Virginia Lawyer

VaLawyer_Apr 2014

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VIRGINIA LAWYER | April 2014 | Vol. 62 10 IT'S BUDGET TIME here at the Virginia State Bar. The good news is that expenses for next fiscal year are expected to be less than the current year, because the bar will already have incurred costs related to the bar's move in April from its long-time headquarters at 707 E. Main Street to 1111 E. Main Street. Council, the VSB's governing body, will consider the VSB's proposed budget at its June meeting. The budget will have been vetted and approved by the Standing Committee on Budget & Finance before going to the council. The bud- get will also (hopefully) be approved by the Supreme Court of Virginia. If you have issues with the way in which your dues dollars are being spent, you need to let us and your elected coun- cil representative know your opinion. A list of council members and the judicial circuit they represent follows this article. The VSB dues are currently $225 for an active member, plus $25 for the Clients' Protection Fund. Virginia is tied with West Virginia for lowest bar dues of the thirty-three mandatory state bars. Virginia has not had a dues increase since 2000, and the bar dues were lowered in 2011 for active mem- bers from $250 to $225 and for associ- ate members from $125 to $112.50. The bar staff and volunteer leadership are mindful of the duty to act as fidu- ciaries of member dues, supporting only those expenditures that benefit our members or further our regulatory and access responsibilities. In the world of bar organizations, the VSB is considered an integrated, mandatory bar: Integrated because the disciplinary system is within the bar's organization; Mandatory because state law requires that anyone who wants to practice law in Virginia must be a member of the organization. Most of the bar's resources are directed to its regulatory functions: discipline; ethics; mandatory continuing legal educa- tion; and membership. The budget for the discipline department, including ethics counsel and the clerk's office, is $6,094,095. MCLE's budget is $586,300, but $1 million in revenue is projected to be raised from MCLE sponsor fees, late filing fees, reinstate- ment fees, and noncompliance fees. The membership department's budget is $515,210, while bringing in approxi- mately $8.7 million in dues and $400,000 in past and penalty dues. These budgets do not include alloca- tion of costs for other departments that support the bar's regulatory func- tions. When factored into the equa- tion, the overall cost of the bar's regulatory functions is 68 percent of total expenditures. A description of some of the pro- grams mandated by the Supreme Court of Virginia rules follows: "Council, Committee and Boards" is a descriptive term used in the bud- get to cover travel reimbursement expenses, meeting-related expenses, and expenses for the volunteer com- mittee and board elections, VSB offi- cers, and the three council meetings held each year. The bar's committees, the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Board, the Disciplinary Board, and council, support and gov- ern the regulatory functions of the bar. Next year's budget for "Council, Committees and Boards" is $465,000, about the same as this year's. The Conference of Local Bar Associations was established to main- tain a mutually beneficial relationship between the VSB and the local and statewide bar associations. Local and specialty bar associations in Virginia comprise the Conference of Local Bar Associations. It sponsors a Bar Leaders Institute each year to help new local and statewide bar officers plan their bar year and assist them with ethical issues, various programs, and internal management policies and procedures. It also sponsors a Solo & Small-Firm Practitioner Forum open to all VSB members, sponsors awards of merit and a Local Bar Leader of the Year Award, maintains an information data- base and a resource and videotape library, and makes executive committee and staff members available for techni- cal assistance or presentations to local bars. The CLBA's budget for its BLI program is $9,000. Lawyers Helping Lawyers (LHL) is an independent, statewide, voluntary, confidential, peer assistance program. Its goal is to provide assistance to attor- neys, judges, law students, bar appli- cants, and others in the legal profession and their families with problems related to mental health and substance abuse. Services began in 1985 after a joint VBA and VSB committee recom- mendation. The organization accepts referrals from the VSB as part of the disciplinary process, but it strives to provide help before a situation Executive Director's Message by Karen A. Gould VSB Budget Time www.vsb.org April2014VL_vl0414 4/2/14 5:01 PM Page 10

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