News and Information
July 01, 2020

Virginia State Bar Newsletter July 2020

The following went out as part of a monthly news summary email to all Virginia lawyers on July 1. To make sure you are receiving the VSB emails, update your contact information with the Virginia State Bar and add vsbnews@vsb.org to your email account's address book.

Governance

To Members of the Judiciary and the Bar of Virginia On the frieze at the top of the front steps of the Supreme Court of the United States is a short but profound statement: "Equal Justice Under Law." The Court's statement on justice continued.
 
VSB President Brian L. Buniva was inducted into the office on June 30, 2020. The ceremony took place during a small gathering at the Supreme Court of Virginia due to the cancellation of the VSB Annual Meeting for the first time since 1945.
 
Jay B. Myerson of Reston becomes the VSB president-elect. He will be president in 2021-22.
 
VSB Immediate-Past President Marni E. Byrum issued a statement to lawyers on current events and how lawyers can consider making a difference.
 
On June 23, the Court of Appeals of Virginia issued a second COVID-19 Order, and information on protocols in various courts across the Commonwealth.
 
On June 22, 2020, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued its study the jurisdiction and organization of the Court of Appeals of Virginia. The Virginia State Bar, on behalf of the Supreme Court of Virginia, is seeking comments from lawyers regarding the Joint Resolution.
 
Because of the cancellation of the VSB Annual Meeting, the VSB Executive Committee convened telephonically on June 9, 2020, and voted to recommend revisions to Supreme Court of Virginia Rule 1A:8, Military Spouse Provisional Admission.
 
Effective June 4, 2020, the Supreme Court of Virginia amended two Rules of Court, one to take effect immediately and the other to take effect on July 1, 2020.
 
As a result of the COVID-19 emergency, on June 2, 2020, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued an order encouraging lawyers and pro se litigants to electronically file pleadings and documents that would normally be required to be filed in hard copy with the Court.
 

Discipline

Recent disciplinary actions:

Todd Russell Lewis public reprimand, effective June 17, 2020.
David B. Parks Sr., public reprimand, effective June 24, 2020.

Compliance

Virginia lawyers’ should have already received their annual dues statements. COVID-19 has closed the VSB to the public, and extended compliance deadlines. Information on dues, acceptable mail services, and new MCLE due dates and other information may be found here.

Pro Bono / Access to Justice

While Virginia legal aid and nonprofit legal service providers continue to address the legal problems of Virginia’s most vulnerable community members, the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly increased the demand for their services. Pro bono attorneys are urgently needed to help fill the gap. To volunteer, please fill out this COVID-19 Pro Bono Interest Form. Or, contact Cris Gantz at cgantz@vsb.org with questions.

COVID-19 may have caused financial havoc for someone you know. The Central Virginia Legal Aid Society (with a grant from Legal Services Corporation) has created a statewide resource for Virginians whose debts have piled up, particularly low-wage workers and people living in poverty. Lawyers may consider referring people asking about bankruptcy to a new, free online tool for determining whether personal bankruptcy is the right option for them now, and whether they might qualify for civil legal aid.

Opportunities, Events & Awards

Covington lawyer Michael McHale Collins has been awarded the General Practice Section’s Tradition of Excellence Award.

The award recognizes a Virginia lawyer who “…embodies the highest tradition of personal and professional excellence in Virginia, enhances the image and esteem of attorneys in the Commonwealth, and has devoted significant amounts of time, efforts, and/or funds to activities that benefit their community.”

Shemeka C. Hankins of Hampton Roads, the associate attorney at Invictus Law, has received the Conference of Local and Specialty Bar Associations’ Local Bar Leader of the Year Award that honors a bar leader who “offers important service to the bench, bar, and public.” Hankins was a prosecutor for over six years with the Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, where she advocated for help for defendants suffering from mental health issues.

She has moderated and organized numerous panels, roundtables, and presentations to the benefit of her bar, alma maters, and community.

The Lynchburg Bar Association (LBA) has been named the Bar Association of the Year. The LBA, founded in 1915, carries out community outreach efforts and strives to promote the relationships between citizens and the law.

The LBA’s annually elected leadership includes: Eugene N. Butler, president; Peter Davies of Davies & Davies, president-elect; Sarah W. Bell of Woods Rogers, secretary; Grady W. Donaldson of Schenkel & Donaldson, treasurer; Jordan Davies, immediate past president.

A number of other bar associations received awards from the VSB’s Conference of Local and Specialty Bar Associations. The 2020 Awards of Merit were judged by George W. Shanks, past president, Virginia State Bar; Peter D. Vieth, Virginia Lawyers Weekly; and Dean Wendy S. Perdue, University of Richmond. The awards recognize projects that serve the bench, the bar, and the people of Virginia.

The CLSBA has a CLE for lawyers trying to work through these unprecedented times. Interested lawyers, please consider: Feeling the Fear & Doing It Anyway: Wellness for Solo & Small-Firm Practitioners in Times of Tumult (1.0).

Updated: Jul 01, 2020