Young Lawyers Boot Camp December 4, Virtual Bingo December 15, Legislative Update, New Location for Deposition Workshop, and more. .

VADA Defense Line November 2020

President's Welcome

Our new Fall Webinar was a great success and another example of how VADA has pivoted this year to meet our members’ needs. We extend thanks to our attendees and speakers who joined us for this event. Special thanks to Patrick Eller and Metadata Forensics for sponsoring the event.

We also look forward to our annual Young Lawyers Boot Camp on December 4 in Richmond. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this event will be virtual-only. We had hoped to host a hybrid event, but recent developments necessitated a change. This is a must-attend event for any new lawyers. This is a rotating two-year program, so even if you went last year, please consider attending again this year.

Amy Gilbody, our Director of Meetings, had an excellent site visit to Lynchburg where we will move our popular Deposition Workshop in March of 2021. We are incredibly grateful to our new host, Liberty University School of Law, who boasts a unique moot courtroom patterned after the interior chambers of the U.S. Supreme Court. Our host hotel, the Craddock Terry, is in a former shoe factory right on the river downtown – do not miss meeting the hotel's “official greeter and concierge,” Penny Loafer, a Wire Fox Terrier.

Finally, our Spring Sections Seminar will be May 5-7 at the Boar’s Head Inn, which has been renovated since our last visit.

Please go to for more information on all of our meetings.

I continue to strive to see that the VADA works with the VTLA, VSB, VBA, Supreme Court and other bar organizations and stakeholders to learn to practice law effectively and safely in the midst of a pandemic. I encourage any VADA members who have had a jury trial since the pandemic to share their experiences with me. I want to foster sharing amongst ourselves of tips and best practices for trying a jury case during this time.

Have you voted yet for the VSB president-elect? If not, I encourage you do so here.

Thank you for your continued support of VADA. I hope to see you soon, either in person or on a Zoom screen.

Tate C. Love
VADA President, 2020-21

Register today for our popular Young Lawyers Boot Camp, which is now via webinar only due to COVID. 

This one-day seminar on December 4 is where newer attorneys learn the practical information needed to practice defense law. Sessions will be taught by experienced members of the civil defense bar and the judiciary. 

We have a different agenda than 2019, so plan to register again. We'll discuss:

  • Your Role as Second Chair
  • What the Insurance Adjustor Needs from You: Teamwork in Insurance Claims
  • Tips for Practice in the Eastern District of Virginia
  • How to Try a Case in General District Court
  • Spoliation
  • Your First Jury Trial
  • Judicial Advice for New Lawyers Judges Panel Discussion

The program will be offered via webcast. Register today here.

VADA members, it’s Bingo Time!

Join us at 7 pm on Tuesday, December 15, for an evening of networking and fun with fellow VADA members from around the Commonwealth. All games will be played entirely online. There will be prizes for the winners courtesy of our sponsors Planet Depos, J.S. Held, and Young & Associates! Registration is free to all VADA members, though RSVPs are requested. Click here for more details, and to RSVP. We hope to see you there!

New Location at Liberty University School of Law

Our Deposition Workshop is a hands-on, two-day workshop to learn the skills needed to: (1) face down a bullying senior plaintiffs’ attorney; (2) handle a lying deponent; (3) pull the information you need out of a reticent deponent; (4) ensure that what you discover in depositions is admissible in court; (5) use the latest in technology to build an air-tight case; (6) depose experts effectively; (7) handle sympathetic or minor deponents; and more!

The second day will be spent in breakouts in which each new attorney will play the parts of deponent, defense attorney, plaintiffs’ attorney, and observer. At each stage of the depositions, senior coach-attorneys will critique performances and suggest approaches to use.

Registration will open soon.


We are pleased to introduce to you our Regional Directors for 2020-21! Beginning in the top row, from L to R, are: Blue Ridge, Lauren Darden of Wharton Aldhizer & Weaver; Capitol, Lindsay Rollins of Hancock Daniel & Johnson PC; Potomac, Madelaine Kramer of Sands Anderson; Tidewater, Jonathan Hyslop of Furniss Davis Rashkind and Saunders; and Southwest, Matt Kelley of Frith Anderson + Peake PC. Thank you to each of you for your leadership and your service to VADA!

