Virginia State Bar

An agency of the Supreme Court of Virginia

Adjust Text Size:   A   A

Family Law

A Section of the Virginia State Bar.



We extend an open invitation to not only join the section but also to consider how you may serve the profession by getting involved with the sub-committees within the Family Law Section. A brief description of each committee follows.

Awards and Nominations Committee
Committee Chair: Larry Vance
Member:  Susan Butler

This Committee is chaired by the immediate Past Chair of the Section and 3 nonboard members and one current board member.

Every year, the Family Law Section Board of Governors presents the highly esteemed Betty A. Thompson Lifetime Achievement Award to a section member; additionally, the Board of Governors has the discretion to annually present a Service Award to an individual or an organization. The Awards Committee oversees the awards process and recommends candidates to the Board of Governors for vote at the February meeting.

Communications Committee
Committee Chair: Judge Ricky Wallerstein
Members:  Steve Raynor, Brian Jones, Michelle Jones

This Committee shall have three members.

This committee advances the Section's goals and objectives by providing appropriate and relevant information to the public and section members outside of the Family Law Quarterly. This is done by: i) production and review of well researched, well written, and easily understandable booklets available on the Section website in PDF format; ii) maintaining and improving the Family Law Section website; and, iii) promoting family law and this Section's goals and objectives statewide though local bar associations.

CLE Committee
Committee Co-Chairs: Melanie Peters, Richard Orsino
Members: Besianne Maiden, Bob Henley

This Committee is comprised of all of the most recently elected members to the board. The immediate members of this committee are tasked with being a resource for the new Committee to insure continuity and quality of the Section’s CLE presentation.

This committee works hard all year round to produce high quality continuing legal education seminars throughout the Commonwealth. The CLEs sponsored by this Section attract high profile speakers and are some of the most well attended around the state. This committee is responsible for the Advanced Family Law Seminar in April, the Annual Meeting proposal and Seminar, and the Fall Regional Family Law Seminars in the calendar year immediately after their election to the Board.

Courts Committee
Members: Judge Wes Russell, Judge Ricky Wallerstein, Judge Debbie Bryan

This committee is comprised of the ex-officio judicial members from the Court of Appeals, Circuit Court, and Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

The members of this committee are the liaison between the Board and each of the Courts where family is primarily practiced and provide information on current trends and programs affecting those Courts.

Current Issues Committee
Committee Chair: Brian Hirsch
Member: Steve Raynor

This committee is chaired by the current liaison to the Family Law Coalition and other members as assigned.

This committee keeps the Board apprised of recent trends in family law and court opinions that significantly impact family law in Virginia. This committee further keeps the Board apprised of recent trends law and court opinions relating to children, such as family breakdown, abuse and neglect, troubled youth, and special needs. As part of the responsibility of this committee to monitor and promote innovations in alternative dispute resolution apart from litigation in solving family legal matters, which include but are not limited to negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and Collaborative Law.

Law School Committee
Committee Chair: Lynn Kohm

This committee is chaired by the Board Law School Liaison.

This committee serves as an intermediary between the Family Law Section and Virginia law schools to better serve section members, students, the general public, and the legal profession. The committee solicits students for the Legal Research Guild and coordinates research projects. This committee presents the Annual Family Law Award for the Outstanding Graduate at each of the law schools in Virginia.

Planning and Membership Committee
Committee Chair: Susan Butler
Member: Bob Henley

This Committee is chaired by the current Vice-Chair of the Section and other members as tasked.

This committee is responsible for increasing the number of members and ensuring the retention of current members by providing recommendations to the Board regarding recruitment and retention actions that the Family Law Section should engage in. Additionally, this committee is responsible for creation and submission of the Section’s five year plan in the fourth year of the existing plan.


Publications Committee
Committee Chair: Brian Hirsch
Spare the Child Subcommittee: Lynne Kohm

The Virginia Family Law Quarterly is one of our most widely read and well known tools and is produced every quarter by this committee which solicits, compiles and edits good and useful articles to compose an excellent newsletter for practical and informative instruction, guidance and insight for our section members.

Website Committee
Committee Chair:  Steve Raynor

The website committee is responsible for maintaining, updating and improving the Section’s website. The website is one of the primary ways in which the Section communicates with and makes information available to section members, Virginia family law attorneys, and members of the public interested in family law issues.

The website contains section news and a calendar of upcoming events, family law court forms, and other information of interest to practitioners and members of the public. The Virginia Family Law Quarterly is available to Section Members.

Section Members please contact Dolly Shaffner at or (804) 775-0518 for password to access the Virginia Family Law Quarterly.