The following bar associations will receive awards from the Conference of Local and Specialty Bar Associations during the Virginia State Bar Annual Meeting. The awards recognize projects that serve the bench, the bar, and the people of Virginia.
The conference makes information on winning projects available to other groups that want to consider similar programs. For information, contact Paulette J. Davidson at Davidson@vsb.org or (804) 775-0521.
For excellence in bar projects
The Prince William County Bar Association Inc.; Prince William Chapter, Virginia Women Attorneys Association; Old Dominion Bar Association
The three associations co-hosted a screening of The Loving Story, the 2011 documentary that inspired director Jeff Nichols to write and direct the 2016 motion picture Loving. One of the objectives of this event was to share with bar members the documentary’s behind-the-scenes footage of the legal challenges of the case. The documentary includes footage of the Lovings and their lawyers, Bernard S. Cohen and Philip J. Hirschkop, as well as first-person testimony and rare documentary photographs. Presentation of The Loving Story was the first event jointly sponsored by the associations. More than 100 people attended the event, which also showcased how the law and the arts converged to tell a powerful story of justice and love.
Hill-Tucker Bar Association
The association’s Annual Turkey Drive, which began in 2010 as an effort to provide turkeys for Thanksgiving to all members of the Richmond Adult Drug Court Program, now distributes full Thanksgiving dinners. The program has also expanded to include the Richmond Juvenile Drug Court and the Eastern District of Virginia Federal Drug Court. The Turkey Drive demonstrates support for the drug court participants and encourages their efforts to become good, functional members of society. The program, which distributes between seventy and ninety meals each year, has benefited more than 450 families. Judges, lawyers, and court officials donate to the program.
Loudoun Chapter of the Virginia Women Attorneys Association
The Color of Justice Program was developed by the National Association of Women Judges and encourages girls and minorities of all ages to consider legal and judicial careers. It brings the students together with judges and lawyers and provides them with resources. In 2015, the Loudoun Chapter of the VWAA developed a local program, The Honorable Julia T. Cannon Memorial Color of Justice Program. It targets students who are at high risk for gang involvement, substance use/abuse, and those who are court-referred or on probation. The goal is to help students realize that careers in the legal field are accessible to them. The program is a partnership between the Loudoun Chapter of the VWAA, the Loudoun County Department of Family Services, which operates Camp R.E.A.L., and members of the Loudoun County Sheriff Office’s School Resource Officers program. More than half of the members of the association participate in the program, which served more than forty students in 2016.
Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association
The association Mentorship program’s initiatives include member’s visits to Orchard House School to assist eighth grade students with a mock criminal trial. Association volunteers worked with the school’s history teachers to select the facts for the trial, acted as coaches for the student prosecuting and defense attorneys, members of jury, and the judge. The Mentorship program also partnered with the University of Richmond Women’s Law Student Association, which encourages females pursuing the legal profession and connects members with professionals and mentors in the Richmond area.
Roanoke Bar Association
You and the Law: A Look Inside Your Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts is a program that educates the public about the court and how it operates, explains the roll and duties of the sheriff’s office in the court, and discusses the effect social media and apps have in the court. Participants observe a mock juvenile detention hearing, hear from two judges who describe the reality of pro se litigants and how unrepresented parties can file petitions and motions, and participate in a panel discussion on foster care and guardian ad litem. Program presenters include five juvenile and domestic relations court judges and the court clerk, representatives of the public defender’s office, six sheriff’s department officers, and representatives from the office of the attorney general, counsel for the Department of Social Services, and CASA.
Virginia Beach Bar Association
Seatack Elementary Second Grade Swim Program: “Students on the Swim” provides swim lessons for all second grade students at the school. The association started the program after an uptick in the number of drowning deaths of young, low-income children at the Virginia Beach oceanfront during the summer of 2014 and a review of statistics that show a high rate of drowning deaths among low-income children. The program provides the students with ten lessons over two weeks at the end of school year. Red Cross certified instructors conduct the lessons. Fifty students completed the program in 2016.
For high achievement in bar projects
Tidewater Bankruptcy Bar Association
The Twenty-Fifth Annual Hal J. Bonney Jr. Seminar on Bankruptcy Law and Practice, which began in 1992, is a day-long event for the association’s members and other lawyers with an interest in the fields of bankruptcy law, practice, and procedure. The seminars include speakers who are preeminent bankruptcy judges, law school professors, bankruptcy trustees and attorneys who provide valuable advice to local practitioners. The February 2017 seminar included five United States Bankruptcy Court judges, including the chief judge for the US Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, twelve experienced practicing attorneys who provided advice in the areas of recent developments, tax issues, landlord/tenant issues, closely held businesses, ethics including ghostwriting and limited representation, and technology dilemmas.
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