued it sixteenth judicial emergency order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The unanimous order, which applies to all courts in the Commonwealth, extends the period of judicial emergency until February 14, 2021.

The Court's full order may be found here.

Updated: Jan 19, 2021
January 15, 2021

Supreme Court of Virginia Declares Judicial Emergency

On Friday, January 15, 2021, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia declared a judicial emergency due to the threat of civil unrest. The Supreme Court building and the Rose Lafoon building in Richmond will be closed from January 16 through January 21, 2021.

The Court's full order may be found here.

Updated: Jan 15, 2021
January 12, 2021

Lawyers Are in Phase 1c of COVID Vaccine Schedule

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has placed those who work in the legal system in Phase 1c of the COVID-19 vaccination schedule. Lawyers are included in Phase 1c because they "...support ongoing critical infrastructure operations" according to the CDC recommendations.

Lawyers with underlying health conditions, those who are 65 years or older, and public facing judges and judicial workers are eligible for the Phase 1B vaccinations, already underway in Virginia, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

The Virginia Department of Health's (VDH) Covid-19 vaccine phase by health district may be found here.

The interactive website on vaccination schedules created by the VDH may be found here.

Updated: Jan 29, 2021
January 12, 2021

Supreme Court of Virginia Approves LEO 1850 and Amends Rules

On Tuesday, January 12, 2021, the Supreme Court of Virginia amended a number of rules and a form to be effective immediately, and approved LEO 1850 regarding ethical issues when a lawyer considers outsourcing legal or non-legal support services to lawyers or paralegals, also to be effective immediately.

The Court's full rule and form amendments order may be found here.

The Court's order regarding the analysis and approval of LEO 1850 may be found here.

Updated: Jan 12, 2021
January 12, 2021

VSB Offices Partially Closed January 12

Due to a COVID-19 exposure, the Virginia State Bar Regulatory Compliance and Bar Services Departments in Richmond are closed January 12. These departments will be working remotely to meet the needs of our members and the public, however, services may be delayed. We appreciate your patience during this difficult time.

If you need to reach a staff person, please send an email or call the appropriate contact person. We strongly urge the use of electronic communication to assist us in providing services.

Updated: Jan 12, 2021
January 07, 2021

Statement of Virginia State Bar President Brian L. Buniva

The rule of law is not an abstraction. The observance of the rule of law is the very foundation of a civilized society, and certainly is the very foundation of what it means to be a Virginia lawyer. Indeed, every member of the Virginia State Bar swears an oath to uphold and defend the Constitutions of the United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

The events of January 6th at the U.S. Capitol building by an angry mob was an attack on the rule of law. The peaceful transition of power after a free and fair election is the bedrock of our democracy. I hope all of you will join me in condemning violence and stand by our oaths to uphold our Constitutions. 

Brian L. Buniva, President

Updated: Jan 07, 2021
January 06, 2021

New Virginia Lawyers Sworn In During Virtual A&O Ceremony

For the third time since the pandemic, newly admitted Virginia lawyers have been sworn into the Virginia State Bar via a virtual Admissions & Orientation ceremony.

Today, 145 newly licensed attorneys and 27 reciprocity admittees were sworn in via videoconference by Supreme Court of Virginia Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons. The new lawyers were joined in the ceremony by Virginia law school deans, Virginia State Bar President-elect Jay B. Myerson, and VSB Young Lawyers Conference President Missy York.

During the first ever virtual A&O Ceremony on June 17, 2020, 151 newly licensed attorneys and 81 reciprocity admittees were admitted to the Virginia State Bar. In the December 2, 2020 ceremony, 353 newly licensed attorneys and 31 reciprocity admittees were sworn in.

Although the ceremonies were virtual, the achievement is very real, and we offer our sincere congratulations and heartiest welcome to our newest lawyers.

The virtual cermeonies may be watched here.

Updated: Jan 06, 2021
January 06, 2021

Supreme Court of Virginia Approves LEO 1890 and Amends Rule 4.2, Comment [7]

On January 6, 2021, the Supreme Court of Virginia made amendments to the Rules of Court - Part Six, Section II, Rule 4.2, Comment [7]. The Court also approved amendments to LEO 1890, concerning communications with represented persons. The changes are effective immediately.

LEO 1890 was first presented to the Court in November, 2019. The Court's full Order approving revisions to LEO 1890 may be found here.

