News and Information
May 03, 2022

VSB Executive Director Karen Gould Announces Her Retirement

After almost 15 years in the role, Virginia State Bar Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Karen A. Gould announced she will retire in fiscal year 2022–23. Gould has served as ED/COO since December 2007 and was the first woman to serve in this position. Her last day in the office will be July 22. The Bar officers and staff thank Karen for her many years of guidance, service, and exemplary leadership and wish her well in her retirement.

In 2006, Gould was just the third woman to serve as president of the Bar when she was elected to the role. Prior to being VSB president, Gould was an active volunteer at the Bar for more than 15 years. She was chair of the VSB Disciplinary Board, the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Board, and the Budget and Finance Committee. She also served as chair of the district disciplinary committee that hears lawyer misconduct cases in Richmond.

During her tenure, VSB membership grew from 41,788 to 51,773. She brought leadership to the Bar during COVID-19 pandemic operations, steered through the 2008 financial crisis and budget cuts, closed the northern Virginia VSB office, and oversaw the relocation of the VSB offices from 707 to 1111 E Main. Gould also coordinated the Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee activities when requested by the General Assembly to interview or evaluate candidates for judgeships.

Under Gould’s leadership, the Bar invested in evolving technology, including upgraded equipment and security systems. These investments gave lawyers an online dues payment and MCLE reporting option. Gould also oversaw the purchase and implementation of an enterprise content records management software that saved valuable resources by allowing some VSB departments to go paperless. Similarly, the Rules and Regulations of the Bar were transformed from a cumbersome print document to searchable HTML pages on the Bar website.

Gould received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and her law degree from the University of South Carolina. She clerked for U.S. District Judge Glen Williams of Abingdon, then was a litigator for the Virginia Attorney General’s Office for four years.

She entered private practice in 1984 at Crews & Hancock in Richmond, where she practiced for 20 years. Prior to becoming ED/COO of the VSB, she was a partner with McSweeney, Crump, Childress & Gould PC. Her practice focused on defense of health-care providers in professional liability cases, workers’ compensation cases, and other litigation.

A 12-member search task force is accepting resumes for the position as of June 15, 2022. The deadline to apply is no later than 5:00 p.m. on July 15, 2022. The chair is VSB Past President Phillip V. Anderson (2005–06). The full task force includes:

Phillip (Phil) V. Anderson


Donna (Susie) Sue Baker


Irving (Irv) M. Blank


Marni E. Byrum


Stephanie E. Grana


Shemeka C. Hankins


Leonard (Len) C. Heath Jr.

Newport News

Chidi I. James 


K. Brett Marston


Luis A. Perez

Falls Church

Lisa A. Wilson


Melissa (Missy) Y. York 



updated 6/15/2022 to add job posting information and link:

Updated: Jun 15, 2022