Virginia State Bar

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Real Property

A Section of the Virginia State Bar.

Meeting Minutes - March 7, 2014

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

Williamsburg, Virginia

Pursuant to due notice, the Spring meeting of the Virginia State Bar ("VSB") Real Property Section Board of Governors and Area Representatives convened at 10:30 a.m., Friday, March 7, 2014, in the Kingsmill Resort Grand Ballroom, Williamsburg, Virginia. Section Chair, William L. Nusbaum, presided, and Secretary/Treasurer, Susan Walker, recorded the minutes. Also present in person were Vice Chair Cooper Youell, Ken Dickinson, Whitney Jackson Levin, Randy Howard, Ron Wiley, Howard Gordon, Philip Hart, Larry McElwain, Page Williams, Susan Pesner, Mark Graybeal, Paula Caplinger, Ed Waugaman, David Helscher, Kay Creasman, Doug Dewing, Jean Mumm, Steve Gregory, Paul Bellegarde, Ray W. King, Harry Purkey, Lawrence Daughtrey, Naveed Kalantar, Michael Barney, Rosalie Doggett, Mark N. Reed, Susan Siegfried, Rich Chess, Jordan Samuel, F. Lewis Biggs, and Grice McMullen. Participating by teleconference were Dianne Boyle, Steve Romine, Mark Williamson, and Eric Zimmerman.

I. Welcome. The Chair called the meeting to order, welcomed everyone, and asked each participant to introduce him/herself. A quorum was present.

II. Approval of Minutes. The Chair presented the minutes of the Winter Meeting of the Section held on January 24,2014, and asked for any corrections, modifications or comments. The Secretary/Treasurer moved for the minutes to be adopted as drafted, and Ms. Pesner seconded the motion. The minutes were unanimously approved, and copies of the approved minutes are filed in the Minute Book.

III. Financial Report and Budget Approval.

A. The Chair presented the Section's January, 2014 financial report, a copy of which is attached to these Minutes. Year to date revenue is $875.00 less than last year, perhaps due to lower membership numbers. Year to date expenditures of $5,225.96 leave the Section with approximately $36,000.00 for the remainder of the year's expenditures. The Chair noted that most expenses occur in the latter part of the year, due to travel expenses to and from meetings and meals in conjunction with such meetings. The Chair observed that the cost of the Fall Fee Simple was $1,000.00 higher than the Spring edition for reasons not readily apparent. There being no comments from Board Members or Area Representatives regarding the financial report, upon motion made by Mr. McElwain and seconded by Mr. King, the financial statement was unanimously accepted.

B. The Chair also presented the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2014-2015. Projected Section dues of $45,025.00 are based upon the Bar's projection of 1801 members, 43 fewer than last year. The Section's budget is based upon 80% of the dues, or $36,020.00. Changes in the budget from the prior year include: i) $500.00 increase in travel and subsistence to account for the luncheon served at the Winter meeting; ii) slightly lower printing cost for The Fee Simple resulting from electronic delivery; iii) decreased cost of the annual meeting seminar, perhaps due to our participation in the Showcase CLE seminar; iv) the addition of $2,000.00 for Membership Committee Initiatives; and v) a reduction in website development efforts. The Chair then recognized Mr. Hart, co-chairman of the Membership Committee, to elaborate upon the Membership Committee Initiatives. Mr. Hart explained that one initiative of the Membership Committee is to provide eight tuition scholarships to law students to attend the Annual Real Estate Practice seminar, with the goal of encouraging these students to join the Section once they become members of the Bar. Eventually, each of the eight law schools in the state will be offered one such scholarship to award to a worthy student. The initiative will apply to the 2015 Annual Real Estate Practice seminar. After comments and discussion regarding the Membership Committee Initiatives, Mr. King moved for approval of the budget, and Mr. Hart seconded the motion. The budget was unanimously approved, and a copy was filed in the Minute Book along with the Financial Report.

IV. New Area Representatives. Naveed Kalantar, who had been elected in absentia as a new Area Representative at the Winter Meeting, introduced himself. No new Area Representatives were elected.

