Proposed | amendments to Paragraph 13-5 and Bylaws of the VSB Council, which add a lay member to the Committee on Lawyer Discipline.
Comments due by December 18, 2023.
October 19, 2023
The VSB seeks public comment on proposed amendments to the Rules of Supreme Court of Virginia, Part 6, Section IV, Paragraph 13-5 (“Paragraph 13-5”) and Bylaws of the Council, Part II, Article VIII, Section 2 (“Bylaws”) which add a lay member to the Committee on Lawyer Discipline (“COLD”).
Currently, there are only two nonlawyer and 10 lawyer members of COLD. One lay member serves on the Rules Subcommittee and one on the Oversight Subcommittee. The Oversight Subcommittee lay member thus must serve on all review panels of dismissed complaints, whereas attorney members can rotate, and the lay member may be tasked with a disproportionate amount of work. The proposed amendments to Paragraph 13-5 and the Bylaws ease the burden on the lay member and ensure the efficient review of files.
The proposed amendments may be inspected below or at the office of the Virginia State Bar, 1111 East Main Street, Suite 700, Richmond, Virginia 23219-0060, between the hours of 9:00 am and 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.
Inspection and Comment
Any individual, business, or other entity may submit written comments in support of or in opposition to the proposed opinion to Cameron Rountree, executive director of the Virginia State Bar, not later than December 18, 2023. Comments may be submitted via email to [email protected].
PART SIX, SECTION IV, PARAGRAPH 13, RULES OF THE SUPREME COURT OF VIRGINIA
13-5 AUTHORITY AND DUTIES OF COLD
All powers and duties of Council, with respect to the Disciplinary System, except the power to appoint District Committee members, may be exercised by COLD, subject to the direction and control of Council. Notwithstanding any rule to the contrary, any member of COLD may attend proceedings of the Subcommittees, District Committees or the Board. Service by an Attorney on COLD is deemed to be a professional relationship within the meaning of Rules of Professional Conduct 1.6, 1.7, 1.9, 1.10 and 3.7. Such service is deemed the holding of public office within the meaning of Rules of Professional Conduct 1.11 and 1.12. Consent under Rules of Professional Conduct 1.6, 1.7 and 1.9 is deemed to include Bar Counsel’s consent on behalf of the Bar. The membership of COLD must consist of
twelve thirteen persons, ten of whom must be active members of the Bar and two three must be nonlawyers. In addition, a vice chair of the Board is an ex-officio, nonvoting member.
PART II – BYLAWS OF THE COUNCIL
Sec. 2. Committee on Lawyer Discipline — There shall be a standing committee to be appointed by the president and to be known as the Committee on Lawyer Discipline. The committee shall consist of
twelve thirteen persons, ten of whom shall be active members of the bar and two three shall be non-lawyers. In addition, the vice-chairman of the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board shall be an ex-officio, non-voting member of the committee. At least two of the lawyers who are members shall be members of the Council. All members shall serve a three-year term and the president shall appoint members to the committee so as to allow for the retirement from the committee of one third of its membership at the end of each fiscal year. No member shall serve more than two consecutive three-year terms. A member appointed to fill an unexpired term shall be eligible to serve two additional full three-year terms. An eligible member wishing to be reappointed shall be required to reapply in writing under procedures established by Council and administered by the executive director. All powers and duties of the Council with respect to operation of the bar’s disciplinary system, not otherwise delegated or reserved, shall be exercised and discharged by the committee.