Book Your Hotel for the Annual Meeting, Tidewater Networking Reception, and more... 

VADA Defense Line August 2022


Without looking at the calendar, you can tell it’s late August.  Summer is winding down.  Students are heading off to college and back to school.  Pumpkin spice and Halloween decorations fill the stores.  Slowly, but surely, even though it’s still Summer, we’re all gradually easing into the Fall routine.

I begin this month with an enthusiastic thank you to all who attended our 2022 Paralegal Seminar on August 8!  Thanks, too, to our speakers: Jim Cales, Lindsay Rollins, Jonathan Hyslop, Taylor Brewer, and Brandon Menzie; our sponsors: Planet Depos and Superior Document Services; our Director of Meetings, Amy Gilbody, and Executive Director, Sherma Mather; and everyone else involved in the planning of this event!

A well-deserved round of applause, as well, goes to our Women’s Section for sponsoring our August 9 Lunch & Learn!  We enjoyed having with us Kristin Richardson of Sherah and "You Don't Need to Do It All!"  Thank you, Kristin, for being with us!  Thanks, too, to all who attended!

Coming up, we have our Tidewater Region Happy Hour on September 6 at Grain inside Hilton Norfolk The Main.  Thank you to Planet Depos and Juridical Solutions for sponsoring this event!  Thank you, too, to our Tidewater Regional Director Jonathan Hyslop for putting this event together!  If you would like to attend this Happy Hour, which is FREE to current and potential VADA members, please visit our website to RSVP.  We hope you can join us!

The day after our Tidewater Happy Hour, Team VADA and Team VTLA face off at Independence Golf Club in Midlothian in the 2022 VADA/VTLA Frank N. Cowan Civility Golf Tournament.  If you’d like to join Team VADA, there’s still time to do so!  Contact Past President John Owen at or Sherma at

As we head into September, we’re now less than two months away from our 2022 Annual Meeting.  I hope to see each of you at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center October 12-14 as we celebrate another fantastic year of VADA!  Chaired by our Secretary Lindsay Rollins, our Annual Meeting Committee, along with Amy, Sherma, and our Section chairs and vice-chairs have put together an outstanding program!  In true VADA form, we have planned, too, a number of fun events to afford you an opportunity to relax, connect, and enjoy a sample of what our host city has to offer!  Please visit the VADA website to register and for full Annual Meeting details.

In conjunction with our Annual Meeting, I invite each of you to “Share the Warmth” by contributing to our 2022 VADA Winter Coat Drive!  From now until October 14, we are collecting new and gently used winter coats, children through teen. Cash donations, too, are both welcome and appreciated! As a way of saying thank you to the City of Roanoke for hosting us, all coats and funds collected benefit the students of Roanoke City Public Schools.  On behalf of our entire Board of Directors and membership, I thank you for your generosity and your support!

Until next month, stay safe and stay well.  Have a great Labor Day weekend!  Thank you, as always, for your support of VADA!

Jason Moyers
VADA President 2021-22


September 6
Grain Beer Garden at Hilton Norfolk The Main

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

The Hotel Roanoke is booking up fast, so book your room now. Our room block will be released the earlier of September 9 or when the block fills.

Don't miss out on three days of learning and networking with fellow civil defense attorneys. 

Sessions include:

  • The Future of the Defense Bar: Growing the Next Generation of Defense Attorneys
  • A Plaintiffs’ Attorneys’ Guide to an Effective Defense
  • So You’re a Lawyer? Tell Me More About ______ (Domestic Relations, Trusts & Estates, Traffic/Criminal Defense)
  • Restoring Jurors’ Faith in Science and Authorities: How to Cultivate Trustworthiness at Trial
  • To All the Defense Attorneys I’ve Loved Before: What In-House Counsel Wants You to Know 
  • A Nuts and Bolts Guide to Handling Appeals Before the Court of Appeals of Virginia 
  • Confronting Bias in the Courtroom and Beyond
  • Litigation section breakouts

Learn more and see the complete agenda on the meeting website.

Dine Arounds
Wednesday Night

Join your colleagues Wednesday night for a Dutch-treat dinner after the Welcome Reception and enjoy networking with colleagues at your restaurant of choice. Planning Committee members have made reservations at restaurants around town and will gather their groups together at the Welcome Reception about 7:15 to walk over. Sign up on the meeting webpage or use the button below.

September 10 - October 7

Join VADA for some competitive fun while you get moving with our Wellness Challenge!  The Leaderboard Challenge will track the greatest number of steps over the challenge and the Streak Challenge will track the greatest number of days a participant reaches 7,500 steps. 

Leaderboard & Streak Challenge prizes:

1st Place - Apple AirPods Pros
2nd Place - $120 Hello Fresh Gift Card
3rd Place - $50 Nike gift card

Winners must have also completed every daily wellness challenge. In the event of a tie, we will pick a winner at random from those qualified. Sign up on the meeting webpage or use the button below and join code "vada2022" if needed.

