News and Information
October 19, 2010

Highlights of the October 15, 2010, Virginia State Bar Council Meeting


At its meeting on October 15, 2010, in Charlottesville, the Virginia State Bar Council heard the following significant reports and took the following actions:

UPL Prosecution
The council voted 64 to 1 to seek legislation in the 2011 General Assembly to extend the statute of limitation on prosecution of unauthorized practice of law and to increase the penalties for committing UPL, a misdemeanor under current law. Under the proposal, Virginia Code § 19.2-8 would be amended to allow prosecution within two years of the complainant’s discovery of the offense. In addition, restitution could be ordered in a criminal conviction under proposed amendments to § 54.1-3904, and, in a civil proceeding to enjoin unauthorized practice, a complainant could recover attorney fees, costs, damages, and civil penalties, including treble or punitive damages. The proposed statutory changes will be sent to the Supreme Court of Virginia for its consideration.

MCLE Rule Proposal Approved
The council approved proposed amendments to Rules of Virginia Supreme Court, Part 6, § IV, ¶ 17, that would increase the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Board quorum needed to change MCLE regulations. The proposal also would give the council the authority to suspend a new or amended MCLE regulation until the Supreme Court has considered it. Under the proposal, approval by seven members of the twelve-member MCLE Board would be required for a regulation change to pass. A two-thirds vote would be required for the council to reject implementation of a regulation pending review by the Court. Proponents of the council-override measure said it would give the council input while maintaining the MCLE Board’s independence. The proposal was passed by a vote of 58 to 6. It will be sent to the Court for its consideration.

Paragraph 13 Proposals Approved
The council approved proposed changes to Rules of Virginia Supreme Court, Part 6, § IV, ¶ 13, that would establish procedural authority for regulating multijurisdictional practice by lawyers who are not members of the Virginia State Bar, but who are authorized to conduct a limited practice here. The proposed changes also would incorporate in Paragraph 13 requirements for persons serving as members of a district committee, the Disciplinary Board, and the Committee on Lawyer Discipline. These requirements are also found in the Bylaws of the Virginia State Bar. The proposals will be sent to the Court for its consideration.

The council approved without dissent resolutions honoring Leroy Rountree Hassell Sr. for his accomplishments during eight years as Virginia’s Chief Justice, and Cynthia Dinah Fannon Kinser on her election as Chief Justice for 2011-15. Updated: Dec 10, 2010