Virginia State Bar

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Real Property

A Section of the Virginia State Bar.

Meeting Minutes - January 20, 2012

Minutes of the Virginia State Bar
Real Property Section
Board of Governors

Williamsburg, Virginia

Pursuant to due notice, the "Winter Meeting" of the Virginia State Bar Real Property Section Board of Governors and Area Representatives convened at 2:10 p.m. on January 20, 2012, in the Rockefeller Room of the Williamsburg Inn, Williamsburg, Virginia. Section Chair Paul Melnick presided and Secretary/Treasurer Bill Nusbaum recorded the minutes. Also present in person were Christina Meier, Brian Dolan, Ken Dickinson, Eric Zimmerman, Steve Wood, Paula S. Caplinger, Harry Purkey, Amanda Smith, Ed Waugaman, Rick Richmond, Mark W. Graybeal, Susan Pesner, Whitney Levin, Howard E. Gordon, Larry J. McElwain, David Helscher and Dean Lynda Butler. Attending by conference call were Paul Bellegarde, Ron Wylie, Mark Williamson, Pam Fairchild, Kay Creaseman, Douglass Dewing, Todd Condren, Cooper Youell, Susan Walker and Neil Kessler. Randy Howard was noted as an excused absence. Jack Hanssen also attended, initially as a guest.

I. Welcome. Chair Paul Melnick welcomed everyone to the Winter Meeting, and encouraged everyone to enjoy the late lunch spread at the rear of the room. There were no comments from Area Representatives.

II. Deferral of Approval of Minutes. Due to confusion on the Secretary/Treasurer's part, copies of the minutes of the September 9, 2011 "Fall Meeting" of the Board of Governors and Area Representatives and a November 29, 2011 telephone conference call of the Board of Governors were not present, and so the approval of those minutes was deferred until the "Spring Meeting." Minutes of both of those previous meetings, along with these minutes, are to be distributed bye-mail prior to the Spring Meeting.

III. Financial Report. Chair Melnick distributed the Section's December 31, 2011 income statement (attached as Exhibit 1) and reviewed it, along with expenditures incurred after the income statement's cutoff date, and advised that at this point, the current FY Income Statement was in good shape.

IV. New Area Representatives. The Chair recognized Eric Zimmerman, who introduced Jack Hanssen to the meeting, and then moved his election as an Area Representative from the Northern Virginia region, Larry McElwain seconded the motion, and it was unanimously adopted. The Chair welcomed him, and promised to communicate with him after the meeting about his committee assignment.

V. Seminars. The Chair asked for reports on the Section's three CLE programs.

(a) Advanced. Program Chair Larry McElwain reported that the program for the Advanced Real Estate Seminar in Kingsmill on March 2-3 was set, and that a onetime, $20 discount was available to Section members who signed up on line.

(b) Annual. Program Chair Larry McElwain reported that the program for the multisite Annual Seminar was also set, and that both a one-time, $20 discount was available for Section members who registered on line (if they didn't use it for the Advanced Real Estate Seminar) and a $15 credit being offered to Section members by Virginia CLE.

(c) Summer Annual Meeting CLE. Secretary/Treasurer Nusbaum reported the CLE program would be jointly hosted with the Taxation Section at our usual location and time, focusing on tax issues in real estate transactions, with the speakers to be determined shortly.

VI. Unfinished Business.

(a) Board and Area Representative Handbook. The Chair recognized Membership Chair Larry McElwain, who explained that the Handbook would be updated each summer and then distributed. The Chair asked that when the Handbook is updated, it include the new Honorary Area Representative category.

(b) Area Representative Letter Survey Responses. The Chair thanked Membership Chair McElwain for his extensive work in surveying the Area Representatives, citing the need to build on the great recruitment work by former Chair Joe Cochran. Due to the extensive and thoughtful comments in the survey, the Chair indicated the Board would hold a telephone meeting within the next few weeks to review comments and recommend a path forward, reporting to the Spring Meeting at Kingsmill. Larry McElwain noted briefly that impressively, more than 70% of the Area Representatives responded, and that the Membership Committee's goal is to propose an effective reorganization and re-energizing of the Section's committees.

