News and Information
June 18, 2019

Sand, Sun, and Speeches: 2019 Annual Meeting Recap

Relatively cool summer weather welcomed hundreds of lawyers and their families to the 2019 Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach last week. VSB sections and conferences hosted meetings, lunches, and 12 hours of showcase CLEs, as well as receptions for attorneys, judges, and members of the Bar community. 

Marni E. Byrum of Alexandria was inducted as the new VSB president, and Brian L. Buniva of Richmond became president-elect. Immediate Past President Leonard C. Heath Jr. of Newport News passed the baton to Byrum at the Friday evening banquet with the words: “Be well, do good.”

Byrum told the crowd that diversity, inclusion, and engagement would be the focus of her year as president, defining diversity as everything from geography to practice areas to personal and cultural affiliations, while reminding the audience that the leadership of the Bar should reflect the entire Bar.

At the Bar Council meeting on Thursday morning, members acted on a number of rules and opinions. And at the general session on Saturday, Byrum reviewed Council and Supreme Court of Virginia actions for the year.

Awards were presented to winners of the Legal Aid Award, the Rakes Leadership in Education Award, the Tradition of Excellence Award, the Dunnaville Diversity Achievement Award, the Oliver White Hill Law Student Award, the Burnette Young Lawyer of the Year, winners of several awards from the Conference of Local and Specialty Bars, and to 50-year members of the bar. 

During his acceptance of the Tradition of Excellence Award, Randy Nelson of Lynchburg noted, “A Bar license is not a license to unduly profit from human distress. It’s a contract…that obligates attorneys to use their abilities and training to promote and improve human virtues and conditions.”

The most popular CLE was “Judicial Squares” on Saturday, which featured a game-show-style panel comprised of judges from around the state, including Justice William C. Mims of the Supreme Court of Virginia. The Honorable Rossie D. Alston Jr. acted as emcee for lawyer teams answering questions on legal issues ranging from discovery to court procedure to Constitutional rights. 

Other fun was had during the 5k race sponsored by the Young Lawyers Conference and Virginia Lawyers Weekly, morning yoga sessions on the beach, a tennis tournament sponsored by MichieHamlett, family bingo sponsored by Walker Jones PC, the opening reception and the banquet, sponsored by the VSB Members Insurance Center and the McCammon Group, and much more. 

If you would like to get involved or have suggestions regarding the annual meeting, please contact Maureen Stengel at or 804-775-0517. We hope to see you next year in Virginia Beach!

Captions (from top to bottom): 

  1. President-elect Brian L. Buniva, President Marni E. Byrum, and Immediate Past President Leonard C. Heath Jr. 
  2. Members of the Hill Tucker Bar Association, winner of the 2019 Bar Association of the Year Award
  3. The Hon. Rossie D. Alston Jr. in front of a panel of judges for “Judicial Squares.”
  4. Hon. D. Eugene Cheek and the Hon. Larry G. Elder enjoying themselves at the Thursday evening reception. 
  5. The racers are off! The beginning of the Friday morning 5k.
Annual Meeting 2019 Updated: Jun 19, 2019