Virginia State Bar Bylaws

Article I – Members

The Virginia State Bar is comprised of all attorneys licensed to practice law in Virginia.

Article II – Officers

The officers of the Virginia State Bar shall be a President, a President-Elect, an Immediate Past President and a Secretary-Treasurer. The term “Secretary-Treasurer,” “executive director,” and “Executive Director” refer interchangeably to the same position throughout these bylaws.

Article III – Election of President-Elect

Sec. 1. Nominations

In order to qualify for election to the office of president-elect for the ensuing bar year, a candidate must be duly qualified as set forth in Paragraph 4 of the Rules of Court, Part Six, Section IV and must file a nominating petition with the executive director.

Sec. 2. Petition

The nominating petition shall be signed by at least 50 members of the Virginia State Bar and shall be signed by the candidate, who shall certify that he or she is qualified to run for the office. The nominating petition must be received by the executive director on or before March 15 of each year.

Sec. 3. Method of Election

In the event only one nominating petition is received by the executive director on or before March 15 of any year, the election for the office of president-elect shall be held at the next annual meeting in accordance with the provisions of Article IV, below.

In the event two or more nominating petitions are received by the executive director on or before March 15 of any year, the election of the president-elect will be in accordance with the provisions of Sections 4 and 5, below.

Sec. 4. Ballots

In the event nominating petitions for two or more candidates are received by the executive director, then:

  1. The executive director shall prepare a ballot which shall list in alphabetical order the names of those persons nominated to the office of president-elect.
  2. The president-elect ballot ballot shall be distributed by electronic means to all members on or before April 15. The form of the ballot and the procedure for distribution, collection and tabulation of ballots shall be determined by the executive director.

Sec. 5. Ballot Elections

The ballots shall be collected and counted in a manner which assures the confidentiality of the members' votes. A plurality of the votes cast by all members shall elect. No ballot received by the executive director after May 1 shall be counted. Write-in votes shall be permitted, but the executive director may exclude illegible write-in votes and shall exclude write-in votes for any candidate ineligible to serve pursuant to these bylaws, if elected.

Sec. 6. General Provisions

The following provisions shall be applicable to any election of the president-elect under this Article III.

  1. For purposes of these provisions, a "member" is an active member in good standing of the Virginia State Bar. Only such person may nominate, be nominated, vote or be elected in any election for the office of president-elect.
  2. Records maintained by the executive director as to membership and good-standing status shall be controlling.
  3. The failure to comply with the dates designated for the occurrence or completion of certain acts shall not invalidate any election, unless substantial prejudice can be shown to have resulted therefrom.
  4. For purposes of determining voter and candidate eligibility, the membership list maintained by the executive director as of March 15 shall be controlling. Except to correct clerical errors in records maintained as of that date, no revisions or additions to the membership list for purposes of the election shall be made after March 15.
  5. The executive director shall announce to the bar the results of the election for the office of president-elect.
  6. Any responsibility assigned herein to be discharged by the executive director may be assumed and discharged by the Executive Committee, at its discretion.
  7. Any challenge to an election shall be resolved by a committee which shall be chaired by the president and shall include the president-elect, the immediate past president and two members of Council appointed by the president who shall not be current members of the Executive Committee.

Article IV – Meetings

Sec. 1.

The Secretary shall give thirty days' notice of annual meetings of the bar, and such notice of special meetings of the bar as the Executive Committee shall prescribe in its call. Meetings of the organization shall be held at such times and places and after such notices as may be prescribed by the appropriate provisions of Section IV, Rules of the Supreme Court for the Integration of the Virginia State Bar and Council Bylaws.

Sec. 2.

A quorum at any such meeting shall be as set forth in the Court Rules.

Sec. 3.

The program and order of business at any meeting of the Virginia State Bar, unless otherwise ordered by the Council, shall be determined by the president in consultation with the president-elect and the executive director.

Sec. 4.

Proceedings at any such meeting shall be governed by Roberts Rules of Order, except that no member shall without unanimous consent speak more than twice on any one subject nor more than five minutes at any one time.

Sec. 5.

Voting at any such meeting shall be viva voce with each active member present entitled to vote, unless at least ten active members shall either before or immediately after such vote demand a vote by judicial circuits on a roll called in numerical order. In the latter event, each circuit shall be entitled to one vote for each twenty-five active members or fraction of twenty-five registered in that circuit. When a vote by circuits is ordered, the active members present from each circuit shall cast the entire vote to which such circuit is entitled. If there be a division among the active members present from any circuit as to how the vote of such circuit shall be cast, the vote of such circuit shall be divided and cast in proportion to the vote on such division, unless such circuit at a meeting of its members shall have adopted and caused to be certified to the Secretary a resolution providing that the entire vote of such circuit shall be cast as a majority of the active members from that circuit present and voting shall determine.

Provided, however, that in any election for the office of president-elect, voting shall be viva voce unless more than one candidate shall be duly nominated, in which event voting shall be by ballot as provided in Article III above.

Sec. 6.

An active member shall be deemed to be registered in the circuit where he or she is entitled to vote for a member of Council provided that for the purpose of this section, no member may change his or her registration within five days preceding a meeting of the organization. At the opening of the meeting the Secretary shall post in a conspicuous place a list showing the number of votes to which each circuit is entitled and shall, upon the request of a member of any circuit, also post a list of the active members officially registered in that circuit. The lists so posted shall be conclusive as to the number of votes to which each circuit is entitled and as to the active members registered in each circuit, provided that any interested active member challenging the correctness of any such list, either as to the number of votes to which a circuit is entitled or as to the circuit in which an active member is registered, may appeal to the floor; but the circuits or members affected shall not vote on such appeal.

Article V – Committees

Sec. 1.

Unless otherwise provided in the Supreme Court Rules, by action of Council, or elsewhere in these by-laws or the by-laws of Council, all committees shall be appointed by the president, who shall have power to determine the size and composition of the committee and to designate the chair thereof and to fill any vacancy therein.

Sec. 2.

A majority of any committee shall constitute a quorum.

Sec. 3.

In addition to the Executive Committee, district committees, and standing committees specified in the by-laws of Council, there shall be special committees to carry out the other ongoing work of the bar, and study committees, where appropriate in the judgment of the president, to examine and make recommendations on specific proposals or programs within a reasonably brief and discrete period of time.

Sec. 4.

Members of special committees shall be appointed to three-year terms, with the exception of the Special Committee on Lawyer Malpractice Insurance whose members shall be appointed to five-year terms. No member shall serve more than two consecutive terms on such a committee. A member appointed to fill an unexpired term shall be eligible to serve two additional full terms. An eligible member wishing to be reappointed to a special committee shall be required to reapply in writing prior to the end of his or her current term under procedures established by Council and administered by the executive director. If any member of a committee fails to attend either three meetings during any bar year or two successive meetings of the committee without providing an explanation satisfactory to the committee chair, or in the case of a lawyer member, is declared not in good standing with the Virginia State Bar, such person’s position shall automatically be considered vacated and filled as in the case of other vacancies.

Sec. 5.

In making initial appointments to new special committees, the president shall appoint members to one, two and three-year terms so as to allow for the retirement or reappointment of one-third of the membership of each special committee at the end of each bar year.

Sec. 6.

Effective July 1, 1996, the size of special committees shall be as specified by Council. A list of the committees and their respective sizes shall be maintained by the executive director. Changes in the size of special committees may be approved by the Executive Committee.