News and Information
June 21, 2016

Comments Sought on Proposed Amendments to Professionalism Course Rule

The amendments authorize the Virginia State Bar executive director to grant, for good cause, an extension request from a member who fails to complete the Professionalism Course by the deadline. Requests for extension often come from lawyers who have scheduled the course for the end of the year and, for unforeseen reasons, are unable to take it.  Currently, the members are suspended until they complete the course, unless they obtain a waiver from the Executive Committee, which must hold an emergency meeting to consider the request. The amendments would grant the executive director the authority to consider requests for extension, subject to the limitations set forth in the rule as outlined.

Comments in support of or in opposition to the proposed amendments should be sent to Virginia State Bar Executive Director Karen A. Gould by September 1, 2016. Comments may be submitted via e-mail to

The Executive Committee unanimously approved the proposed revision to the Professionalism Course Rule, as follows:

13.1 Suspension for Failure to Complete Professionalism Course—

Each person admitted to the Virginia State Bar on or after July 1, 1988, as an active member shall complete the course of study prescribed by the Executive Committee of the Virginia State Bar and approved by the Supreme Court of Virginia on the Rules of Professional Conduct and the lawyer’s broader professional obligations, and any active member who fails to complete the course shall be suspended unless an waiverextension is obtained for good cause shown. Such course of study shall be funded by attendance fees paid by those attending the course.

Any active member licensed after June 30, 1988, and any other member who changes his or her membership to active status shall complete the required course within twelve months of becoming an active member. Failure to comply with this Rule shall subject the active member to the penalties set forth in Paragraph 19 herein.

“Good cause shown” as used herein shall include illness, hospitalization or such other cause as may be determined by the Executive Committee, whose determination shall be final. The Executive Director of the Virginia State Bar is authorized to grant extensions for compliance with this paragraph until the next Executive Committee meeting. Any determination by the Executive Committee or the Executive Director may be reviewed by the Supreme Court on request of the member seeking an waiverextension.

Updated: Jun 21, 2016