Updated: Jan 27, 2021
January 06, 2021

Virginia State Bar Newsletter January 2021

The VSB News monthly news summary email to all Virginia lawyers was emailed on January 5, 2021. To make sure you are receiving the VSB emails, update your contact information with the Virginia State Bar and add vsbnews@vsb.org to your email account's address book. To view the original email with images, please click here. Updated: Jan 06, 2021
January 05, 2021

Be a Leader at the Bar in 2021

The Virginia State Bar seeks Virginia lawyers and nonlawyers to serve on its many boards and committees that work to improve the legal system in the Commonwealth. 

There are three ways to serve: 

President-elect Jay Myerson seeks lawyers interested in serving on special and standing committees. The committees include those that oversee budget and finance, legal ethics, professionalism, access to legal services, and several others. Applications are due February 19.

The Standing Committee on Lawyer Discipline is soliciting applicants – both lawyer and nonlawyer – for disciplinary district committee vacancies. These local committees review complaints about lawyers and investigate claims within their districts. Applications in the form of a résumé and short statement of interest are due February 28, 2021, to Stephanie Blanton – either via email (blanton@vsb.org) or mailed to her at Virginia State Bar, 1111 East Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, VA 23219-0026.

The Bar’s Nominating Committee is accepting applications from Virginia lawyers for the Clients’ Protection Fund Board, the Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee, and the Executive Committee of Bar Council. Applications are due by March 26, 2021.  

Terms begin July 1, 2021, and applicants must submit a résumé and brief statement of interest for each candidacy. You are welcome to contact VSB Executive Director Karen Gould to discuss your best opportunity to serve. 

Additionally, elections for Bar Council, the VSB's governing body, will happen again in April – for terms also beginning in July. Consider running for a potential vacancy.

General information about Bar Service Opportunities here. 

Updated: Jan 06, 2021
January 05, 2021

Nominating Committee: Board and Committee Vacancies

Virginia lawyers – active and in good standing – are needed to serve on Virginia State Bar boards and committees beginning this year. 

The chosen applicants will oversee the Clients’ Protection Fund and the Bar’s judicial candidate evaluations, interviewing candidates for vacancies on the bench. The Bar also seeks Bar Council members interested in serving on the Executive Committee. 

Interested lawyers should send a brief statement of interest and a résumé by March 26, 2021, by email to Asha Holloman or mail to: VSB Nominating Committee, c/o Asha Holloman, Virginia State Bar, 1111 East Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, VA 23219-0026.

The Nominating Committee will refer applicants to the full Bar Council for consideration at its June meeting. Appointments are made by Council.

All appointments begin on July 1, 2021. Vacancies include:

Executive Committee of Bar Council:

  • 6 lawyer vacancies (4 current members are not eligible for reappointment; 2 current members are eligible for reappointment)
  • Filled from ranks of the Bar Council
  • 1-year terms with potential reappointment

Clients’ Protection Fund Board:  

  • 3 lawyer vacancies (1 current at-large member who is not eligible for reappointment; 1 current at-large member and one current member from the 7th disciplinary district who are eligible for reappointment) 
  • May serve 2 consecutive 3-year terms

Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee:  

  • 4 vacancies (2 current members from the 2nd and 7th disciplinary districts are not eligible for reappointment; 1 at-large member is not eligible for reappointment; 1 at-large member has been elevated to the bench).

American Bar Association Delegates:  

3 lawyer vacancies (2 current members are not eligible for reappointment; 1 current member is eligible for reappointment)

  • Appointment by Bar Council
  • May serve 3 consecutive 2-year terms
  • Term commences September 1, 2021

Learn more about other Bar Service Opportunities.

Updated: Mar 09, 2021
January 05, 2021

Get on the Ballot for Bar Council Elections

Bar Council, the Virginia State Bar’s governing body, will hold its annual elections by electronic ballot in April 2021 for terms beginning July 1. 

Virginia lawyers who wish to be on the ballot must be active members in good standing of their circuit as of March 15, 2021. 

Make sure your contact information is current in the Bar’s records before March 15 to ensure that you are eligible to run and to vote in your circuit – and that you receive the ballot.

