Virginia State Bar

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Real Property

A Section of the Virginia State Bar.

Meeting Minutes - January 31, 2003

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

Williamsburg, Virginia

The winter meeting of the Board of Governors of the Real Property Section of the Virginia State Bar was held on Friday, January 31, 2003, at 12:00 in Room 124 of the Marshall-Wythe School of Law, College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

The following persons were in attendance: Paula S. Caplinger, Lee Hickok, Eric Zimmerman, Steve Romine, Grice McMullan, Jay Steele, Neil Kessler, John David Epperly, Doug Dewing, Jean Mumm, Lisa Murphy, Karen Davis, Lynda Butler, Paul Bellegarde, Neil Title and Chris Dillon. Steve Romine, Chair, conducted the meeting. Paula Caplinger, Vice-Chair, kept the minutes.

Mr. Romine called the meeting to order at 12:15. (See official Agenda below.) Attendees introduced themselves and Mr. Romine requested anyone having corrections to the Section roster please forward those to him.

Mr. Romine presented the minutes of the September 28, 2002 meeting of the Real Property Section. Mr. Romine noted a correction needed in the September minutes. The Section dues were increased at the June 2002 meeting, not the September meeting. The minutes should be corrected to reflect that the motion for the dues increase occurred and was unanimously approved in June, not September. Upon motion duly made and seconded, the minutes, as corrected, were unanimously approved by those who attended the September 28, 2002 meeting. Those not in attendance at the September meeting abstained.

In Randy Howard's absence, Mr. Romine gave the membership report. As of January 1, 2003, the total membership of the Real Property Section is 1,869, of which 1,838 are active or associate members of the Virginia State Bar. The Section remains number two as to active or associate members and number three as to total membership.

Mr. Romine gave the financial report. He reported a present balance of $26,462.35. A discussion followed regarding the principal activities of the Section and the consensus of the group was that we should use our funds for educational seminars and the Fee Simple, rather than allowing a budget surplus to occur. Any surplus funds in the budget are returned to the State Bar general fund at the end of the fiscal year. Last year we returned over five thousand dollars to the State Bar. Mr. Romine urged all Section members to submit mileage expenses. He is presently constructing the Section's 2004 budget, and would welcome any ideas on expense matters. He suggested we need to plan proactively for expenses, rather than simply reacting to expenses.

In order to better "track" all of the Section's expenses and plan appropriately, Mr. Romine suggested giving the Section Secretary the added function of serving as Section Treasurer. The expanded position would allow the Secretary/ Treasurer to monitor the Section's available funds and obtain a full report prior to each meeting as to how any funds had been spent. Upon motion of Eric Zimmerman, which was seconded by Grice McMullan, the group unanimously approved expanding the Secretary's position to include the function of treasurer. Mr. McElwain, the current Section Secretary will be responsible for obtaining a financial report prior to the April meeting for presentation at that meeting. Mr. Romine noted that the Section Chair would continue to approve all expenses.

Next, Lee Hickok, from Virginia CLE, gave a status report on the Section's upcoming seminars. The Land Use Seminar is coming up soon. Virginia CLE offers this seminar in conjunction with the Environmental and Land Use subcommittee. The 21st annual real estate seminar is finalized and will be held in four locations throughout the State in May. The 7th Annual Advanced Real Estate Seminar is "coming together." It will be held April 4 and 5 at Virginia Crossings in Glen Allen, Virginia. The group discussed the difficulty of planning seminars and finding quality speakers. Steve Romine anticipates his proposed subcommittee restructuring will spur involvement in seminar planning. The Section Vice-Chair should chair the new "programs" subcommittee with active participation by other subcommittee members (especially those real estate practitioners involved in ACREL). Having more members as a resource should simplify the seminar planning process.

Lee Hickok offered that if the Section wanted to plan any seminars, other than the three we currently offer, that he would be available to assist. Telephonic seminars are becoming more popular. Also, if anyone is interested in speaking at a seminar, please notify Lee or the Program Subcommittee Chair. If anyone is interested in signing up to monitor a video presentation (taped from a live seminar) please notify Lee. The volunteer-monitor would receive "free" continuing legal education credits. This would also provide an opportunity for the Section to pass out copies of the Fee Simple to prospective Section members. Lee Hickok will send out an e-mail soliciting the Section membership for volunteer-monitors prior to video replays of seminars.

Jean Mumm reported that the annual summer program held in conjunction with the Virginia State Bar meeting in Virginia Beach, Virginia is "on track." The program will be held on June 20, 2003 and the topic is "mold." Jean presently has the speakers lined up and is awaiting word from the Virginia State Bar as to the exact program time slot the Section will be given.

Paula Caplinger reported that the 21st Annual Seminar is finalized. The program will be held May 6 in Fairfax, May 7 in Norfolk, May 14 in Richmond and May 15 in Roanoke. All the speakers and topics have been arranged. Please sign up for the seminar and support the Section in this effort. Pamphlets advertising the seminar have been mailed and a subsequent mailing (closer to the seminar dates) will also occur.

