TO: Local Bar Leaders
FROM: Thomas E. Spahn, Chair
The Virginia Bar Association Commission on Professionalism
Dear Local Bar Leader,
Thank you very much for your help in our historically successful rollout of the Principles of Professionalism for Virginia Lawyers. Thanks to you and other leaders of bar groups and law firms, we have circulated the Principles to many thousands of Virginia lawyers.
To follow up on our rollout-day efforts, we are offering free copies of the Principles and a reduced rate framing opportunity. We are also offering a free "turn-key" program that focuses on professionalism that qualifies for MCLE (ethics) credit.
Both of these projects are described below in this message, and we would appreciate your reading it or passing it along to your successor or whoever deals with issues like this at your bar association.
Copies of the Principles (and framing options)
In order to facilitate display of the Principles in every courthouse in Virginia, The Virginia Bar Association has agreed to provide to all local bar associations (free of charge) copies of the Principles of Professionalism that are suitable for framing. Contact Nancy Davis at the VBA at firstname.lastname@example.org or (804) 644-0041 to obtain one or more unframed copies.
The VBA has also negotiated a reduced rate for obtaining framed copies of the Principles. See the attached description of specifications and prices. As you will see, at current prices you can have a copy of the Principles framed, including matting, for $67 plus sales tax, packaging and shipping costs. If you are interested in this offer, contact the framer directly at email@example.com or (804) 744-6490.
Of course, you are free to have a copy or copies of the Principles framed however you wish, and you may also want to check for any specific requirement of your local court or courts. For instance, we understand that Plexiglas or some other impact-resistant alternative to glass may be required in some courthouses.
Local bar associations are encouraged to work with the court or courts in their respective localities to arrange for the Principles to hang in their respective Virginia courthouses. To assure this goal, we have tried to make it as easy as possible for you to obtain and frame the Principles for presentation to your court. Although you obviously may handle this in any way you wish, we know that some bar organizations have held ceremonial unveilings of the framed copy of the Principles as part of a bench-bar conference that also includes the CLE program discussed below.
We have now placed on the Virginia Bar Association website materials that your bar can use to present a CLE program focusing on Professionalism.
As you will see, the materials include a "Teacher's Manual" that tells you how to set up the program, how to select the best hypotheticals for your audience, and how to obtain ethics MCLE credit. The "Teacher's Manual" also describes the history of the Principles and the support that the Principles have received from the Supreme Court of Virginia, both of our federal district courts, the Governor, the Attorney General, and others.
In addition to the "Teacher's Manual," the materials on the VBA website include a set of 29 hypotheticals that you can hand out to the audience before the program and a separate document to hand out after the program (which repeats the hypotheticals and provides an in-depth analysis of each one).
Finally, the materials include what we call "Teacher's Version of Hypotheticals and Analyses (With Summaries, Discussion Points, Etc.)." This document contains an easy-to-read summary of each hypothetical and analysis in large font and bullet-point fashion to make it easier to use. The document also contains discussion points that a teacher can use to prompt audience participation at the CLE program.
As you will see in the "Teacher's Manual," there are enough hypotheticals to support a two-hour program, although we suggest that a one-hour program generally would be more appropriate.
We invite you or any other Virginia lawyer to download and use these materials at any time.
Although all of us (with your help) have already made history in Virginia by adopting statewide aspirational standards of courteous behavior, we hope to keep up the momentum in our effort to encourage lawyer civility. Both the CLE programs and the courthouse presentations will go a long way toward advancing the cause of professionalism statewide.
As indicated in the Principles' preamble, Virginia can take special pride in our profession. Please join us in continuing Virginia's leadership role.
We stand ready to help in any way that we can.