Recent announcements confirm that VADA advocacy at the 2021 General Assembly will be challenging.

The Senate will limit each member to 12 bills. The House of Delegates is considering a bill limit range of eight to 10. Also, the Joint Republican Caucus stated that it will vote against the customary 15 day extension of the session. In response, the Democrats have threatened to schedule a concurrent or consecutive special session. Depending on which gambit prevails, the session could be 30 days -- or indefinite -- in duration. And finally, the House announced that all of its proceedings will be virtual.

Each of these procedural gyrations makes it likely that many complex or controversial bills will either not be introduced or punted to 2022.

It’s not too late to renew your membership! If you’re unsure of your membership status, reach out to Executive Director Sherma Mather at or Membership Chair Sam Bernier at for more information.

When a new member joins due to your referral, you get a $25 DoorDash gift card!  If the new member was referred by their firm or by more than one person, contact Sherma for details. 

Jerrell Williams – J Williams PLLC

Laura Berry – Harman Claytor Corrigan & Wellman

Justin Guthrie – Harman Claytor Corrigan & Wellman

Brianna Jackson – Harman Claytor Corrigan & Wellman

Melissa Wiles – Bancroft McGavin Horvath and Judkins

Spencer Murchison – Ford Richardson

Oheneba Amposonah – Vasseghi Law PLLC

Hailey Wilkes – Carr Maloney PC

Daniel Stephens Vandeventer Black

Gaela Normile –Vandeventer Black

Emily Strak Babcock Moore

Alexandra Monaco – Franklin & Prokopik

Karl Warcholik – Hancock Daniel & Johnson

Jack O'Neal – Johnson Ayers & Matthews

By:  Melissa Katz


How to Optimize Productivity for a Winning Day

If you are serious about running a marathon, you will train for it.  You will set a projected pace and calculate your estimated finish time.  In order to meet this ambitious goal, you will prepare, plan, and execute accordingly.  You win each time you follow your training plan. 

Why should your work day be any different?  If you want to “win” the work day, you need to develop a plan that you can accomplish and a strategy to keep you on target.  This doesn’t include making a lengthy “to do” list that is never ending.    You aren’t going to run 26.1 miles each time you go out and train for your marathon.  Instead, you are going to develop a focused game plan of specific daily training.  Your work day should be no different.    Just like training for a marathon, you can get to the finish line every day if you optimize your productivity by developing a daily game plan.    The following are some suggestions to help you devise a winning day.    

  • Forget the long “to do list”!    What are your top three action items that you want to get done?  They should be written down the evening before you start your day and on a sticky note.   The win comes from crossing these action items off at the end of the day.   You should be able to be complete these action items within a work day. 
  • “Eat that Frog!”  If you want to set the tone for a winning day – tackle the action item that you really don’t want to do first.   It’s similar to getting a morning work out in – you feel like a champion and game on!  Don’t procrastinate!  Check out:  Eat That Frog!:  21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time  by Brian Tracy.
  • Eliminate Digital Distractions.  Put your phone away and turn off your notifications – phone, text and email!  This is a major time suck.  Every time you pull away from a project to check your phone and/or notifications, it takes 11+ minutes on average to regain focus.  Even reading a text for 2.2 seconds significantly interrupts our state of flow.  The time we lose when we get off track!  In a Harvard Business Review article, statistics show that “smartphone users check their phones 150 times a day, which is the equivalent of spending 2.5 times just opening and closing the phone.”  “Our phones have become compulsions, rather than tools of efficiency.”   See
  • Schedule specific times for checking email, texts, and voicemails and limit the response time.  (For instance, carve out time at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. to check and then plan an end time).
  • Plan at least two “Deep Work” segments during the course of your day (1 ½ - 3 hours) and let your legal assistant and/or receptionist know that you aren’t available for calls during that window of time.   If you want to get real deep, put your air pods in and listen to the Brain.Fm app. and close your door.    “Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task.”  For more information, check out Deep Work by Cal Newport.
  • Try to do your “Deep Work” when you are fresh and at your peak performance.   We all have different circadian rhythms.  When do you do your best work?  Check out:  When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink.   Are you better in the morning, afternoon, or evening?
  • Set the tone.  Make sure your environment is clean, clutter free, and neat.  This will help motivate you to stay on track.  Get one assignment off your desk and then onto the next one.   The physical environment of our work space has a significant impact on how we work.  “When our space is a mess, so are we.”  “Cluttered spaces can have negative effects on our stress and anxiety levels, as well as our ability to focus . . . “  See
  • Energy!  Take care of yourself.  Sleep, nutrition, and exercise are critical components to feeling good.  It is much easier to stay on track, focus, concentrate, and maximize productivity when you are at your optimal.    
  • Enthusiasm.  Embrace each assignment and opportunity with zeal and best efforts.  Mindset is important.   Think of each action item, no matter how tough it seems, as a mental challenge to make you a better attorney and communicator.     
  • Check out the following resources for further motivational tips:
    The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
    Podcast: Compete Everyday by Jake Thompson
    Podcast: Optimize by Brian Johnson

