Spring Meeting Next Week - Registration Still Open, Regional Receptions,  Legislative Update, and more... 

VADA Defense Line 


I begin this month with a message of heartfelt appreciation to all involved in our recent Deposition Workshop, which was held at the University of Richmond on March 3-4, 2023. To those who registered for the Workshop, I hope you found it to be of benefit to you in your practice. To my fellow coaches, Jim Cales, Chris Dadak, Melissa Katz, and Tate Love, and our CLE presenters, Sam Bernier, Tate Love, Melissa Katz, and Marshall Ross, thank you for sharing your time and expertise with our members. Thank you, too, to our sponsors (many of whom doubled as witnesses and CLE presenters), our Young Lawyers Section for hosting, Amy, Sherma, and everyone else who had a hand in the planning of this successful event!

Last month, Sherma and I attended the VTLA Annual Convention, where we had the pleasure of seeing our own Lisa Frisina receive the 2023 VTLA-VADA Civility and Professionalism Award. Congratulations, Lisa, on this well-deserved honor.

Next, we look forward to our Spring Sections Seminar at the Hotel 24 in Staunton, May 3-5.  Our Section Chairs and Vice-Chairs have worked hard to put together an excellent lineup of speakers and topics for this year’s Seminar.  Along with top-quality CLE programming, we have on tap a number of opportunities to relax, network, and connect with old friends.  For those who are members of our Women’s Section, please be sure to register for the Women’s Section dinner on Thursday evening.

In keeping with our initiative to support the communities in which we gather and practice, we will be holding a support drive for Valley Mission during the Spring Meeting. First known as the Gospel Army Rescue Mission in 1971, Valley Mission works to support both the physical and spiritual needs of the homeless. Valley Mission provides temporary shelter and comprehensive case management services for more than 700 clients each year. We will be accepting monetary or in-kind donations for Valley Mission during the Spring Meeting. You can make a monetary donation directly on their website. For in-kind donations, the items most needed are:

·      Cleaning supplies

·      Men’s t-shirts in primary colors (not white)

·      Medical supplies (over-the-counter pain relievers, Neosporin, travel size Q-tips and other items)

·      Umbrellas

I look forward to seeing each of you soon in Staunton, and at other VADA events through the remainder of this year.  In the meantime, enjoy the rejuvenation of spring, and thank you for your continued support of the VADA.

Julie S. Palmer
VADA President, 2022-23


Registration is still open for next week's Spring Sections Seminar.  We will return to the popular Hotel 24 South (formerly the Stonewall Jackson) in Staunton for two days of litigation section-specific sessions, as well as many social events.

New This Year
"Speaking with the Enemy? Communicating with Opposing Counsel," ethics general session, which is complimentary for all registrants.

"Sip & Shop" Welcome Reception at Yelping Dog Wine store and CFO Trading Company

We will also hold a support drive for Valley Mission, which works to support both the physical and spiritual needs of the homeless and provides temporary shelter and comprehensive case management services for more than 700 clients each year. We will be accepting monetary or in-kind donations for the Mission.  Learn how to donate and what is needed on the meeting website.

See the full agenda and register now on the meeting website.

Join us for networking and fun with fellow VADA members.  Drinks, snacks, and exciting raffle prizes provided by our sponsors, Planet Depos and InQuis.  For an extra raffle ticket, bring a colleague who is not yet a VADA member.  Registration is free, but RSVPs are requested on the event page.

Potomac Region
May 18
Settle Down Easy Brewing in Falls Church

Capitol Region
June 1
Home of Kathleen McCauley

Tidewater Region
September 14
Grain at The Main in Norfolk

Watch your email for date and location for the Blue Ridge Region.

On April 12, the General Assembly reconvened for “Veto Session.” On this day, members vote on legislation that has already passed both chambers but has been amended or vetoed by Governor Youngkin. Of the 78 bills that were considered, the General Assembly accepted the Governor’s amendments for 62 bills. The 16 bills with amendments that were rejected by the General Assembly will return to the Governor in their original format. Governor Youngkin then has the choice between accepting the original language of the bill or ultimately vetoing the bill. All three of the Governor’s vetoes were sustained by the legislature.

