Spring Sections Seminar Next Week, Regional Networking Events, and more. 

VADA Defense Line
April 2024


Happy spring as we begin the run down to summer and we are on the eve of our Spring Sections Seminar in Lynchburg. If you haven't registered already, please go ahead and do so. Our sections have banded together to develop a wonderful slate of programming and we expect to have a fantastic meeting. As we have always said, we are better when we are together and in person. Zoom and webinars got us through the tough days of the pandemic, but we are truly excited about being able to get together in the way that we always have. Mark your calendars and join us May 1-3 in Lynchburg.

We have had a busy legislative session with the final passage of SB-256 that is rewriting the landscape of potential bad faith litigation in Virginia. We will be paying special attention to this and our offerings going forward and I expect we will be actively involved in discerning what best practices are for our clients and ourselves in dealing with this new legislation. Special thanks Patrick O’Grady, Megan Wagner and the legislative committee for all of their hard work in tracking bills this session and seeking to have input into the legislative process on behalf of VADA.

Dealing with new legislation is not a new thing for VADA. One of the benefits of being a member at a firm started by of one of the VADA founders is that we have a fairly deep archive of VADA materials.  In addition to the human memory bank of my partner Alan Rashkind who has been present for much of VADA’s history, we also happened to find the 1977 first quarter VADA Newsletter.   While there is certainly a different zeitgeist from that time in history compared to now, Bob Furniss (in his last President’s Message before his untimely death in April 1977) captured the disadvantage defendants face in new legislation: “So successful have they been in Virginia that we can point to no legislation from Richmond in the last ten years that is of any help to the defendants or the defense bar in the trial of civil litigation.” 

In the end, whatever the rules are we will comply with them and advise our clients on how to stay within the boundaries set by Virginia law.   It is what we do for our clients and their indemnitors.  A fair and level playing field is our goal and we will work with our legislative committee and our amicus committee to ensure we are doing everything we can to meet that goal. So, if you get a call from someone asking you to help shoulder the wheel, I hope you will be able to find the time to do so.

James A. Cales III
VADA President 2023-24

May 1-3
The Virginian Hotel

Registration is still open for the 2024 Spring Sections Seminar, taking place May 1-3 at the historic Virginian Hotel in Lynchburg. Elevate your skills and connect with other civil defense attorneys at this specialized litigation event.

**Specialized Training** Our agenda covers a range of topics, including The Use of AI By Law Firms, Business Email Compromise and Ensuing Litigation: Who Bears the Loss?, "Supplemental" Expert Designations, and more. See the complete agenda on the meeting website

**Networking Opportunities** From the Welcome Reception at Tresca on 8th to the VADA Late Night Dessert Bar at Marigold's, we have events for you to connect, share insights, and build relationships with fellow civil defense attorneys.

**Additional Learning** Your registration includes a complimentary ethics general session, "Ethical Obligations for Lawyers.”

You are invited to join fellow VADA members from your area for networking, food and fun, courtesy of our sponsor, Planet Depos.

The events are free, but registration is requested, using the links below.

Potomac Region
May 14
Circa at The Boro

Southwest Region
May 21
Fork in the Alley

Capitol Region
June 13
Bar West

Events are being planned for other regions, so watch your email for further details.

The Women’s Section is thrilled to be hosting dinner at The Craddock Terry Hotel during the Spring Sections Seminar at the Virginian Hotel in Lynchburg. The dinner will be on May 2, 2024 at 6:45 p.m. Add this to your meeting registration.

The Women’s Section plans to send a letter to chief judges throughout the Commonwealth, offering the Section’s support and input on accommodations during court for women who are pumping. Please email Taylor Brewer if you are interested in participating in the virtual kickoff meeting scheduled for 10:00 am on May 9. 

When this Double Hoo and proud mother of three is not in the office, you’re most likely to find her in her garden or spending time with her family.  For this, and much more, on this month’s VADA Spotlighted Member, click here.

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

May 1-3
Spring Sections Seminar
The Virginian, Lynchburg

May 31
Board Meeting
Virginia Beach

October 23
Board Meeting
Kingsmill, Williamsburg

October 23-25
Annual Meeting
Kingsmill, Williamsburg

December 6
Young Lawyers Boot Camp



March 14-15
Mediation Workshop

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.

Melissa H. Katz
McGavin, Boyce, Bardot, Thorsen & Katz, P.C.

Congratulations to VADA Past President Melissa Katz on being named to the 2024 class of the Virginia Lawyers Hall of Fame, sponsored by Virginia Lawyers Weekly! Congrats, Melissa and this year’s other honorees on this well-deserved honor!

It’s membership renewal time! We are still processing renewals every day – if you have questions about your membership status please reach out to Executive Director Sherma Mather at smather@vada.org or Membership Section Chair Dare Essig at dessig@goodmanallen.com for more information.

Please welcome our newest VADA members!

Lisa Duley
Harman Claytor Corrigan Wellman

Rachel Lower
Roanoke County Attorney’s Office

Peter Lubeck
Roanoke County Attorney’s Office

Joseph Matherly
Hancock Daniel

Kasey McNamara
Mitchell Banks

Mary Beth Nash
Glenn Robinson & Cathey

Melissa Reading
Hancock Daniel

Alphonso Simon
Richmond City Attorney’s Office

Christopher Quirk
Byrne Canaan

Warm Weather Wellness Habits

Spring symbolizes new growth and new beginnings. As the temperatures rise and the seasons change, it is a perfect time to focus on health and wellness. Below are healthy habits and tips to make the most out of the season.

Stay Hydrated

According to a recent study, 47% of Americans are dehydrated.* The recommended water intake is 9-13 cups (or 2-3 liters) per day, depending on gender, age, activity level, and other factors. Hydration is essential to sustaining overall health because it gets rid of waste, brings nutrients to cells, protects joints and organs, and maintains body temperature.  There are many ways we can develop good hydration habits, including buying a reusable water bottle, drinking a cup of water first thing in the morning and before meals, and adding a natural flavor to water.  

Spring Clean Your Office

Spring cleaning does not have to be just for our homes. Decluttering our work environment can help create a more productive and positive atmosphere. Clear your desk from any physical items you do not regularly use; empty out and clean desk drawers and office supplies; and invest in storage organizers to keep a tidy work environment.

Get Outside

Studies show that exposure to sunlight positively impacts cognitive function, attention, and memory.** It also provides wellness benefits such as better sleep quality and mood.  Make it a habit to incorporate the outdoors into your work life by taking a walk break, eating lunch outside, to exercising. On the weekends, you can advantage of the many hikes and shorelines that Virginia has to offer.

Digital Detox

Setting aside time to unplug can reduce stress, enhance sleep quality, and foster deeper real-life connections. A digital detox designates specific periods of the day to reduce or eliminate the use of technology. Instead, the time is focused on non-digital activities like reading, spending time with loved ones, exercising, or meditating.


* https://civicscience.com/forty-seven-percent-of-americans-dont-drink-enough-water-plus-more-h2o-insights/#:~:text=The%20latest%20CivicScience%20polling%20shows,drink%20more%20than%20eight%20glasses.

** Wang J, Wei Z, Yao N, Li C, Sun L. Association Between Sunlight Exposure and Mental Health: Evidence from a Special Population Without Sunlight in Work. Risk Manag Healthc Policy. 2023 Jun 14;16:1049-1057. doi: 10.2147/RMHP.S420018. PMID: 37337544; PMCID: PMC10277019.

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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
    11533 Busy Street, #327
    N. Chesterfield, VA  23236
    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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