Henrico Bar News
February 2015
Henrico County Bar Association
P.O. Box 70147
Richmond, Virginia 23255

From the Desk of Carl R. Schwertz, HCBA President


Our Bar Association continues with tremendous events for our members.  We recently held the Annual Bench-Bar Conference and are looking forward to the Legislative Update and our Golf Tournament.  It is difficult to think about golf with snow blanketing everything I see.


When I was in law school, a professor told his class that lawyers were a self-regulated monopoly.  No one could do what licensed attorneys were able to do-represent others in court.  Because of that fact, the professor instructed his students that we were obligated to give back.  I believe he has a point.


There are many ways each of us can give back.  There are many ways each of us does give back, probably without reporting to anyone.  I recently was invited to a meeting of the Greater Richmond Bar Foundation.  If you, or your colleagues, are looking for pro bono opportunities, that is certainly a good place to start. However, one point of the meeting was that in Virginia, we still are not required to report our pro bono activities, yet we all still share an aspirational duty to give to those who may not be fortunate enough to hire us.


So today, tomorrow or sometime in the hopefully not too distant future, when you are faced with a call to help someone who cannot pay for your valuable services, remember my law school professor's admonition -- no one else can do it.


Please continue to participate in our events and activities.  Encourage others to do the same.  As with all endeavors, the more you put into it, the more you get back.


Carl R. Schwertz



Holiday Party


The annual HCBA Holiday Party took place on December 9, 2014, at the Willow Oaks Country Club.  Nearly 100 Henrico County attorneys, judges and their families joined together for an evening of holiday cheer and to toast the upcoming year.  The Flying Sulsers played the sounds of the holiday season while our members enjoyed each other's company outside of the working world.  The HCBA is grateful to the event's sponsor, Planet Depos, for their continued support of our organization. Most importantly, thanks to all the members for a great year.  It is through your continued involvement that we are able to have such enjoyable events and get to know each other on a personal level.  We wish all our members a successful 2015!


Paul Hammond, Matt Morris, Alex Sur, 

Amber Ford and Judge Hammond

Tony Quitiquit, Judge Steverson, Adam Jurach,

Paula Hough and Greg Hough

Mike McCabe, Judge Marshall and Nicole McCabe

Immediate Past President Jon Nichols,

Emily Bishop and Judge Chucker

Brooks Hundley, Tara Pham and Tony Pham
Scott Fisher, John Merrick, Lisa Leiner and Mike Harman

Please visit our website at www.henricobar.org to see additional Holiday Party photos. 

Bench-Bar CLE


The Henrico County Bar Association held its annual Bench-Bar Conference on Wednesday, February 11, 2015, in the Board of Supervisors' Board Room at the Henrico Government Center. Approximately 100 of our members, as well as Judges Gary A. Hicks, L. Neil Steverson and L. A. Harris, Jr. attended the two-part program.  


Chief Magistrate Yvette A. Via and Magistrate Robert C. Blosser led off with a presentation about the Henrico Magistrate's Office.  They discussed the education and qualifications of the magistrates and described the quasi-judicial functions of the office, which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The second part of the program was a panel discussion moderated by Board member Natalie McClearn.  The panel included Judge Catherine A. Hammond and Clerk Yvonne G. Smith of the Circuit Court, Judge Mary B. Malveaux and Clerk Linda S. Knight of the General District Court, and Judge Rondelle D. Herman of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.  The panel discussed various ways to help the judicial system work more efficiently, and the judges emphasized the importance of being considerate of the court and other attorneys in scheduling and other professional matters.

The Henrico County Bar Association would like to thank Judges Hammond, Herman and Malveaux, as well as Judges Hicks, Steverson and Harris for helping to make this event a great success. 


The 2015 Bench-Bar Conference Panel
The Hon. Catherine A. Hammond
The Hon. Mary B. Malveaux
Clerk Yvonne Smith, Judge Malveaux and Clerk Linda Knight
The Hon. Rondelle D. Herman
Chief Magistrate Yvette A. Via
Please visit our website at www.henricobar.org to see additional Bench-Bar CLE photos.

