See what your colleagues are up to.

  The independent voice of Virginia lawyers              March 7, 2016.
Dear ,
The groundhog predicted an early spring. Perennials are peeking out from their winter depths and announcers are talking about a Big Dance with a basketball. Meantime, lawmakers are finishing up action on the VBA legislative agenda and registration is open for the first VBA spring conference. Read on...
Virginia State Capitol PHOTO by Marilyn Shaw
Success with legislative agenda

Fifteen bills supported by the VBA have passed the House and Senate and have been signed or are awaiting the governor's signature. Follow the final week of the session with the 2016 Legislative Progress at a Glance. Adjournment of the regular General Assembly session is scheduled for March 12.
Expect your Legislative Summaries in the coming weeks

Legislative Summary cover page
As soon as possible after the end of the General Assembly session, lobbying firm Reed Smith and the VBA will be preparing Legislative Summaries for every VBA section member in good standing. These documents are based on the session summary prepared by the Division of Legislative Services.

They can be valuable in flagging 2016 legislative actions of importance to your practice and your clients.

New and renewing members for 2016 who have joined at least one VBA section will be emailed a link to their section Legislative Summaries. Because Legislative Summaries are a benefit to VBA members who have joined a section, they are not made publicly available.
Have you renewed for 2016?

If you have not yet renewed your VBA and section memberships for 2016, please do so now (here's how). Avoid any interruption in your member benefits. If you have already renewed, please accept our thanks. When you sign in at, please confirm your contact and profile information as well as your email address. Renewed members who want to add a section for $25 a year can easily do so, too.

Questions? Contact the VBA at or 804-644-0041.
2015 VBA Bankruptcy Law Conference
Upcoming events

Registration is open for the 19th Annual VBA Bankruptcy Law Conference. The event is April 29-30 at the Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg.

The 10th Annual Legal Food Frenzy runs from April 4-15 statewide. To register your law office to take part in this food and funds campaign for Virginia's food banks, go to

A Legal Writing Workshop, co-sponsored by the Law Practice Management Division, will be April 28-29 at the American University Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C. Space is limited.

Leaders in the Young Lawyers Division should plan to attend the YLD Spring Executive Council Meeting April 29-May 1 at The Tides Inn in Irvington. 
2016 Leadership Conference attendees
Leadership Conference

Leaders of every ilk at the VBA learned more about the association and the expectations of their roles at the Leadership Conference in late February. One topic involved the importance of members personally inviting more colleagues to join the VBA. The half-day gathering met at Hunton & Williams in Richmond. See the Facebook photo album.
Success at the Workplace: Advice for Diverse Attorneys and Law Students
Success at the Workplace: Advice for Diverse Attorneys and Law Students
YLD Diversity Webinar

About 30 people spent an hour in February participating in the webinar "Success at the Workplace: Advice for Diverse Attorneys and Law Students." The webinar was co-sponsored by the Young Lawyers Division and Blank Rome LLP.

Panelists covered the law school experience in detail, including the best way to secure a great job offer. The presentation also focused on the career of young lawyers, with tips on how to market to an array of employers. Read more ...
Make an impact on conference programming

Written Materials icon
The VBA Labor Relations and Employment Law Section wants its 46th annual conference to be of utmost value to attendees. Organizers for the event, Sept. 29-Oct. 1 in Richmond, want to hear what Section members and VBA members who specialize in the labor and employment law field hope to see on the conference programming agenda. Please email Section Chair Kevin D. Holden this month with your CLE topics and presentation proposals. Then watch for details at

Insurance corner

Virginia Barristers Alliance Inc. logoDid you know that lost business from a data breach has potentially the most severe financial consequences for an organization? The cost of a data breach increased from a total average $1.33 million in 2014 to $1.57 million in 2015. Costs include the abnormal turnover of customers, increased customer acquisition activities, reputation losses and diminished goodwill, according to the Ponemon Institute "2015 Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Analysis."

Let us help analyze your firm's exposure and provide insurance solutions. Who better to help you than an agency founded by lawyers, for lawyers?

Member news

James Patrick Guy II is blogging as president of the VBA. Find the In A VBA Minute blog -- and his first message with the three-minute video "Thy Liberty in Law" -- at   

John Ramirez
is managing partner of the Virginia Beach office of Troutman Sanders LLP.

Irving Blank_ 2016 VLF president4Irving M. Blank is president of the Virginia Law Foundation. He is a partner at ParisBlank, LLP, in Richmond and a past president of the Virginia State Bar. He succeeds John D. Epps of Hunton & Williams LLP at the helm of the VLF. President-elect is Lucia Anna "Pia" Trigiani of MercerTrigiani in Alexandria. Vice President is Stephen D. Busch of McGuireWoods LLP in Richmond. All three of the latter were past presidents of the VBA. Yvonne C. McGhee, the executive director of the VBA, is VLF secretary.

Mark S. Brennan Sr., a partner at Vandeventer Black LLP, has been elected to the firm's executive board. He is chair of the firm's Richmond department. James R. Harvey III, in the Norfolk office, was re-elected to the executive board. He leads the firm's practice management. Other board members are managing partner Michael L. Sterling, Edward J. Powers and Adam S. Rafal, all of the Norfolk office.

VBA Life Member Michael W. Smith is the 66th president of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He is chairman of Christian & Barton LLP in Richmond.
At Sands Anderson, Margaret F. Hardy is serving as chief operating officer after her election to the board of directors. She is the managing shareholder of the firm's Fredericksburg office. Faith A. Alejandro in the Richmond office and Sarah A. Bucovetsky in the McLean office have been promoted to counsel.

Virginia Barristers Alliance Inc., the wholly-owned insurance agency subsidiary of the VBA, began advertising in the Virginia State Bar publication Virginia Lawyer. See the ad on the inside front cover.

Doug Sbertoli is a partner in the business and corporate practice of Williams Mullen. Previously he was executive vice president and general counsel for Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc. in Richmond. He was an associate at Williams Mullen in the early 1990s.

Ellen C. Bognar is an associate at MichieHamlett in Charlottesville.

The McCammon Group announced several new neutrals, including former Justice LeRoy F. Millette Jr. and retired Judges William N. Alexander II, J. Michael Gamble and John E. Wetsel Jr.

Laurie L. Kirkland
has become a principal with Blankingship & Keith, P.C., in Northern Virginia. She joined the firm in 2008.

D. Patrick Callahan is an associate in the commercial litigation group of Eckert Seamans in Richmond. Previously, he was an honors attorney with the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C., and a law clerk to Judges W. Reilly Marchant and Joi J. Taylor of Richmond Circuit Court.

Lori D. Thompson of LeClairRyan in Roanoke is continuing her service on the board of directors of the Roanoke Regional Chamber for another year.   
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