Voluntary Bar Service Opportunities

You Are the Virginia State Bar.

Among its many boards, standing and special committees, and disciplinary system bodies, there are hundreds of lawyers across the Commonwealth who volunteer to help maintain the Virginia State Bar as a self-regulating, self-governing body. The VSB solicits applications for volunteers three times a year, beginning in September for the Disciplinary Board; November for Council members at-large, Local Disciplinary District Committees, the Client Protection Fund Board, Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee, Mandatory Continuing Education Board, and American Bar Association House of Delegates; and January for all other standing and special committees.

At any point throughout the year, see the current List of Vacancies for opportunities to serve. All calls for applications appear in Virginia Lawyer magazine, on the news page, in news emails from the VSB (make sure your email is up-to-date with the VSB), and on social media accounts.  

The VSB seeks balance and diversity in board and committee membership, not only in aspects of race and gender, but in geography, the types of practice practice areas in which the lawyers are engaged, and the settings in which the lawyers practice (e.g., solos to corporate counsel, prosecutors to defense).

Four bodies also have lay members (i.e. non-lawyer members): the Committee on Lawyer Discipline (2), the Disciplinary Board (4), the Clients’ Protection Fund Board (1), and the Special Committee on the Resolution of Fee Disputes (2). The 17 disciplinary district committees have three lay members each. The process of application for lay members is the same as for lawyer members.

All members of VSB boards and committees serve 3-year terms, with two consecutive terms allowed, except VSB Council’s Executive Committee and the Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee.

Have questions about Bar service opportunities? Please contact Shawne Moore by email or call (804) 775-0551.

How are members chosen?

1. Appointed by the VSB President-elect

Volunteers are solicited in in emails and online in January, and in the February magazine; applications are due in February. Applicants send a brief résumé and fill out a committee preference form (PDF) for:

Standing Committees

Special Committees

2. Appointed by VSB Council

Volunteers are solicited beginning in December the magazine, in emails, and online; applications are due in January. Applicants send a brief résumé and a short statement of interest to [email protected] for:

3. Nominated by VSB Council, appointed by the Supreme Court of Virginia

Volunteers are solicited in emails and online in September; applications are due in October or January. Applicants send a brief résumé and a short statement of interest to [email protected] for:

4. Nominated by local representatives on VSB Council, voted on by full Council

Volunteers are solicited beginning in December in the magazine, in emails, and online; applications are due in February. Applicants send a brief résumé and short statement of interest for:

  • Local disciplinary district committees – 17 committees among 10 judicial districts; each has 7 lawyer members and 3 lay members
  • See Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia Part 6, § IV Rule 13-4 for eligibility requirements.

    • Local disciplinary district committees are a great way for lawyers and members of the public to get involved on the ground floor of one of the VSB’s most important functions. Committee members review complaints and investigations against attorneys in their jurisdiction and determine whether there is sufficient evidence of a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Committee members also review agreed dispositions and hear disciplinary matters.

    • Service on a district committee can lead to a place on the Disciplinary Board, which handles cases of suspension and disbarment. And most members of the Committee on Lawyer Discipline, which oversees the disciplinary system, have served some years in the disciplinary system. 

    • Members attend a two-day disciplinary conference in July or early-August (with CLE credit).

    • VSB Council members nominate from the applicant pool within their districts, and the entire Council body votes on nominees at the VSB Annual Meeting in May-June.

    • Interested applicants cannot have:

      • A criminal record
      • A disciplinary record of disbarment, revocation or suspension
      • A public reprimand within the past 10 years
      • Private discipline within the past five years (with a few exceptions)

5. Elections

VSB Council is the 81-lawyer body that oversees all other boards, committees, and bar functions. Virginia lawyers elect 65 council members by circuit, with larger circuits having a proportional number of seats, in an online process. The remainder consists of the nine at-large members (see #3), the chairs of four VSB conferences, and three officers.

Candidates are solicited in January-March in the magazine, in emails, and online, and must collect 10 signatures of active, in-good-standing lawyers in their circuit on or before April 1 to be placed on the ballot. Ballots are emailed in mid-April, and Virginia lawyers have a few weeks to cast their ballots online.

Joint ADR Committee

The Joint Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee is a collaboration of the VSB and the Virginia Bar Association. Please see its website for more information.