Member Spotlight




Full Name: Dannie R. Sutton, Jr.                    


Employer and Position: Partner - McDonald, Sutton & DuVal, PLC      


College: University of Virginia, 1988


Law School: University of Richmond, 1991


Years in Practice: 24


Hobbies and Interests: Watching my children play sports, racquetball, reading and poker.


Favorite Movie: The Godfather     


Favorite Book: Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand


Favorite Pro and College Sports Team: Washington Redskins and University of Virginia


One Thing You Might Not Know About Me: I coach youth football and basketball.


Best Thing About Practicing Law in Henrico: The professionalism, integrity and competence of the attorneys that practice in Henrico County.


Funniest Experience as an Attorney: After a defendant's bond was revoked in court, he stood up and turned to his girlfriend in the audience and exclaimed "Baby, I'm just gone."


Advice to Young Attorneys: There is no substitute for great preparation. Having an intimate knowledge of the facts, details and law in any case you handle will equip you to handle any twist and turn that you may face in trial.





Full Name: Elsa Martin Seidel        


Employer and Position: Henrico County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney


College: University of Virginia


Law School: T.C. Williams School of Law


Years in Practice: 23 and 1/2


Hobbies and Interests: Reading, mixology and camping (RV)


Favorite Movie: My Cousin Vinnie


Favorite Book: Gone With the Wind


Favorite Pro and College Sports Team: Indianapolis Colts, University of Virginia and University of Alabama


One Thing You Might Not Know About Me: I once was shy.


Best Thing About Practicing Law in Henrico: Seeing and working with so many of my old friends and colleagues and the quality of the attorneys' representation.


Funniest Experience as an Attorney: None of them are short enough to describe here.  


Advice to Young Attorneys: Be really nice to the clerks and courthouse deputies, they can make things easier or harder; watch and learn from the experienced attorneys, both what to do and what not to do; do what is best for your client in the big scheme of things (i.e., objecting to a continuance may get you a Nolle Prosseque but your client may get rearrested and have to post a new bond, etc.).



Save the Date
Spring Luncheon
Thursday, March 5, 2015
12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Westwood Club
Legislative Update
(1 hour CLE)
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Westwood Club
Annual Banquet
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
The Dominion Club
John Garrett Memorial Golf Tournament
(Benefiting Comfort Zone Camp)
Thursday, June 4, 2015
1:00 p.m. Shotgun Start
The Crossings Golf Club
In This Issue


Save the Henrico Court Docent Program


The Henrico County Bar Association has completed another year of assisting with the Court Docent Program, hoping it won't be the last.  The program began in 1981 when the Richmond Lawyers' Auxiliary, a group of spouses of local attorneys and judges, mobilized with the common goal of familiarizing students with the Virginia court system and the honor and dignity of the legal profession.  However, the docents no longer have enough members to continue to organize the program.  For many years, the Henrico Bar has provided attorney volunteers to assist in the program.  The Henrico County Bar Association plans to undertake the responsibility of organizing the program in the future and seeks new attorney volunteers to assist with the visits.


In the past, the docents have worked closely with the middle schools of Henrico County to plan visits to the Courts Complex for 8th graders.  During these visits, the students learn an overview of the Judicial process, observe the roles of various Court officers, and usually have the opportunity to witness a proceeding.  The visit also introduces students to possible career opportunities in the legal justice system.  Additionally, some of the judges set aside time to speak to the students about the Virginia court system and provide guidance in the merits of adopting law-abiding lifestyles.


During these visits, attorney volunteers of the Henrico County Bar Association serve as guides through the Circuit Court, General District Court and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court.  The visits typically begin in the morning at the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, where one of the judges speaks to the students about the jurisdiction of the court and how trials are conducted.  Then the students take a tour of the Juvenile Detention Center.  While the students visit the Detention Center, the attorney volunteer finds a proceeding in Circuit Court or General District Court for the students to observe.  After the tour of the Detention Center, the students observe a hearing in in General District or Circuit Court and hear from one of the judges.  Then the students have lunch and finish the visit with a tour of the jail.


