At its meeting on October 7, 2016, in Roanoke, the Virginia State Bar Council heard the following significant reports and took the following actions:
Mandatory Reporting of Pro Bono
By a vote of 25-29, the council rejected a proposal to endorse the Access to Justice Commission proposal to adopt mandatory pro bono reporting in Virginia.
Amendments to Paragraph 13-24
The council unanimously approved proposed amendments to Part 6 § IV, ¶ 13-24 regarding reciprocal discipline. The amendments would clarify what qualifies as another jurisdiction for reciprocal discipline purposes; clarify the disciplinary board’s authority to impose the same, equivalent, or lesser discipline as another jurisdiction; allow for leniency as appropriate; and provide the disciplinary board with discretion in enforcing the default provision. The proposed amendments will be presented to the Supreme Court of Virginia for its consideration.
Revision to Section 54.1-3935
The council unanimously approved a revision to Section 54.1-3935 of the Code of Virginia, which provides the procedure for an attorney or the VSB to demand that an attorney disciplinary matter proceed before a three-judge circuit court in lieu of a district committee or the disciplinary board of the VSB. The revision was prompted by concerns that the statute’s provisions are antiquated, predate the current Rules of Court that govern disciplinary proceedings, and do not reflect the actual practice of the courts or the VSB in attorney disciplinary matters. The proposal is subject to approval by the Supreme Court of Virginia before forwarding to the Virginia legislature for consideration.
Amendments to Part 6, Section IV, Paragraph 13.1
The council unanimously approved amendments to Paragraph 13.1 regarding suspension for failure to complete the Professionalism Course. The amendments authorize the VSB executive director to grant, for good cause, an extension request from a member who fails to complete the Professionalism Course by the deadline. The proposed amendments will be presented to the Supreme Court of Virginia for its consideration.
Legal Ethics Opinion 1886
The council unanimously approved proposed LEO 1886, which concerns the duty of partners and supervisory lawyers in a law firm when another lawyer in the firm suffers from significant impairment. The proposal will be presented to the Supreme Court of Virginia for its consideration.
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