News and Information
October 27, 2009

Highlights of the October 16, 2009, Virginia State Bar Council Meeting

At its meeting on October 16, 2009, in Williamsburg, the Virginia State Bar Council heard the following significant reports and took the following actions:

Permanent Bar Cards
The Membership Task Force is discussing replacing the annual VSB membership card with a permanent card, at the request of President-elect Irving M. Blank.

UPL Felony Legislation
Sharon D. Nelson, chair of the Standing Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law, reported that the committee has decided on the advice of a legislator not to pursue legislation in 2010 that would make certain types of UPL a felony.

Proposals Approved by Council
The council approved the following proposals, which will be sent to the Supreme Court for approval:
  • Payee Notification — This legislation would require insurers that pay liability claims to notify claimants when they disburse settlement proceeds of $5,000 or more to claimants’ attorneys. Approved 39 to 25.

  • New Rule 1.18 — This would define a prospective client to whom the duty of confidentiality is owed, and distinguish that prospective client from someone who unilaterally communicates with a lawyer with no reasonable expectation of forming an attorney-client relationship. The proposed amendment also would allow a law firm to screen the lawyer who discussed the possibility of employment by a prospective client to avoid imputation of a conflict to other lawyers in the firm. Approved 67 to 1.

  • Rule 4.2 amendment — This would clarify that a commonwealth’s attorney may advise a law enforcement officer regarding the legality of an interrogation or other investigative conduct when a defendant in custody, formerly charged, and represented by counsel waives his Miranda rights and wants to give a statement without his or her counsel present. Approved unanimously.

  • Paragraph 10 amendments — These amendments would update Rules of the Supreme Court Part Six, §IV, ¶10. The amendments would eliminate redundancy in procedures for providing notice and soliciting public comment. They also would require the VSB to submit proposals that declare conduct to be UPL to the Attorney General’s Office for analysis of any restraint of competition that might result. Approved 56-13.

  • Paragraph 13 amendments — These amendments to Rules of the Supreme Court Part Six, §IV, ¶13 would clarify the term “charge of misconduct.” Approved unanimously.


originally posted 10/27/09



Updated: Oct 28, 2009