(c) Purchase of Virginia CLE Materials. This matter was tabled until the final report of the Area Representatives study establishes how many persons will be offered the opportunity to buy Virginia CLE materials with a Section credit.

(d) Items from the Floor - The Courtland Traver Award. The Chair recognized Larry McElwain, who explained that the Courtland Traver Award is, oddly enough, a Virginia Bar Association award which has traditionally been given at our Section's Spring Meeting dinner at Kingsmill. The award, Mr. McElwain noted, serves to stimulate participation in the Section, to which Ed Waugaman added that its original purpose was to recognize extraordinary CLE work, since CLE speakers never get paid for their efforts. Mr. McElwain advised that last year, when the VBA declined to fund the $500 scholarship to the Advanced Real Estate Seminar, Virginia CLE stepped up and underwrote the entire scholarship, but this year, Virginia CLE will only be able to "comp" the tuition for the seminar, and the editorial work involved in producing the publication. Dean Butler advised that while she would be reducing her level of involvement, she would still be willing to supervise the Student Editorial Assistant. This work would commence with the Spring issue, and would not include cite checking, which remains the sole responsibility of the authors. The Chair indicated that a conference call among the Section officers and the Co-Editors would be held immediately after the meeting, in which the recommendation would be firmed up. The Board approved by consensus the submission of a budget amendment to the State Bar to authorize the payment of $15.00 per hour, capped at $1,200.00, to a Student Editorial Assistant for the Spring issue, if that was the recommendation of the conference call following the meeting.

(e) Items from the Floor. - None.

(f) Standing Committee Reports.

i. Membership. Larry McElwain had no report in addition to the discussions above.

ii. The Fee Simple. Dean Butler had no report in addition to the discussions above.

iii. Technology. Doug Dewing reported that unlimited smart phone data plans were history.

iv. Programs. Larry McElwain had no report in addition to the discussions above

v. Law School Liaison. Paul Bellegarde advised that the UVA presentation on "Real Estate Law Practice" by Larry McElwain, Chip Royer and himself was very successful, and that he was lining up dates for similar programs at George Mason and William & Mary Law Schools. Larry McElwain suggested the program could perhaps be expanded to include the First Day of Practice program. David Helscher offered to help organize a Washington & Lee Law School program.

(g) Substantive Committee Reports.

i. Common Interest Communities. David Helscher suggested there is a need for the Section to establish a committee focused on issues arising from homeowner associations and common interest communities, and volunteered to chair such a committee. After a brief discussion, it was moved by David Helscher, seconded by Eric Zimmennan and unanimously agreed to create a Common Interest Communities Committee. Chair Melnick promptly asked Mr. Helscher to write an article on the new committee for the Fee Simple, to which he agreed.

ii. Ethics. Susan Pesner discussed the continuing confusion over whether non-lawyers can represent sellers. She will have the Ethics Committee work with the State Bar's ethics counsel on the issue, with the goal of producing an informal opinion identifying the services for which a non lawyer settlement agent can collect a fee.

VIII. Good and Welfare; Next Meeting.

(a) Brokerage Agreements. Paul Bellegarde mentioned that due to a new Virginia law, all brokerage agreements, including those for leasing, must be in writing. This will apply to both Commercial and residential brokerage agreements, effective July 1, 2012.

(b) Thank you! Chair Melnick expressed the Section's deep appreciation to Dean Lynda Butler for her 25 years of service as an editor of The Fee Simple, and led those present in a rousing round of applause for her.

(c) Next Meeting. Chair Melnick reminded everyone that the Board of Governors and Area Representatives would next convene in person at Kingsmill on Friday, March 2, 2012, at 10 a.m., prior to the Advanced Real Estate Seminar. He added that tile Board of Governors should plan 011 a conference call meeting between now and the Kingsmill meeting to develop recommendations based on the Membership Committee's Area Representatives survey and report, so that the recommendations may be acted on at the Kingsmill meeting.

There being no further business, the Chair adjourned the meeting at 3:25 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

William L. Nusbaum

Paul Melnick, Chair

1 December 31, 2011 Real Property Section Income Statement (.pdf)
2 Proposed FY 2013 Real Property Section Budget (.pdf)

Meeting Minutes (.pdf) - January 20, 2012