Having an attorney volunteer is essential for guiding the students through the courthouses and ensuring the visits run smoothly. The attorney also keeps the children engaged by questioning the students about their observations and providing an opportunity for them to voice their own aspirations and experiences.  We invite attorneys of the Henrico County Bar Association to serve as attorney volunteers for the program.  Only with your help can we keep the program going for years to come. If you are interested in volunteering your time as a guide for the Court Docent Program, please contact Natalie McClearn at ntmcclearn@flaor.com.



Clerk's Corner


A Message from the Honorable Jacob Preston Wilkins


I sincerely regret my absence from the 11 February Bench Bar Conference, but I look forward to introducing myself to every attorney working within the Henrico J&DR District Court.  While I have management experience, I am new to the court system.  From an outsider's view, I am truly in awe of the heavy legal, moral, and social responsibilities carried by the judges, attorneys, clerks, intake officers, probation officers, and deputy sheriffs in running this system.  It is a genuine honor to play a role in that system.


The two metrics for success in this court are our ability to efficiently and expeditiously serve the public, and to effectively support proceedings within the courtroom.  As a first important step, next month we will reach a full complement of managerial staff, with clerk, chief deputy clerk and two supervisors.  We will then begin a systematic review of all court operating procedures.  In this, I need your help.  In the interest of optimizing clerk office service, I solicit your observations and suggestions.  If they are beyond this office's ability to implement, I will gladly take good ideas to the Supreme Court.  Please e-mail or call--or better, come visit and meet with me.


Soon there will also be important technical upgrades to the clerk's office which will help us better serve the public.  Next month we will receive a comprehensive overhaul of our phone system, which will greatly enhance our ability to communicate and respond.  During late summer we will also launch the state-sponsored "imaging program" which entails digitizing most court paperwork used.  While the office workload will undoubtedly grow during this transition, the end product is truly a revolution in the way we do business.  Judge and court staff will have instantaneous access to any and all documents needed in courtroom proceedings.  The ultimate beneficiary is the public.  Courtrooms will be able to draw upon a wide spectrum of information-past and present, from within the court system and without, when considering cases.


I am fortunate to now hold one of the most responsible and rewarding positions I have ever held.  I fully recognize the attorney-clerk bond makes the court system work, and I will do everything in my power to make it operate smoothly.  Please help me in this endeavor.


I look forward to meeting each of you.  


Very respectfully,

Jay Wilkins

Clerk of the Court, Henrico J&DR District Court


(804) 501-4223


Announcements from the Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court


The Henrico Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court has a Twitter page.  Feel free to access the court's twitter page for updates: JDRtwitter@HenricoJDRCt


Additionally, Chief Judge Rondelle D. Herman invites attorneys to contact Krista Samuels, the Attorney Liaison, with suggestions, concerns, and positive feedback about the J&DR Court. You can email her directly at kmslaw@gmail.com.



Members on the Move   

If you have recently changed jobs or been promoted, please share your news with the Henrico Bar.  We would like to post your announcement in our newsletter and update your member profile.  Announcements can be emailed to Mary Lou Wellman at admin@henricobar.org.  Please include your name, firm or employer's name, new title and areas of concentration.  



Welcome New Members
Ashley D. Barber
Ericka Battle
Jim Ingold
Jeromy Lewis
Seth Saunders
Elsa M. Seidel
Alexandra L. Sur
Sarah E. Ulmer
John M. Weiland
Ryan E. Wind
Melissa Y. York




Officers and Directors



Carl R. Schwertz



Michael Y. Feinmel


Vice President

J.T. (Tom) Tokarz



Julie S. Palmer



James W. Hopper


Immediate Past-President

Jon A. Nichols



D. Brooks Hundley

Natalie T. McClearn

Tony H. Pham

Brian J. Schneider

Suzanne E. Wade


Mary Lou Wellman