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

a. Advanced Seminar. Ms. Kern reported that there are 145 registrants for the Advanced Real Estate Seminar beginning at 1:00 p.m. today. Many of the registrants are not section members, so it is unclear whether the increased attendance over prior years can be attributed to the tuition credit.

b. Annual Real Estate Practice Seminar. The program for the Annual Seminar will include a legislative update (Pia Trigiani and David Mercer), case law update (Otto Konrad), ALTA best practice (Kevin Pagoda), transfer on death act (James Cox and Doug Dewing), 2014 ALTA commercial endorsements (Bob Bozart), and title policy coverages (Lisa Tully). The seminar will take place on May 13th at Washington & Lee, May 14th in Williamsburg and May 20th at the Waterford in Fairfax.

c. Annual Meeting Program. The Secretary/Treasurer reported that the Section is participating with the Business, Construction Law, Local Government and Environmental Law sections to present a "Showcase" seminar on public-private partnerships, focusing on the Elizabeth River Crossing project. It was emphasized that the seminar will take place at 9:00 a.m. Friday, June 13, 2014, at the 31st Street Hilton in Virginia Beach, rather than at the time and location of prior year annual meetings. The Chair announced that the Section's business meeting will take place thirty minutes after the seminar at the Oceanaire Resort Hotel, three blocks north of the Hilton, a half hour after the seminar, and lunch will be served.

d. The Fee Simple. The chair recognized the editor, Mr. Gregory, who reminded that the deadline for article submission is April 11th Articles will include Pia Trigiani's review of the legislative session and a review of recent case law. Mr. Gregory related that he had proposed in the editor's letter a "round table discussion" topic inviting responses, but there had been none. He asked for input as to whether to abandon the round table effort. Mr. Helscher supported continuing it. The Chair observed that the lack of response might stem from the difficulty of sustaining a discussion over a six month period between issues, and it might work better to hand pick two or three people who would agree to address the suggested discussion topic.

VI. Unfinished Business.

a. Budget Surplus. Ms. Kern reported that quite a few Section members have taken advantage of the tuition subsidy for the CLE programs so far. Any funds on credit with VACLE not consumed this year will roll over to next year.

b. Items from the Floor - None.

VII. New Business.

a. Committee Reports.

i. Standing Committees.

A. Fee Simple. Mr. Gregory, having reported earlier on The Fee Simple, added nothing further.

B. Membership. Co-chair of the Membership Committee, Mr. Hart, gave an oral report. In addition to the two membership initiatives already discussed in the meeting, the Committee intends to involve the Section in the First Day of Practice seminar and to write letters to non-renewing members to encourage them to rejoin the Section. A discussion ensued regarding outreach to law students. Mr. Wiley asked whether the seminar tuition scholarships to law schools could be offered now rather than the next fiscal year. The Chair stated, that while the tuition scholarships were not an item in this year's budget, the scholarships closely enough resemble the CLE discounts that specific Bar Council approval might not be required, so if implemented this year, the scholarships might have to be paid from the credit at VACLE. Ms. Creasman cautioned that May, when the annual seminar takes place, is near exam time at the law schools, making law student attendance difficult. Mr. McElwain suggested offering the tuition scholarships for the advanced seminar instead, due to better timing and broader content of the seminar. The Chair observed that the $250.00 tuition scholarship would not cover the entire cost of the Advanced Seminar and expressed concern that the content might be too advanced for law students. Concluding the discussion committee co-chair Mr. McElwain stated that the matter requires further committee level discussion, and so enacting the tuition scholarships this year is too soon.

C. Programs. Mr. McElwain having already reported upon the seminars, had no additional report. Ms. Pesner thanked Mr. McElwain for his work on the Advance Seminar, gaining its highest ever level of attendance.

D. Technology. The Chair renewed the request for someone to chair the technology committee, Mr. Dewing having requested and been granted relief from this duty. Mr. Dewing suggested that a round table format might be effective for the technology committee.

E. Substantive Committees. Since written reports were submitted prior to the recent Winter meeting, the Chair did not require written committee reports at this meeting. One substantive committee, the Land Use and Environmental Committee, had met by teleconference on February 28, 2014, and Chair Stephen Romine submitted a report which was circulated prior to the meeting. No other committees reported at the meeting.

b. Items from the Floor - None.

VIII. Chair's Comments. The Chair opened a brief discussion in follow up of the discussion at the Winter meeting concerning how to advise same sex couples on titling of real estate. The Chair reported that a recent federal district court case ruled that the 2007 Virginia constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman is unconstitutional. This ruling is on appeal to the Fourth Circuit and therefore stayed pending the appeal, which will not be argued until the Fall. Mr. Waugaman pointed out that at present same sex couples can file their federal income tax returns as married, but not their Virginia state tax returns. The Chair opined that for now, real property still will have to be held as joint tenants with the right of survivorship. Mr. Waugaman stated that, if the district court ruling is upheld making the marriage amendment unconstitutional, the legislature will have to revise statutes to conform to the ruling. Mr. Barney observed that statutes using the words "husband and wife" will also need to be amended.

IX. Next Meeting. The Chair's announcement of the time and place of the next meeting took place earlier in the meeting following discussion of the annual meeting CLE.

X. Adjournment. There being no further business, the Chair adjourned the meeting at approximately 11:45 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan S. Walker

Meeting Minutes (.pdf) - March 7, 2014