In order to run, a lawyer must:

  • file a nominating petition signed by not fewer than ten other members eligible to vote in the circuit,
  • write a statement of qualifications not exceeding 150 words,* and
  • provide a digital headshot.**

File these three things with the executive director at elections@vsb.org on or before April 1, 2021

In the statement, describe what is it about your background that makes you well suited to the position and what you hope to accomplish as a member of bar council. View an example of what voters see here

Council members may serve two 3-year terms but must be re-elected to serve a 2nd term. The chart below shows which circuits have seats available for election.

Circuit 4

1 seat (incumbent is not eligible for re-election)

Circuit 8

1 seat (incumbent is not eligible for re-election)

Circuit 12

1 seat (incumbent is eligible 2nd term)

Circuit 13

4 seats (2 incumbents are eligible for 2nd term; 2 incumbents are not eligible for re-election)

Circuit 14

1 seat (incumbent has been elected to serve as president-elect)

Circuit 16

1 seat (incumbent is not eligible for re-election)

Circuit 17

2 seats (1 incumbent is eligible for re-election; 1 incumbent will not seek re-election)

Circuit 18

2 seats (1 incumbent is eligible for 2nd term; 1 incumbent is not eligible for re-election)

Circuit 19

6 seats (3 incumbents are eligible for 2nd term; 2 incumbents are not eligible for re-election; 1 incumbent will not seek re-election)

Circuit 21

1 seat (incumbent is eligible for 2nd term)

Circuit 23

1 seat (incumbent is not eligible for re-election)

Circuit 28

1 seat (incumbent is not eligible for re-election)

Circuit 30

1 seat (incumbent is eligible for 2nd term)

 

 * Please do not send statements in pdf form. Use a text program like Word or write directly into the body of the email in a way that allows for easy copy and paste.

** Please do not send a headshot that is in-line or embedded in the email or statement. Rather, attach it to the email in JPEG/JPG/PNG format. The photo should preferably be just your head and shoulders.

Updated: Feb 23, 2021
December 23, 2020

Supreme Court approved amendments to Rule 1.17, Rule 1.18, Rule 5.5, and Paragraph 13

On December 23, 2020, the Supreme Court of Virginia approved several amendments.

The Supreme Court of Virginia approved amendments to Rule 1.17, Rule 1.18, and Rule 5.5. Effective immediately.
View the Court's order (pdf)

The Court also approved amendments to the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia Part 6 Section IV, Paragraph 13-6.D. Effective February 22, 2021. 
View the Court's order (pdf)

Updated: Dec 23, 2020
December 21, 2020

Supreme Court of Virginia Issues 15th Judicial Emergency Due to COVID

On Friday, December 18, 2020, the Supreme Court of Virginia extended the declaration of judicial emergency until January 24, 2021. This is the Court’s fifteenth such order due to the COVID-19 pandemic and applies to all courts in the Commonwealth.

The new order delineates health questions that should be asked of individuals entering a courthouse, requires all people over the age five or older to wear a mask in the courthouse with limited exceptions, and describes the process by which jury trials will resume once approved by a panel of three Justices in consultation with the Office of the Executive Secretary. Courts may also impose discovery and other pre-trial deadlines in jury trials that are currently suspended after noticing parties or their counsel.

The Court’s full order may be found here.

Updated: Dec 21, 2020
December 17, 2020

VSB to Evaluate Candidates for Virginia Court of Appeals Vacancies

The Virginia State Bar has been asked by Senator John Edwards of the Judiciary Committee of the Senate of Virginia to evaluate candidates for five vacancies on the Court of Appeals of Virginia.  

If you desire to be evaluated by the VSB, candidates must submit on or before 4:00 p.m. on December 30, 2020, a résumé, a brief writing sample, and responses to a questionnaire (Word document). Submissions should be sent electronically as a Word document (writing sample may be submitted in pdf format). 

Please submit your application materials by email to judicialeval@vsb.org.

Interviews will be conducted by the individual committee members.

Questions 

Contact VSB staff member Asha Holloman if you have any questions.

Updated: Jan 11, 2021
December 17, 2020

VSB Offices Closed Dec. 17-18

Due to a likely COVID-19 exposure, the Virginia State Bar offices in Richmond will be closed the remainder of Thursday, December 17, 2020, and all day Friday, December 18, 2020. During this period many departments will be working remotely to meet the needs of our members and the public, however, services may be delayed. We appreciate your patience during this difficult time. Updated: Dec 17, 2020
December 10, 2020

Supreme Court of Virginia Seeks Med Mal Review Volunteers

The Supreme Court of Virginia has asked the Virginia State Bar to provide an updated list of lawyers willing to serve on Medical Malpractice Review Panels (MMRPs).  

