News and Information
November 09, 2022

Virginia State Bar Clients’ Protection Fund Board Pays $27,230.00 on Six Petitions

The Virginia State Bar Clients’ Protection Fund Board authorized payments totaling $27,230.00 in reimbursement to petitioners regarding six Virginia attorneys at its September 12, 2022, meeting.

The board awarded a $3,250 payment for unearned attorney’s fees in an immigration matter. The board found that the attorney, Ellis Charles Baggs of Richmond, did sufficient work to earn some, but not all, of the $6,500 fee paid by the client. Before Baggs’ surrendered his law license in March 2020, he filed immigration paperwork but did not appear at an Immigration Court hearing or otherwise assist the Petitioner with the case. The board reimbursed one-half of the attorney’s fee the client paid.

A former client of Jonathan Preston Fisher of Blacksburg was awarded $1,200 by the board because Fisher repeatedly failed to appear in court to represent his client in a traffic matter. The board did not find evidence of any legal work by Fisher in the matter. Fisher’s license was revoked in May 2021.

The board approved a payment of $8,830 and $7,500, respectively, to a former client and a personal representative of the estate of a deceased former client of David Gary Hoffman of Fairfax. The board found that Hoffman charged estate planning clients fees for future estate administration services, and Hoffman never did the work to earn the estate administration fees. Hoffman’s license was revoked in December 2021 by the Disciplinary Board after a hearing.

A petitioner was awarded $1,750 representing full fees paid to Kevin Peter Shea of Hampton for failing to file a petition for expungement on behalf of his client. Shea’s license was revoked in February 2022 before his passing in July 2022.

A petitioner received $4,700 as full reimbursement for fees paid to Charles James Swedish of Vienna. The board found that Swedish did no significant work for the client to pursue a Habeas Corpus petition before Swedish’s death in March 2022.

Docket Number

Lawyer’s Name

City of Record

Amount Paid

Type of Case


Ellis Charles Baggs

Richmond, VA


Unearned Fee/Immigration


Jonathan Preston Fisher

Blacksburg, VA


Unearned Fee/Traffic Offenses


David Gary Hoffman

Fairfax, VA


Unearned Fee/Estate Planning/Administration


David Gary Hoffman

Fairfax, VA


Unearned Fee/Estate Planning/Administration


Kevin Peter Shea

Hampton, VA


Unearned Fee/Criminal Law


Charles James Swedish

Vienna, VA


Unearned Fee/Criminal 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 $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: Nov 09, 2022