Meanwhile, the House and the Senate have not agreed to a budget compromise. The $1 billion in tax cuts proposed by the House of Delegates remains a sticking point. However, the latest general fund revenue collections for February 2023 were 1.2 percent higher in the first eight months of FY 2023, compared to the same period the previous year. Relative to the official forecast updated in December, unadjusted general fund revenues are ahead of forecast by $111.3 million year-to-date. This means that there may be more funds to work with in the budget, which may offer some additional breathing room during negotiations.

There is hope that a new budget could be finalized at the end of June, however, it is worth noting that the state government is not in danger of shutting down should a budget compromise fail to be reached by July 1. There is already a working budget that is being used for FY23 and FY24, so if no agreement on an updated version is agreed to, the state will continue to use the current version.

In December of 2023, VADA will start gearing up for the 2024 General Assembly Session. We will return to a “long” session of 60 days in 2024, unlike this year’s “short” session of 45 days. With all 140 seats up for election this fall and a large number of retirements announced, the General Assembly will have many new faces next January. 

Join the Women’s Section at the Spring Meeting: We’ll meet from 6:45 to 8:45 pm on Thursday, May 4, for pizza and drinks at Ox-Eye Vineyards, within walking distance of Hotel 24 South.  Tickets are $50 per person.  Register on the website when you register for the Meeting!

Don't forget to join the 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

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


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

May 18
Potomac Region Networking EventFalls Church

June 1
Capitol Region Networking Event

TBD Summer 2023
Paralegal Seminar

September 14
Tidewater Region Networking Event

October 25-27
Annual Meeting
Marriott Resort Virginia Beach Oceanfront

December 1
Young Lawyers Boot Camp

This Charlottesville native and U.S. Marine Corps veteran never enters a courthouse without Disc One of Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti.  For this and much more on this month’s VADA Spotlighted Member, click here.

Save the date!

September 20, 2023 will be the Frank N. Cowan VADA-VTLA Annual Golf Tournament at Independence Golf Course. Our thanks to the McCammon Group for their continued support of this event!

For information on playing, please contact VADA Past President John Owen at jowen@hccw.com or Sherma Mather at smather@vada.org.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Frank N. Cowan VADA-VTLA Annual Golf Tournament

September 20, 2023

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.


It’s not too late to renew your membership with VADA! If you have questions about your membership status, please reach out to Executive Director Sherma Mather at smather@vada.org for more information.

Caroline Davis
Duane, Hauck, Davis, Gravatt & Campbell

Jason King
Frith Anderson + Peake

Christopher Trible
McGuire Woods

Rachel Warden
Byrne Canaan Law

Maintaining Zen During Trial

Taylor D. Brewer
Moran Reeves Conn 

Sitting at counsel table on day four of a five-day trial last month, I felt my smartwatch buzz three times.  I glanced down to a “red alert” notification that my watch had detected a new trend over the last seven days – an increase in resting heart rate.  Trial is not the most relaxing part of the job, so this notification was not all that surprising.  Research shows that the right amount of stress is good for us, and most of us even enjoy the adrenaline rush of trial every now and then. Nevertheless, sustainability and sanity are important. 

A polling of VADA members produced the following ideas on how to maintain zen during trial: 

While in the courtroom:

  1. Be prepared
  2. Deep breathing; exhale for longer than you inhale
  3. Count to three before you respond to a heated objection or argument
  4. Repeat meaningful/inspirational quotes and sayings
  5. Visualize an upcoming vacation
While preparing for the next day:
  1. Soothing music, essential oils, herbal tea, meditation, melatonin
  2. Go for a 30-minute walk or run and do not talk or think about the case during that time
  3. Create a schedule that includes dinner, to-do items, and a set bedtime, and adhere to that routine as closely as possible

As a mentor recently told me – regardless of what happens in trial, the sun will rise again tomorrow.

Join our social media sites where we post current court updates, relevant legal developments, and much, much more!  

    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
    1915 Huguenot Road, Ste. 301
    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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