Spring Sections Seminar this Week, Free Meditation Class, Coronavirus and Insurance Coverage Webinar, and more.

VADA Defense Line May 2020

President's Welcome 

The “pause” button on COVID-19 has been lifted in some regards through the Virginia Supreme Court’s “Fourth Order Modifying and Extending Declaration of Judicial Emergency in Response to COVID-19 Emergency.” The tolling provisions on discovery have been lifted effective May 18, 2020, and attorneys and courts are encouraged to use remote court hearings to resolve irreconcilable disputes. Courts are now also permitted to use their discretion to hold in-person civil court hearings, if emergency COVID-19 guidelines are met. While the “play” button has been hit, we are still in slow motion. Normalcy will eventually return to our legal practices, although “when” still remains a question. Until then, we need to continue to adapt to the reality of the forced changes of COVID-19. I have been in practice long enough to remember the advent of the fax machine, the internet and electronic discovery. With each new technological change, we have learned how to adapt and use it to enhance and benefit our practices. The courts, too, have followed our lead and promulgated rules addressing and permitting the use of these new tools. COVID-19 has accelerated more proliferate use of remote technology. In order to keep our practices on track, it is important that we embrace and become proficient at using remote methods to conduct meetings, depositions, and court hearings. It is this adaptability that is critical to sustained practice.

The Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys has also adapted during these unsettling times. While VADA has been sidelined (temporarily!) from providing live events, we remain dedicated to providing the highest quality continuing legal education seminars. Our Director of Meetings, Amy Gilbody, and Executive Director, Sherma Mather, have researched available methodologies used by DRI and other state defense bars so that our traditional events can continue in the present COVID-19 world. For instance, our Spring Sections Seminar has moved online and will be held this week, via webinar. VADA will continue to think outside the box in order to continue with our programming and events. We also encourage you to contact us if you have any thoughts or ideas as to how we can continue to improve our services to you. Our overriding objective is to continue to provide the best service to our members in order to fulfill our mission statement of “assist[ing] Virginia attorneys in the professional and ethical representation of their clients in civil litigation through education, communication and fellowship.”

Melissa H. Katz
VADA President, 2019-20


Spring Sections Seminar Moves Online
This Thursday and Friday

Our popular annual specialized litigation sections training, the Spring Sections Seminar, has moved online this year. Our litigation sections will offer relevant, timely topics presented by leaders in that area, via webinar, on May 14-15. The agenda and online registration can be found on the meeting website where you'll see that our section leaders and speakers have developed an excellent agenda, including a virtual networking reception sponsored by S-E-A.

You can register for as much or as little as you want. The program has been approved for up to 14.0 CLE hours and qualifies for your live interactive requirement. This is an excellent opportunity to improve your legal knowledge, get your CLEs, and support VADA. We hope you will register today.

Supreme Court of Virginia Order

UPDATE: The Supreme Court of Virginia entered May 6, 2020, an Order modifying and extending the Supreme Court's declaration of judicial emergency in response to COVID-19. Highlights of the Court's Order include: (1) a suspension of all civil and criminal jury trials; (2) a continuation through June 7, 2020, of the tolling of the statute of limitations and all case-related deadlines, except those pertaining to discovery; (3) effective May 18, 2020, an end to tolling in civil cases of any deadlines arising under Part IV of the Rules; (4) effective May 18,2020, permission for courts to conduct in person hearings on non-emergency matters, provided compliance with social distancing and other COVID-19 protocols can be met; and (5) authorization for courts to accept pleadings, orders, and other documents bearing electronic or scanned signatures. For the full text of the Supreme Court's Order, which is effective May 18, 2020, through June 7, 2020, visit their website.

Thursday, May 21
12:00 PM

Register online here.

Free for VADA members and their paralegals.

Coronavirus and Insurance Coverage - What Attorneys Need to Know

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has caused worldwide disruption – including widespread illness, deaths, cancellations, and closures.  

Join VADA Immediate Past President John Mumford of Hancock Daniel and VADA Policy Coverage Section Chair Guy Harbert of Gentry Locke who will discuss insurance coverage issues which will emerge from injury, financial losses, and other damages caused by COVID-19, as well as the impact COVID-19 might play on insurance markets in the future.  

Mindfulness and Meditation for
Pandemics and Skeptics
Presented in Partnership with the
VBA Young Lawyers Division

May 13 at 3:00 PM

Does the thought of sitting still in meditation for 30 minutes sound like torture?  Impossible?  This meditation class is for the skeptic with the really busy mind and fidgety body.  

