Women's Section Chat, Deposition Workshop Registration Opens, and more... 

VADA Defense Line 


I hope you all are enjoying a happy and healthy start to the holiday season. The atmosphere was certainly festive at our recent Young Lawyers Boot Camp at Drive Shack Short Pump on December 2. The event was a resounding success, thanks to the hard work of our Director of Meetings Amy Gilbody, our excellent speakers, and our generous sponsors. I am pleased to report that attendees included 27 new members of the VADA! Their excitement and eagerness to learn their craft was both palpable and inspiring.

As 2022 draws to a close, I invite you to mark your calendars for a few upcoming events. On January 10, 2023 at noon, the Women’s Section will host its first “informal chat” via Zoom. The Women’s Section has also recently launched a private forum. Please email Amy Gilbody if you would like to be added.

On March 3-4, 2023, we will host our Deposition Workshop at the University of Richmond. This interactive, two-day program will address navigation of commonplace issues such as a difficult opposing counsel, a lying deponent, experts, sympathetic and minor plaintiffs, and more. Day two will feature a breakout session with deposition role-playing and critique from senior attorneys. Space is limited, so register today from the meeting website.

Our Spring Sections Seminar will be May 3-5, 2023 at Hotel 24 South in Staunton. Your Section Chairs and Vice-Chairs are hard at work planning timely and substantive content. You won’t want to miss it!

Finally, please save the date for our Annual Meeting at the fabulous Marriott Virginia Beach Oceanfront on October 25-27, 2023. Stay tuned to our website, Defense Line newsletter, and social media platforms for more information on all VADA happenings.

I look forward to seeing you at a VADA event soon. I wish you all a restful and rejuvenating holiday and may we all resolve to find joy and purpose in our practices in the new year!

Julie S. Palmer
VADA President 2022-2023

March 3-4, 2023
Jepson Alumni Center at University of Richmond

This two-day workshop will teach you 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 four-person 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 make suggestions.

Space is limited, so register now.

Informal Chat
January 10

We will have our first Informal Chat for the Women’s Section on January 10, 2023, at 12:00 pm.  Please plan to join us via Zoom while eating lunch at your desk.  The agenda is open.  The purpose of these chats is to share triumphs and fails and everything in between, from both our professional and personal lives, and to support each other through it all. 

Please reach out to Rachel and Taylor with any questions.  We look forward to seeing everyone in the New Year!


The current year has seen 80 new members join VADA!  Of this number, five are members who rejoined VADA after their membership lapsed.   We deeply appreciate each and every one of our members.  If you are not a VADA member, and would like to join, click here for complete details!

Introducing our At Large Directors for 2022-23! Beginning in the top left are Philip Abbruscato of Fox Rothschild LLP; Kathryn Bonorchis of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, LLP; Jerry Harris of the Virginia Beach City Attorney's Office; Laura May Hooe of Moran Reeves Conn; Sarah Jessee of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, LLP; Elizabeth Papoulakos of Harman Claytor Corrigan & Wellman; and Stewart Pollock of Moran Reeves Conn.

Thank you all for your leadership and your service to our Association!

We will have our first Informal Chat on January 10, 2023, at 12:00 pm. Please join us via Zoom while eating lunch at your desk. The agenda is open, and the purpose of these chats is to share triumphs and fails and everything in between.

Don't forget to join the VADA Women’s Section Listserv.  This Listserv is private and not connected to the VADA website.  Only members of the Women’s Section may request to join the Listserv, and Amy Gilbody and Sherma Mather have exclusive rights to add any current member to the Women’s Section. To join the Listserv, please email Sherma at smather@vada.org or Amy at agilbody@vada.org.

We look forward to seeing you in January!

Be sure to bookmark VADA Upcoming Events so you don't miss out.


January 10
Women's Section Chat

January 24
VADA Lobby Day

March 3-4
Deposition Workshop
University of Richmond

May 3-5
Spring Sections Seminar
Hotel 24 South, Staunton

TBD Summer 2023
Paralegal Seminar

October 25-27
Annual Meeting
Marriott Resort Virginia Beach Oceanfront

This native of Silver Spring, Maryland, loves the outdoors and being active.  Among her advice to new attorneys?  Ask a lot of questions, cut yourself some slack, and make time for your life outside the office.  For this and more on this month’s VADA Spotlighted Member, click here.

MIssed A Webinar
or Meeting?

Did you know that many VADA Lunch & Learn webinars and online programs are available to watch on-demand? Click here to see the library of available content, which can be found in the members-only area of our website.