The Virginia State Bar has asked the other statewide Bar associations to reach out to our members and encourage them to vote.

Online voting for the VSB president-elect election is now in progress. You may review the candidates’ bios and introduction videos online at; and read their short bios included on the ballot.

To vote, you can either use the specific election link that was emailed to you, or go to and click on Lawyer Login below the circle entitled Lawyer Resources. After you login, one of the options in the member portal is the president-elect election, and you can vote without having a link. Voting will close at 11:59 pm EST on Tuesday, December 1, 2020. Once you submit your candidate selection, you will not be able to revote. 

This Fort Knox, Kentucky, native, avid golfer, and fan of British comedy has a special appreciation for country singer Clint Black.  To learn more about this month’s VADA Spotlighed Member, click here.

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

December 4
Young Lawyers Boot Camp
via Webcast

December 15
Virtual Bingo
via Webcast

March 12-13
Deposition Workshop
Liberty University & Webcast

May 5-7
Spring Sections Seminar 
Boar's Head Inn, Charlottesville

October 20-22
Annual Meeting
Marriott Virginia Beach Oceanfront

On Veterans Day, and every day, we salute and pay tribute to the brave men and women who have served in our United States Military! We are fortunate to count among them several members of our Association. We honor and say thank you to a small sampling of them here.

Arthur T. Aylward

Midkiff, Muncie & Ross P.C.

United States Army

Samuel T. Bernier

Frith Anderson + Peake PC

United States Marine Corps

Graham Sebren Butler

The Butler Law Firm, P.C.

United States Army

Terrence L. Graves

Sands Anderson PC

United States Marine Corps

Gretchen A. Jackson

Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC

United States Army

James W. Jennings, Jr.

Woods Rogers PLC

United States Navy

John C. Johnson

Frith Anderson + Peake PC

United States Army Reserves

Richard E. Ladd, Jr.

Penn Stuart

United States Navy

Nicholas Joseph Lawrence

Bancroft McGavin Horvath & Judkins, PC

United States Marine Corps

Charles Carter Lee

Woods Rogers PLC

United States Army

Neal H. Lewis

Hancock Daniel & Johnson P.C.

United States Navy

Edward J. McNelis, III

Sands Anderson PC

United States Army

Charles F. Midkiff

Midkiff, Muncie & Ross P.C.

United States Army

David Charles Numrych

Law Offices of David C. Numrych P.C.

United States Air Force

Michael E. Olszewski

Hancock Daniel & Johnson, P.C.

United States Army

Joseph A. Piasta

Johnson Ayers & Matthews, PLC

United States Army

Dennis J. Quinn

Carr Maloney, P.C.

United States Navy

Jessica A. Swauger

Hancock Daniel & Johnson, P.C.

United States Navy

Jason R. Whiting

Johnson Ayers & Matthews, plc

United States Marine Corps

Carlyle R. "Randy" Wimbish

Wimbish Gentile McCray & Roeber, PLLC

United States Army

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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