Virginia State Bar

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Real Property

A Section of the Virginia State Bar.

Meeting Minutes - April 13, 2002

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

Charlottesville, Virginia

The spring meeting of the Board of Governors of the Real Property Section of the Virginia State Bar was held on Saturday, April 13, 2002, at 12:30 at the Boar's Head Inn in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The following persons were in attendance: Paula S. Caplinger, Randy C. Howard, Larry McElwain, David Helscher, Kathleen Michener, Dan Goodwin, Christina Meier, Rick Chess, Lee Hickok, Eric Zimmerman, Steve Wood, Christian Chiles, Steve Blaine, Steve Romine, Howard Gordon, Michael Barney, Rick Richmond, Page Williams, Susan Pesner, Grice McMullan and Lawrence Schonberger. Lawrence Schonberger, Chair, conducted the meeting. Paula Caplinger, Secretary, kept the minutes.

Following lunch, Mr. Schonberger called the meeting to order. (See official Agenda attached.)

Mr. Schonberger presented the minutes of the January 18, 2002 meeting of the Real Property Section and upon motion duly made and seconded, the minutes were unanimously approved as written by those who attended the January 18, 2002 meeting. Those not in attendance at the January meeting abstained.

Mr. Schonberger gave the financial report. He reported a balance of $16,090.62. The money which the Section had previously authorized for research on the proposed trusts and estates legislation has not been expended since the legislation has been tabled. Upon motion duly made and seconded, the Section unanimously voted that the funds which had been previously allocated for this research project be used to satisfy other Section expenses and further, that any surplus Section funds at fiscal year-end, after the satisfaction of all other Section expenses, be paid to Virginia CLE.

Next, Steve Romine offered his report on the 20th Annual Real Estate Practice Seminar and the summer workshop. The Annual Seminar is set for May 9, 10, 16 and 17. The seminar has been approved for 6.5 hours of continuing education credit and the topics will include: update on new legislation and case law, ethics, title insurance and 1031 tax-deferred exchanges. The summer workshop will be held June 14 as part of the annual meeting. The workshop is entitled: "Hot Topics Potpourri" and will include three one-half hour segments on wetlands, changes in the Virginia Property Owner's Act and the UCC. A discussion followed regarding possible future seminar topics and the desire to avoid duplication of topics between the different seminars sponsored by the Section.

The Chair and Section members expressed appreciation to Larry McElwain for his efforts in organizing the successful 6th Annual Advanced Real Estate Seminar. Larry has agreed to coordinate this program again in 2003. Mr. Schonberger indicated that information on the proposed trust and estates legislation has been included in the meeting packets. Members are requested to review this information at their leisure and provide Doug Dewing with any comments.

Mr. Schonberger explained that it is the responsibility of all subcommittee chairs to turn in a subcommittee report for each Fee Simple. The deadline for the next issue is April 19, 2002. The Section needs articles for the Fee Simple.

Susan Pesner suggested contacting those attorneys whose cases are showcased in Virginia Lawyers Weekly and requesting that the successful litigant's attorney write an article on the case topic for the next Fee Simple. Mr. Schonberger volunteered to assume the responsibility for contacting these possible contributors. Rick Richmond suggested that perhaps more structure is needed with the subcommittees to assure that we have more submissions for the Fee Simple. He suggested we make subcommittees responsible for preparing specific articles or editions of the Fee Simple. The subcommittee would be given significant advance notice of their responsibilities. Mr. Schonberger agreed to compose a schedule of subcommittee assignments to propose at the June meeting. The schedule would include a listing of all subcommittees and would indicate which subcommittee will be responsible for articles in which upcoming edition of the Fee Simple. Mr. Schonberger also agreed to contact Pia Trigiani about doing an article on current developments in case law or legislation for each edition of the Fee Simple.

It may also shortly be the responsibility of the Section to submit materials for the Virginia State Bar magazine. Typically four substantive articles are required and the Virginia State Bar gives the Section one-year advance notice. Mr. Schonberger is to check with the State Bar and see when it will next be our Section's turn.

Next, on behalf of the bankruptcy subcommittee, Steve Wood volunteered to prepare a bankruptcy topic for the 2003 Annual Real Estate Practice Seminar. The bankruptcy subcommittee presented a topic as part of the 2001 seminar and the presentation was well received.

The Current Developments and Legislation subcommittee offered no report.

Steve Blaine reported on behalf of the Environmental/Land Use subcommittee that the recent Virginia CLE program on land use was a success.

Susan Pesner reported on behalf of the Ethics subcommittee that no new "strictly ethics matters" have been brought before the subcommittee. Susan has had calls regarding the "mark-up" of service provider fees (such as survey costs, title exams, courier or overnight fees) charged by closers. A group discussion followed centering upon whether this is an ethical dilemma and as such an appropriate topic for this subcommittee. Susan suggested that perhaps the mission of the subcommittee could be refocused to include a broader scope of issues, rather than just "pure" ethics complaints. Topics such as fee markups, enhanced title policy products or negotiating title insurance premiums might be appropriate subjects for a refocused subcommittee. Between now and June, this subcommittee will meet and Susan will have a recommendation at the June meeting regarding the future role and focus of the ethics subcommittee.