The 2023 legislative session is scheduled to begin on January 11 and will meet for at least 30 calendar days. As always, VADA will monitor legislation that is important to our members and carefully track the issues you care about. VADA will be well represented in the 2023 session by Margaret Rockwell, Kassie Schroth, and their team at McGuireWoods Consulting.

This past November marked the first time that Virginians voted in congressional districts drawn based on the new bipartisan redistricting constitutional amendment adopted in the 2020 November election. The amendment established a bipartisan redistricting commission tasked with drafting and approving state and federal district maps. The commission, however, failed to reach consensus on either state or federal maps, thereby punting responsibility to the Supreme Court of Virginia. The Supreme Court appointed two “special masters,” or experts in the field of redistricting, from both the Republican and Democratic Parties of Virginia to redraw the maps. Ultimately, the Supreme Court unanimously approved three final maps – for the State House, State Senate, and U.S. Congress – in late December 2021, thus setting the stage for the next decade of political battles in Virginia.

At the state level, the 2023 elections will have every delegate and senator in the Virginia General Assembly on the ballot. As the 2023 General Assembly session is the last session before the November election, we may see a collection of campaign-centric bills that are meant to communicate a statement or a stance before campaign season begins.

Pre-filed legislation began “dropping” on the General Assembly website on November 15, 2022. You can review these bills here. VADA will closely monitor all introduced legislation and will keep our members apprised of bills that impact the issues we care about.

Separately, we are thrilled to announce that VADA will host its second Lobby Day on the morning of January 24, 2023, in Richmond. We are excited to continue this annual event and we ask you to watch your inboxes for further details should you wish to participate!

Noteworthy Supreme Court Case Developments 
Cara Schmidt
McGavin, Boyce, Bardot, Thorsen & Katz, P.C.

The Supreme Court released a new opinion recently clarifying that uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage are the same “tranche” of insurance, not separate ones. (If a policy provides $50,000 of UM/UIM coverage, it’s not $50k for the UM claim and another $50k for the UIM claim in the same accident.) The opinion references a split among the circuit courts on this issue, so this could be helpful moving forward. 

Practice Tips
Emily Blake
McGavin, Boyce, Bardot, Thorsen & Katz, P.C.

From now on, when we remove cases to federal court in Virginia based on diversity of citizenship, the attached form needs to be filled out as well as the Court’s Financial Interest Disclosure Statement.

Josephine Battles
Harman Claytor Corrigan Wellman

Kelly Cousoulis
Carr Maloney

Philip DiStanislao
Butler Snow

Jeffrey Gaull
Wilson Elser

Nathaniel Obinwa|
Wimbish Gentile McCray Roeber

Ashley Odonkor
Crenshaw Ware Martin

Erica Piotrowski
Crenshaw Ware Martin

Nia White
McCandlish Holton

Back in October, The Atlantic published an article titled “How did Healing Ourselves Get So Exhausting?” Here’s the subheading from it: “Wellness has become yet another obligation to fit into our schedules.” Ouch.

As you might imagine, the author makes some not-so-subtle jabs and, at times, downright blatant indictments of what Star Wars fans might refer to as the “Dark Side” of the concepts of “wellness” and “self-care.” Whether it is the commoditization of “wellness” or the point at which “self-care” becomes a burden rather than relief, I would agree that there is at least a grain of truth to the notion that practicing the art of “being well” can feel almost counterproductive at times. We are regularly inundated with “new” tips, tricks, tech, and trends for practicing wellness and stories and images of people who seem to have no shortage of time to engage in the art of self-care. And I am confident that for those of you on social media, the inundation increases exponentially. It is easy to be lured into feeling that your routine is inadequate or worse, that wellness has become obligatory instead of purposeful.

Perhaps it is time to get back to basics or, at the very least, find what outlets actually work for you. If you are spending money or time on something but do not feel like you are receiving any return, consider a change. It is no coincidence that certain wellness staples—basic exercise, sufficient rest, meaningful interaction, etc.—continue to outlast each year’s, month’s, week’s, or hour’s new trend. To that end, as we approach the New Year and everyone is thinking about those pesky resolutions for 2023, consider hitting the “reset” button on your efforts to take care of yourself. And if you can, seek out something simple, and maybe think twice before incorporating the latest viral TikTok health hack into your routine.

Happy Holidays from your Wellness Committee.

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    VADA’S Mission

    The mission of the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys is to develop and support Virginia attorneys engaged in a civil defense practice in the professional and ethical representation of their clients through education, communication and fellowship.

    Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys
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    Richmond, VA  23235
    804-649-1002 | www.vada.org

    Executive Director: Sherma Mather
    Director of Meetings: Amy Gilbody
    Journal of Civil Litigation Managing EditorMolly Terry

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