The class will begin with some basic stretching and movement that will not require a change of clothing or special props.  Bring an open mind and something to sit on- a chair, mat or towel. You'll leave refreshed, calm and with tools to help you focus and tame even the most wild monkey mind.   The event is free to VADA members and their paralegals.

Wednesday, May 13
3:00 PM

Register online here.

Free for VADA members and their paralegals

Remote Trivia

May 20
Via Zoom


Featuring Remote Trivia

Join us for an evening of networking and fun with fellow VADA members, from the comfort of your home. In addition to connecting with your regional colleagues, we will test your knowledge of general trivia, current events and maybe even throw in a few bar prep questions. 

Mark your calendar now for these upcoming VADA events.  Be sure to bookmark VADA Upcoming Events so you don't miss out.

Watch your email for updates on all upcoming events.

May 13
Meditation & Mindfulness
Via Zoom

May 14-15
Spring Sections Seminar 
Via Webinar

May 20
Potomac Region Happy Hour
Online Virtual Happy Hour

May 21
Coronavirus & Insurance Coverage
Via Webinar

June 19
VADA Board Meeting
Via Zoom

This lifelong Northern Virginian and longtime VADA member is an accomplished litigator, keyboardist, and sprint triathlete. Unbeknownst to many, he can also juggle and ride a unicycle! To learn more about this month’s VADA Spotlighted Member, click here.

ABCs of Lawyering
During the Pandemic

By Joyvan Malbon-Griffin, Esq.
Minnesota Lawyers Mutual

Let’s face facts – COVID-19 came in like a wrecking ball. Parents have become teachers, ballet practices are on iPads, the sports world has a void as large as a black hole and reality tv has come to a screeching holt. And then there’s the practicing attorney. Working from home, taking calls in between our kids’ naps, trying to scan discovery requests on our 16-year-old scanners – it can be one stressful time. Many attorneys are concerned about their clients, how to pay overhead expenses and potential claims. Just remember to follow the ABCs of Lawyering During the Pandemic:

A – A voicemail or email is just as important now as it was when you were in the office. Don’t forget to check and return voicemails and emails promptly.

B - Be sure to have an electronic and written calendar for deadlines. Don’t give opposing counsel an advantage by showing the court you couldn’t respond to discovery in a timely fashion.

C - Call your malpractice insurance company the moment you think you might have missed a deadline, given incorrect information to a client, or anything else that could result in a claim. You don’t want to get denied for failure to timely report.

History has shown us that times will get better eventually. Hang in there and know that Minnesota Lawyers Mutual is here to help if you have any questions regarding malpractice insurance. Together, we can make a difference.

VADA Inaugural Virtual Networking Reception a Success!

Many thanks to all who attended our Southwestern Region Virtual Networking Happy Hour, a VADA first! Thanks, too, to The River and Rail restaurant, Planet Depos, J.S. Held, LLC, and everyone else involved in the planning of this event!

Potomac region members, don't miss your virtual happy hour May 20.

The General Assembly reconvened on April 22.  HB651 which specifies what actions qualify for statutory recoupment will be effective July 1, 2020 as 8.01-422.

Thank you to everyone who has renewed their membership for 2020. Please take a few minutes to check in with your office administrator and colleagues to make sure no renewals have slipped through the cracks during this trying time.  We want to make sure that we do not miss offering the VADA’s resources to anyone who may need them.  If you are unsure of your membership status or want to check on members from your firm, please contact Sherma Mather at smather@vada.org or Sam Bernier at sbernier@faplawfirm.com for more information. 

DRI has compiled a range of resources to assist members during the COVID-19 crisis.  Visit DRI’s Coronavirus Information Center for information on topics like state and federal court operations, working remotely, human resources guidance, MCLE changes and updates, SBA loans, and much more.

Call for Webinar Content

We are always seeking new topic ideas for future webinars. Do you have a good idea? If so, please email your thoughts to Amy Gilbody at agilbody@vada.org. 

Join our social media sites where we post current court updates, legal developments, and relevant COVID-19 information.  

VADA’S Mission

The mission of the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys is to assist Virginia attorneys in the professional and ethical representation of their clients in civil litigation through education, communication and fellowship.

Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys
1915 Huguenot Road, Ste 301
Richmond, VA  23235