Rick Richmond reported on behalf of the First Day in Practice subcommittee that the Section did not sign up any new members at the session. Historically we have always acquired new members at this session. The Section requested that Mr. Schonberger contact Ed Waugaman, the chair of this subcommittee and determine his future intentions with regard to the activities of the subcommittee.

Rick Chess reported on behalf of the Housing subcommittee that the subcommittee is interested in participating in conjunction with the Leases subcommittee in the Annual Real Estate Practice Seminar in 2003. The subcommittee is also interested in preparing an article for the November issue of the Fee Simple. The proposed topic would be public/private partnerships in Housing.

The Information and Technology subcommittee offered no report.

On behalf of Jay Steele, Rick Chess offered the Leases subcommittee report. Rick has a possible Fee Simple article for the next issue entitled "Casualty Loss in Times of Terror." The subcommittee is also considering a future article on leasing for the May 2003 issue and is willing to assist with a panel discussion on leasing issues in conjunction with the Housing subcommittee for the Annual Real Estate Practice Seminar in 2003.

The Membership subcommittee materials indicated that our Section is second in terms of active/associate members and third in terms of overall members, behind the criminal and litigation sections. A discussion followed concerning how we may best increase our membership. We must actively solicit the members of our Section for their ideas on seminar and newsletter topics. The activities of the Section must be relevant for all members. We should all strive to recruit new Section members and remember we are ambassadors of the Section. It was suggested that we obtain a Section membership list from the Virginia State Bar and ask that the list be sorted by zip code to help us determine who already belongs to the Section and who might be recruited for membership. We must stress that we provide valuable benefits to Section members, whether they are involved in the practice of residential or commercial real estate.

An active campaign needs to be undertaken to increase our membership. Larry Schonberger will request that Randy Howard, as chair of the membership subcommittee, coordinate this campaign. Upon motion duly made and seconded, the Section decided to take the following steps to increase membership:

(1) spend the necessary funds to print extra copies of the upcoming Fee Simple. The "extra" Fee Simples are to be available prior to the June meeting. The Fee Simple provides tangible evidence of one of the benefits of Section membership.
(2) Each area representative is to be furnished with a list of Section members in their area and then provide a list of prospective Section members in their area to Randy Howard.
(3) Randy Howard will coordinate with the area representative for the mailing of a membership application and a copy of the Fee Simple to the prospective member.
(4) Each area representative is to recruit two new Section members by the fall 2002 meeting. They should coordinate with Randy to determine who has joined based on their submissions. The chair will check with the Virginia State Bar to see if we still offer free memberships to new lawyers.

Larry Schonberger reported on behalf of the Newsletter subcommittee that materials are included in the meeting packets regarding possible articles for the newsletter. Other suggestions from the group for articles included: (1) contact Frank Brown of the Senior Lawyers Conference and see if they would like to include something in the Fee Simple, (2) contact Jeanne LaBelle and see if she would submit an article on the new leasehold title policy endorsements and (3) contact all subcommittee chairs for their reports.

The Small Firm and Sole Practitioner subcommittee offered no report.

The Title Insurance subcommittee offered no report.

The VBA Forms subcommittee offered no report.

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

There was no old business discussed.

Under new business, Larry Schonberger announced that he has formed a nominating committee for the purpose of nominating new Board members and officers for 2002-2003. The committee consists of John David Epperly, Susan Pesner and Chip Land. Paula Caplinger is to verify the terms of all current Board members and report this information to Mr. Schonberger.

Mr. Schonberger also announced that the Section dinner at Steinhilber's is being planned for June 14.

Nomination forms for the Gardener G. DeMallie, Jr. CLE Award were included in the meeting material packets.

The meeting adjourned by motion duly made, and seconded at 2:30 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Paula S. Caplinger Secretary


April 13, 2002
Boar's Head Inn
Charlottesville, Virginia

I. Call to order and welcome

II. Approval of minutes from the January 18, 2002 meeting

III. Financial Report

IV. CLE Seminar & Workshop Report

Steve Romine & Lee Hickok - Annual Seminar & Summer Workshop

V. Information on estates and trusts legislation

VI. Subcommittee Reports

A. Bankruptcy: Stephen B. Wood
B. Current Developments and Legislation: Lucia Anna Trigiani
C. Environmental/Land Use: Steven W. Blame
D. Ethics: Susan M. Pesner
E. First Day in Practice: Edward R. Waugaman
F. Housing: Richard B. Chess
G. Information and Technology: Douglass W. Dewing
H. Leases: Jay Steele
I. Membership: Randy C. Howard
J. Newsletter - the Fee Simple: Lynda L. Butler
K. Small Firm and Sole Practitioner: Allen C. Tanner
L. Title Insurance: Edward R. Waugaman
M. VBA Forms: Joseph W. Richmond, Jr.

VIII. Liaison Reports

Bar Counsel - Ray W. King
Old Dominion Bar Association - Manus E. Holmes

IX. Old Business

X. New Business

- Nominations for Board of Directors
- Steinhilber's dinner
- Gardener G. DeMallie, Jr. CLE Award

IX. Adjourn