News and Information
October 02, 2018

Virginia State Bar Newsletter October 2018

The following went out as part of a monthly news summary email to all VSB members and associates on October 2. To make sure you are receiving the VSB emails, update your contact information in the member portal and add to the account’s address book.


Supreme Court of Virginia Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons issued a statement on September 5 regarding the reformed rules of criminal discovery.

On September 14, the Court amended Rule 1A:1 regarding admission to practice law in the commonwealth without examination.

The Court announced the appointment of Douglas B. Robelen as the clerk of the court, effective February 1, 2019. 

The Supreme Court of Virginia seeks comments on proposed rule changes regarding the transfer of jurisdiction during the appeal of a final judgment and regarding notices of appeal. 

The Virginia State Bar seeks comments on the proposals made by its Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee regarding its policies and procedures – as well as proposed statutory amendments.

Professional Regulation

Recent disciplinary actions:

  • Dana Lauren Tapper, license revoked effective Sept. 13, 2018
  • Patrick Richard Blasz, license revoked effective Sept. 27, 2018
  • Sonya Borgaonkar Costanzo, license revoked effective Sept. 27, 2018
  • Bryan James Waldron, license revoked effective Sept. 28, 2018
  • Peter M. Baskin, license suspended effective Sept. 1, 2018
  • John William Tripp, license suspended effective Sept. 12, 2018
  • Travis Joseph Tisinger, license suspended effective Sept. 19, 2018
  • Brian Kraig Telfair, license suspended effective Sept. 28, 2018

The Disciplinary Board is accepting comments on Steven Frank Helm’s petition for reinstatement of his license to practice law. The deadline for comment is November 9.

After 25 years of service, Bar Counsel Ned Davis is set to retire at the end of December. The bar is accepting applications for his position until October 19.

The Clients’ Protection Fund reimbursed Virginians over $100,000 for losses caused by lawyer misconduct last fiscal year. 

Join the disciplinary system. The Standing Committee on Lawyer Discipline seeks applicants to vacancies in disciplinary district committees, which handle local complaints and investigations into lawyer misconduct.


By October 31, 2018, you must have completed 12 CLE hours, including 2 hours in ethics and 4 hours live. Click here to check your record. Apply for any non-approved course you have attended using the Attorney Individual Application. More MCLE information available here.

Did you know? Professional entities formed for the sole and specific purpose of rendering the service of the practice of law in Virginia must comply with the requirements of Paragraph 14 of Part 6, § IV of the Rules of Court, which include registering those entities with the Virginia State Bar.

This hurricane season, the VSB encourages lawyers to take a moment to make sure that legal records and documents are stored in areas least likely to be damaged by high water. More disaster planning tips online


“The personal health and wellness of legal professionals are inseparable from the duty of such professionals to provide competent services to the public and ensure its protection.” On September 19, the Supreme Court of Virginia Committee on Lawyer Well-being released a report on lawyer wellness in Virginia.

Dedicated to raising awareness and screening people for depression and related mood and anxiety disorders, October 11 is National Depression Screening Day. Individuals can locate a mental health screening site or take an online screening by visiting

Pro Bono

The Young Lawyers Conference is coordinating emergency legal services this hurricane season and encourages lawyers to sign up for Virginia Free Legal Answers, which temporarily expands eligibility to those affected by natural disasters, and the VSB’s emergency legal services hotline.

Last Call to Register: Eve Runyon, President and CEO of the Pro Bono Institute, will be the keynote speaker at the Special Committee on Access to Legal Services’ annual Pro Bono Conference and Celebration on Wednesday, October 17. Includes 4 hours of CLE (pending).

Awards & Events

Attend the First Annual Forum on Diversity in the Legal Profession, hosted by the Diversity Conference, on November 9 at the University of Richmond School of Law. The program is FREE to all VSB members and will feature Judges Dana and Keith Cutler of Couples Court with the Cutlers, an Emmy-nominated daytime television show and the first to feature a married couple presiding over a television courtroom.

Trying to get some last-minute CLE/Ethics credits before the October 31 deadline? Register now for the FREE Solo & Small-Firm Practitioner Forum at the Wytheville Meeting Center on Thursday, October 18. CLE and Ethics credits offered.

Know of a leader in the law? The Criminal Law Section is seeking entries for the Harry L. Carrico Professionalism Award, and the Section on the Education of Lawyers requests nominations for the William R. Rakes Leadership in Education Award.

Save the dates! The annual Criminal Law Seminar will be held on February 1 in Charlottesville and February 8 in Williamsburg.

Updated: Oct 02, 2018