Mr. Romine revisited the topic of "qualifications" of individuals that desire to serve as area representatives of the Section. Mr. Romine will contact Christina Meier, who had agreed at the September meeting to prepare written guidelines for those individuals desiring to serve as area representatives. Paula Caplinger advised that the Section had prepared such guidelines a few years ago. Mr. Romine will contact Larry McElwain and ask Mr. McElwain to review the Section's minutes and by-laws and report at the next meeting with regard to what guidelines the Section currently has in place for area representatives. The group agreed the Section must encourage involvement by real estate practitioners, rather than discourage involvement by setting up arbitrary attendance policies or other stringent guidelines. A discussion ensued regarding how our meetings could be more "user friendly." Most attendees felt the meetings might garner more attendees if held on Friday and if food were served.

Upon motion duly made and seconded, Debbie Merz of the law firm of Shaheen and Shaheen was nominated as a new area representative for the Tidewater area. Ms. Merz was unanimously approved as an area representative. Mr. Romine will send her a welcome letter.

Mr. Romine offered the Section Chair's Report. In order to encourage member participation and allow members to focus on special areas of practice expertise, Mr. Romine suggested a revision of the Section subcommittee structure. Under the proposal, the Section would have ten subcommittees. Four of those subcommittees would be standing subcommittees. They would be: Technology, Membership, Fee Simple Newsletter and Programs. Six of the subcommittees would be substantive subcommittees. The six substantive subcommittees would be: Residential Real Estate, Commercial Real Estate, Creditor's Rights and Bankruptcy, Land Use and Environmental, Title Insurance and Ethics. Upon motion of Eric Zimmerman, seconded by Paul Bellegarde and unanimously approved by the group, Mr. Romine was requested to review the By-laws of the Section to determine what amendments are required to revamp the Section subcommittee structure and to report back at the April meeting to the group so that this proposal may be implemented. Mr. Romine will begin to contact individuals to chair the new subcommittees and anyone with an interest in chairing or serving on a specific subcommittee should contact Mr. Romine.

Mr. Romine indicated that the Virginia Bar Association has made overtures to our Section and would like to work cooperatively with our Section. The VBA Real Estate Section could assist in providing articles for the Fee Simple or speakers for educational programs. They also have solicited our input on real estate related legislation. Mr. Romine suggested a joint committee that could be formed to work with the VBA to determine how we might work cooperatively. Grice McMullan and Paul Bellegarde volunteered to serve on this committee with Mr. Romine and members of the VBA.

As part of the Newsletter subcommittee report, Lynda Butler advised that deadline for the upcoming issue of the Fee Simple is late April. Several attendees suggested articles for the next issue and Mr. Romine volunteered to send out a mass e-mail to all board members and area representatives to solicit articles. Doug Dewing advised, on behalf of the Information and Technology subcommittee, that he has several technology initiatives and reports that he is presently reviewing.

There were no other subcommittee reports.

There were no Liaison reports from the Old Dominion Bar Association or Bar Counsel.

There was no old business discussed.

Under new business, Neil Kessler advised that the Real Estate Transactions in Virginia manual is being reviewed and supplemented. If you authored a chapter for the manual, Virginia CLE will contact you to review and supplement the chapter. Keeping our resources current is important and the Section is grateful for those members that undertake this vital task.

The meeting adjourned by motion duly made and seconded at 2:45 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Paula S. Caplinger Vice-Chair


January 17, 2003
Marshall Wythe School of Law, Room 124
College of William and Mary
Williamsburg, Virginia

1. Welcome

2. Approval of minutes from the September 28, 2002 meeting - McElwain

3. Financial Report - Romine

4. Area Representatives - Appointments/Resignations - Romine

5. Annual CLE Seminars

A. 21st Annual Real Estate Practice Seminar - Caplinger
B. 7th Annual Advanced Real Estate Seminar (April 4 & 5 - Richmond Crossings) - McElwain
C. Annual Summer CLE - Mumm

6. Chair's Report - Discussion of Committee Reorganization

7. Subcommittee Reports

A. Bankruptcy - Wood
B. Current Developments and Legislation - Trigiani
C. Environmental and Land Use - Blaine
D. Ethics - Pesner
E. First Day in Practice - Waugaman
F. Housing - Chess
G. Information & Technology - Dewing
H. Leases - Steele
I. Membership - Howard
J. Newsletter - the Fee Simple - Butler
K. Small Firm and Sole Practitioner - Tanner
L. Title Insurance - Waugaman
M. VBA Forms - Richmond

8. Liaison Reports

Bar Counsel- King
Old Dominion Bar Association - Holmes

9. Old Business

10. New Business

11. Adjourn