News and Information
September 29, 2022

VSB Seeks Comments on Proposed Amendments to Supreme Court Rules Regarding Clarification of “Shall”

The Virginia State Bar is seeking public comment on proposed amendments to the Rules of Supreme Court of Virginia, Part 6, Section IV, Paragraph 13 (“Paragraph 13”) regarding the clarification of the term “shall,” which appears 482 times in Paragraph 13.    

In an August 16, 2018, Memorandum to the Boyd-Graves Conference, the Committee on Using “Shall” in Legislative Drafting concluded that “shall is susceptible to significant ambiguity and the better practice in legislative drafting would be to eliminate shall altogether and to use the more precise term intended – such as must, may, will, should, is, or is entitled to.” 

In November 2020, the Supreme Court of Virginia amended the Rules of Supreme Court of Virginia, Parts 1-5A and 7-11, to clarify the meaning of “shall.” 

The Committee on Lawyer Discipline (“COLD”) has approved amendments to Paragraph 13 that eliminate the word “shall.”  During this process, COLD identified certain changes that either are substantive or could be perceived as substantive.


Inspection and Comment 

The proposed amendments may be inspected on our website or at the office of the Virginia State Bar, 1111 East Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, Virginia 23219-0060, between the hours of 9:00 am and 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.

Any individual, business, or other entity may submit written comments in support of or in opposition to the proposed opinion to Cameron Rountree, executive director of the Virginia State Bar, not later than December 1, 2022. Comments may be submitted via email to

Updated: Sep 29, 2022