September 14, 2023
VSB Seeks Comment on Legislative Activity
The Virginia State Bar (VSB) is seeking public comment on proposed VSB engagement in legislative activity, pursuant to Section IV, Part 6, Paragraph 9(J) of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, in the 2024 General Assembly Session.
On August 31, 2023, the Access to Legal Services Committee (Access Committee) voted unanimously to request VSB leadership’s support of the recommendations of the Virginia Child Dependency Legal Representation Workgroup, as convened by the Office of the Children’s Ombudsman, to improve the quality of legal representation in certain child dependency cases. At the October 13, 2023, VSB Council meeting, the Access Committee will request Council to authorize the VSB, with the approval of the Supreme Court of Virginia, to support policy, budgetary, and related legislative activity as follows:
1. Increase compensation, from the current rate of $90/hour with a cap of $120 per petition, for court-appointed legal counsel for parents in certain child-dependency cases;
2. Establish a state-level commission or similar office to provide support, training, qualification, practice standards, and oversight for court-appointed counsel for parents in certain child-dependency cases; and
3. Appropriate funds to establish and launch pilot multidisciplinary offices for certain child dependency cases and parents’ defense, to serve diverse jurisdictions of the Commonwealth.
Any individual, business, or other entity may submit written comments in support of or in opposition to the proposed amendments with Crista Gantz, Director of Access to Legal Services of the Virginia State Bar, by close of business October 9, 2023. Comments may be submitted via email to [email protected].