Attorneys who are interested in serving should submit a letter of interest and a resume to: Karen A. Gould, Executive Director, Virginia State Bar at mmrp@vsb.org.

To be qualified to serve, a lawyer must be: (1) impartial, (2) an active in-good-standing member of the Virginia State Bar, and (3) actively practicing.

Members will serve a 3-year term, beginning July 1, 2021, and terms are staggered with one-third of the members to be rotated off each year. Further information on the MMRP process can be found at Va. Code § 8.01-581.3. The Medical Malpractice Rules of Practice can be found in Volume 11 of the Code and online here.  

If you have questions, please contact Ms. Gould at 804-775-0550 or gould@vsb.org.

Updated: Jun 01, 2021
December 08, 2020

VSB Proposes Changes to Bylaws Governing Election of the President-elect

The Virginia State Bar is seeking VSB Council authorization to modify Paragraph 4 of the Rules of Court and the Bylaws governing the VSB to better conform with modern voting practices. 

The Supreme Court of Virginia must be petitioned to approve the proposed changes to Paragraph 4 of the Rules of Court.

The proposed changes, as well as the current rules, may be viewed in the VSB Professional Guidelines here.

Inspection and Comment

Any individual, business, or other entity may file written comments in support of or in opposition to the proposed changes with Karen A. Gould, executive director of the Virginia State Bar, not later than February 12, 2021.

Comments may be submitted by mail to 1111 East Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, Virginia 23219-0026 or by email to publiccomment@vsb.org.

 

Edited 12/14/20 to extend comments deadline.

Updated: Dec 14, 2020
December 03, 2020

Supreme Court of Virginia Issues Fourteenth Judicial Emergency Order

On Thursday, December 3, 2020, the Supreme Court of Virginia unanimously issued its Fourteenth Order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, extending the provisions of the Thirteenth Order through January 3, 2021.

The Period of Judical Emergency applies to all courts of the Commonwealth.

The Court's full Order may be read here.

A list of all of the Court's Orders regarding the COVID-19 emergency may be found here.

Updated: Dec 03, 2020
December 03, 2020

Virginia State Bar Newsletter December 2020

The VSB News monthly news summary email to all Virginia lawyers was emailed on December 3. To make sure you are receiving the VSB emails, update your contact information with the Virginia State Bar and add vsbnews@vsb.org to your email account's address book. To view the original email with images, please click here. Updated: Dec 03, 2020
December 02, 2020

Stephanie Grana Elected VSB President-elect

Stephanie Grana, a partner with the law firm of Breit Cantor Grana Buckner in Richmond, has been chosen as the Virginia State Bar president-elect for 2021-22, and will take over the presidency of the Bar from current president-elect, Jay Myerson, in 2022.

Grana was elected in a race against David Neumeyer, of the Virginia Legal Aid Society in Lynchburg. When she begins her term, Grana will be the seventh woman to head the 50,000 lawyers of the VSB in its 84-year history. 

Grana, a personal injury litigator, wanted to be a lawyer since childhood. Her father and brother were tragically killed in a plane crash in 2008, making Grana a plaintiff and, she believes, a more empathetic lawyer in the process. After attending the University of Richmond for both undergraduate and law school, Grana has devoted her career to litigation and service to the bar.

Her volunteerism includes past presidencies of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association; the American Board of Trial Advocates-Virginia Chapter; Lewis F. Powell Jr. American Inns of Court; and the Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association.

Grana currently serves on the VSB Executive Committee, Council for the 14th Circuit, the Budget & Finance Committee, and the Nominating Committee. She is also a member of the Boyd Graves Conference, the Virginia Model Jury Instructions Committee, and the “Working Group” to study expansion of the Court of Appeals.

Some of Grana’s goals for her presidency include:

  • Promoting professionalism
  • Increasing diversity among VSB leadership and committees
  • Recognizing bias
  • Working with judges to enhance bench/bar relations
  • Continuing the work of prior presidents for improved access to justice

Grana is married to attorney Scott Bemberis, and they have three children.

Updated: Dec 03, 2020
December 02, 2020

VSB Seeks Comments on Proposal to Extend Period for Completion of the Professionalism Course

The Virginia State Bar seeks to petition the Supreme Court of Virginia to amend Paragraph 13.1, Part 6, Section IV, of the Rules of the Supreme Court to extend the period for completion of the Professionalism Course.

