A Young Lawyer’s View of the Virginia State Bar’s 74th Annual Meeting

The Virginia State Bar (VSB) is the organization that licenses and regulates attorneys in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Membership is mandatory for all Virginia attorneys. The Virginia State Bar has an annual meeting every June in Virginia Beach.  To increase involvement of younger attorneys, the Virginia State Bar has a Young Lawyers Conference (YLC).  The YLC is managed by a Board of Governors.  Nathan J. D. Veldhuis, an attorney with the Allen Law Firm, has enjoyed being a member of the Virginia State Bar Young Lawyers Conference Board of Governors for the past three years.  Editor’s Note. 

Every year since passing the bar examination, I have attended the Virginia State Bar Annual Meeting. The meetings, along with the Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs are always well organized.  Every year when I think that last year’s meetings can’t be topped, the next year’s meeting does just that.   The programs presented by the Virginia State Bar are topical, educational, and interesting.  That’s probably why they are so well attended every year.

The Young Lawyers Conference (YLC) is very active in the Virginia State Bar with a number of programs in which members can be involved.  With respect to the Annual Meeting alone, the YLC sponsors a 5K “Run In the Sun”.  This year was the 31st annual run, and took place on a Friday morning along the boardwalk.   The YLC also hosted a poolside reception at the Cavalier Oceanfront Hotel on the pool deck.  As has occurred each year, the incoming president has addressed the young lawyers and others in attendance.   This year Warren David Harless, the incoming president of the Virginia State Bar spoke to the group at the Young Lawyers Conference member reception and meeting.  And – in keeping with the outdoor beach theme – the YLC hosted the 28thAnnual David T. Stitt Memorial volleyball tournament on the lawn of the Cavalier Oceanfront Hotel.

In addition to these activities, the Young Lawyers conference once again organized and put on the showcase CLE program on Friday morning.   This year we repeated and improved on the success of the program last year by packaging the educational content in an entertaining and fun format.   The CLE program was modeled after an old game show, “Hollywood Squares” – except we called the CLE program “Judiciary Squares–Civil Procedure Edition.”   Nine judges or justices served as “squares” and answered questions from contestants.   The moderator, for a second year, generously performed by the Honorable Stanley P. Kline, asked each of the jurists (squares) a question related to civil procedure to which each jurist provided a response. It was then up to the contestants to decide whether the jurist (square) had provided the true answer or a false one.  The goal was to choose the correct response and then “win” the square.  Similar to tic-tac-toe, the winner had to win three squares in a row.  The wit and good humor of the moderator and jurists made an otherwise boring topic very interesting and stimulating for the attorneys present.  The two hour program was extremely well attended – standing room only – and audience response made it clear they found the program delightful.

Helping serve as “squares” in the game were:

  • the Honorable S. Bernard Goodwyn, Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia;
  • the Honorable Cleo E. Powell, Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia;
  • the Honorable B. Waugh Crigler, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Virginia, United States District Court, Charlottesville;
  • the Honorable Rossie D. Alston, Jr., Judge on the Virginia Court of Appeals;
  • the Honorable Robert J. Humphreys , Judge on the Virginia Court of Appeals;
  • the Honorable Angela E. Roberts, Judge in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court in Richmond;
  • the Honorable Deborah S. Roe, Judge in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court in Hampton;
  • the Honorable Jane Mirum Rousch, Judge of the Fairfax County Circuit Court;
  • and the Honorable Robert W. Woolridge, Jr., retired.

The Young Lawyers Conference committee once again presented a successful CLE program at the Annual Convention. In addition, the graciousness of the jurists in donating their time and wisdom (and again for being willing to show a quick wit and sense of humor) made this again one of the best showcase CLE programs I think the Annual Meeting has ever put on. My congratulations to all the Young Lawyers Conference attorneys and the Virginia State Bar staff for organizing this program.

If you are a Virginia attorney who has never been to the Annual Meeting or hasn’t been in several years, I would encourage you to attend next year, as it is an excellent opportunity to network, learn, and take in some sun.  If you are a young lawyer who is interested in becoming more active in the Young Lawyers Conference, I also encourage you to feel free to contact me by e-mail or telephone as there are many opportunities to volunteer and become involved.