A copy of the proposed changes is noted below with deletions denoted by strikethrough and additions with underlining.

13.1 Suspension for Failure to Complete Professionalism Course—

Each person admitted to the Virginia State Bar on or after July 1, 1988, as an active member shall complete the course of study prescribed by the Executive Committee of the Virginia State Bar and approved by the Supreme Court of Virginia on the Rules of Professional Conduct and the lawyer’s broader professional obligations, and any active member who fails to complete the course shall be suspended unless an extension is obtained for good cause shown. Such course of study shall be funded by attendance fees paid by those attending the course.

Any active member licensed after June 30, 1988, and any other member who changes his or her membership to active status shall complete the required course within twelve twenty-four months of becoming an active member. Failure to comply with this Rule shall subject the active member to the penalties set forth in Paragraph 19 herein.

“Good cause shown” as used herein shall include illness, hospitalization or such other cause as may be determined by the Executive Committee, whose determination shall be final. The Executive Director of the Virginia State Bar is authorized to grant extensions for compliance with this paragraph until the next Executive Committee meeting. Any determination by the Executive Committee or the Executive Director may be reviewed by the Supreme Court on request of the member seeking an extension.

The amendments effective March 1, 2017, authorize the VSB executive director to grant, for good cause, an extension request from a member who fails to complete the Professionalism Course by the deadline.

Inspection and Comment

Any individual, business, or other entity may file written comments in support of or in opposition to the proposed changes with Karen A. Gould, executive director of the Virginia State Bar, not later than January 8, 2021. Comments may be submitted by mail to 1111 East Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, Virginia 23219-0026 or by email to publiccomment@vsb.org.

Updated: Dec 02, 2020
December 02, 2020

President-elect Myerson Seeks Applicants for VSB Committees

Jay B. Myerson, president-elect of the VSB, seeks active and in-good-standing Virginia lawyers willing to serve on special and standing committees in 2021. 

Appointments will generally be for a three-year term, running from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2024, with the possibility of another three-year term to follow. To encourage participation — and recognizing the time commitment — lawyers are generally limited to serving on only one committee. Lawyer vacancies on standing committees are limited due to requirements for a specific number of Executive Committee and Bar Council members to serve on each committee.

Standing Committees:*

Access to Legal Services
Budget & Finance
Lawyer Discipline**
Legal Ethics
Professionalism

* Lawyer vacancies on standing committees are limited due to requirements for a specific number of Executive Committee and Bar Council members to serve on each committee.
** It is preferred that members of the Committee on Lawyer Discipline have served on a local disciplinary district committee. more information

Special Committees:

Bench-Bar Relations
Better Annual Meeting
Lawyer Insurance
Lawyer Referral
Resolution of Fee Disputes
Technology and the Future Practice of Law

If you would like to be considered for appointment to any of the VSB committees listed, please complete the committee preference form and return it with a brief résumé by February 19, 2021

Either email the form and résumé to Asha B. Holloman at committees@vsb.org or mail them to her at: Virginia State Bar, 1111 East Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, VA 23219-0026. 

Learn more about other Bar Service OpportunitiesUpdated: Dec 02, 2020
December 01, 2020

CLE Deadline Looms, but Here’s a Holiday Gift from the VSB

December 31, 2020, marks the last day to complete your MCLE hours for the year, and with that in mind we have compiled a list of free, on-demand CLEs sponsored by VSB conferences, sections, and committees that lawyers may access anytime and from anywhere to help cross CLE hours off your busy, end of year to-do lists. These CLEs are only available on demand from December 1 – 13, so don’t miss this opportunity.

“What’s so great about these December CLEs?” you may ask. Well, for starters:

  • They are FREE
  • You can watch them from anywhere
  • You don’t have to dress up, in fact pajamas will do nicely
  • You can get a year’s hours (except live requirements) in one day!
  • You may use these end-of-year CLEs to bank hours for next year
  • There are many timely COVID-related topics 
  • You can look very busy if someone suggests it’s time to take the trash out
  • And: tell your office you can’t take that Zoom call, you’re in CLE class!

Did we mention they are free? So, now you have a little extra money to get that colleague the Chia Pet they don’t even know they want yet.

Access the full list of On-demand CLEs here

NOTE:  The CLE will begin immediately upon your registration, so register at the time you plan to watch it.

Updated: Dec 01, 2020
November 30, 2020

Senators and VSB Seek Candidates for Federal Judicial Vacancy

Senators' Process:

U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Timothy M. Kaine are accepting applications from candidates interested in pursuing a nomination to fill the judicial vacancy in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Judge Liam O'Grady assumed senior status on May 1, 2020. Relevant information, including a mandatory questionnaire, may be found on Senator Warner's website here. The deadline to submit materials to the senators is December 18, 2020.

Virginia State Bar Process:

The VSB is assisting Senators Warner and Kaine in evaluating candidates for Judge O'Grady's vacancy on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Candidates who desire to be evaluated by the VSB must submit a resume, a brief writing sample, and responses to a questionnaire (Word document) available here on the Virginia State Bar website. The deadline for submissions is 4:30 p.m. on December 18, 2020. Please submit your application materials by email before the deadline to judicialeval@vsb.org.

Interviews will be conducted by the individual committee members.

Questions:

Please contact Asha Holloman of the VSB if you have any questions.

 

Originally posted 11/30/20. Updated 12/17/20 to remove the requirement that the questionnaire be notarized and mailed.

Updated: Jan 11, 2021
November 24, 2020

Supreme Court of Virginia Seeks Comment on Admission of Military Spouses

The Supreme Court of Virginia is seeking public comment on the provisional admittance of dependent spouses of active duty service members to the practice of law in the Commonwealth without examination.

The amendments would effect Rule 1A:8, Military Spouse Provisional Admission. The Court has made changes to the original proposed amendments to the Rule suggested by the Military Spouse J.D. Network in February, 2020.

The Court's letter and the redlined amendments may be found here.

Comments on the proposed amended Rule must be received by February 22, 2021, and must be forwarded to:

Douglas B. Robelen, Clerk Supreme Court of Virginia, via email (scvclerk@vacourts.gov) with the subject line "comment on Rule lA:8"

In the alternative, comments may be mailed to the Clerk 's office at:
100 North Ninth Street, 5th Floor
Richmond, VA 23219

Updated: Nov 24, 2020
November 23, 2020

Supreme Court of Virginia Amends Part 1 Rules Clarifying Usage of “Shall”

On November 23, 2020, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued an Order amending its Rules to clarify the meaning of the word "shall" which formerly appeared in the Rules. 

The clarifications do not change existing law and the Order excludes Parts 2, 3B, 3C, 3D, 6, and the Medical Malpractice Rules of Practice.

The amendments become effective March 1, 2021.

A copy of the Court's full Order may be found here.

Updated: Nov 24, 2020
November 23, 2020

Court of Appeals of Virginia Issues Fourth COVID-19 Order

On November 23, 2020, the Court of Appeals of Virginia issued a Fourth Order extending its August 31, 2020 Third Order until at least April 30, 2021, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Court of Appeals of Virginia stated in the Order that the measures previously set out in its August 31, 2020 Order will remain in place, with modifications to one provision:

"All persons age five or over entering the Court's clerk's office must wear a face covering that covers the nose and mouth. Individuals without a face mask will not be permitted to enter the clerk's office except for those who cannot safely wear a face mask because of a health-related condition or a disability. In the instance where a face mask cannot be worn, special arrangements will be made for access to the clerk's office. Parties entering the clerk's office will be provided with disposable gloves and hand sanitizer. Upon prior request, a mask will also be provided."

The Court's full Order may be found here.

A continuously updated record of judicial announcements and protocols regarding COVID-19 for courts across the Commonwealth may be found here.

Updated: Nov 23, 2020
November 16, 2020

VSB Seeks Comments on Proposed Changes to Rules Governing Delinquency Fees

The Virginia State Bar is seeking VSB Council authorization to petition the Supreme Court of Virginia to reduce delinquency fees associated with some Rules violations governed by Part 6, Section IV, of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia.

The proposed changes and the original Rule may be viewed in their entirety here.

Inspection and Comment

Any individual, business, or other entity may file written comments in support of or in opposition to the proposed changes with Karen A. Gould, executive director of the Virginia State Bar, not later than January 8, 2021. Comments may be submitted by mail to 1111 East Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, Virginia 23219-0026 or by email to publiccomment@vsb.org.

Updated: Nov 16, 2020