Additional activities include: 

  • Breakfast with the Judiciary
  • Women's Section Dinner
  • New Members' Reception
  • President's Welcome Reception
  • Reception at the Penthouse at Center in the Square
  • Late Nights
  • Community Service Project

Be sure to book your discounted hotel room at The Hotel Roanoke now, using the online book tool on the meeting website. The discounted room block will be released the earlier of September 9 or when it fills, so book today and then be sure to register for the meeting.

“Paying it Forward” is a VADA feature wherein we celebrate and say thank you to a VADA member who is making a positive difference in his or her community. If you know of a VADA member whom you would like to nominate for this feature, please let us know! Contact our Executive Director Sherma Mather at


The capstone for VADA each year is our Annual Meeting.  VADA’s first Annual Meeting took place in Richmond in 1975.  This October 12-14, we will gather at The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center for our 48th.  This year marks the ninth time Roanoke has hosted our Annual Meeting. 

Thank you to everyone who attended the Lunch & Learn Webinar, "You Don't Need to Do It All," featuring Kristin Richardson of Sherah.  

 Please make sure to sign up for our dinner Thursday night of the Annual Meeting at Billy’s.   The fee for the dinner is $25 and includes a meal of your choice from a limited menu, and two drink tickets.  Add this option when you register for the Annual Meeting.   

If you have any ideas for our section, please contact Rachel Horvath at or Jodi Simopoulos at

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

September 6
Tidewater Region Networking Reception
Grain Beer Garden

October 12-14
Annual Meeting
Hotel Roanoke

December 2
Young Lawyers Boot Camp
Drive Shack Richmond


March 3-4
Deposition Workshop
University of Richmond

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

While Cabo may be this VADA member’s favorite travel spot, a trip to Dyersville, Iowa, would be, in a word, heaven. For this and more on this month’s VADA Spotlighted Member, click here.    

Don't forget The 2022 VADA/VTLA Frank N. Cowan Civility Golf Tournament will take place the afternoon of September 7 at Independence Golf Club in Midlothian.

To sign up to play, please contact John Owen at and cc Sherma Mather at

See you there!

Frank N. Cowan Civility Golf Tournament

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.

Don't miss DRI's Annual Meeting in Philadelphia October 25-28, 2022. Join the top national event of the year for civil defense attorneys and in-house counsel.  Learn more on the DRI website.

Sarah Collie
Hirschler Fleischer

Leslie Dalton

Melissa Kelley
Lambert Law

Quinn Novak
Florence Gordon Brown

Tamara Tucker
Tucker Law

Ryan Waddell
Ogletree Deakins


Alexandra Ellmauer Hamm 
Byrne Canaan Law

As busy trial lawyers, it is easy to let our wellbeing fall to the wayside so we can attend to more pressing matters. Navigating a global pandemic, tending to family and loved ones, and maintaining a career in litigation can be stressful, but there are easy ways to keep this stress under control.

The VADA Wellness Committee is dedicated to promoting wellness initiatives for its members. This year, the Wellness Committee created our Wellness Challenge, a four-week program focused on the areas of mindfulness, physical fitness, nutrition, mental health and mental health. The challenge leads up to the 2022 VADA Annual Meeting in Roanoke, Virginia, where the grand finale will be a fifth area of wellness – social connection. Starting on September 10, 2022, there will be a daily challenge to complete, and by the end of the four weeks, the Wellness Committee hopes our members will have the motivation and guidance to maintain healthy habits. A brief explanation of the program is below.

Along with the daily goals of mindfulness, exercise, nutrition, and mental health, the VADA is bringing back the step and streak challenge. As with last year, all members of the VADA are encouraged to participate in a step challenge, in which awards will be presented to members with the highest step count at the end of the four weeks. We will also award those who keep up the longest streak of at least 7,500 steps a day.  Winners will receive exciting prizes at the Annual Meeting!

Week 1 (September 10 – 16, 2022) Mindfulness

The American Psychological Association defines mindfulness as “a moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience without judgment.” The many benefits of mindfulness include better focus, reduced anxiety, heightened enjoyment of life, better focus, and increased memory. Throughout the first week of the Wellness Challenge, VADA members will receive a prompt to begin or continue their mindfulness training.

Week 2 (September 17 – 23, 2022) Exercise

Physical fitness is an essential component of overall wellness. While it can be difficult to dedicate time to exercise each day, the Wellness Committee believes there are easy ways to fit in daily exercise into our busy lives. Exercise is proven to improve brain health, combat disease, improve mood, and much more. The Wellness Committee hopes to teach VADA members that exercise can be fun, simple, and rewarding. 

Week 3 (September 24 – 30, 2022) Nutrition

Healthy eating has many positive impacts on mental and physical wellbeing. Not only does proper nutrition help to manage our weight and prevent diseases, but it is also proven to boost mood, fight burnout and improve focus. This week will offer ideas about how to improve nutritional intake while working in the fast-paced world of litigation, where stress can often result in over or under eating. 

Week 4 (October 1 – 7, 2022) Mental Health

Our mental health is just as important as our physical health. Every choice we make can be influenced by our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. A health mentality is crucial to living a productive, happy life. This is why Bar Associations across the Commonwealth have introduced mental health initiatives to its members.

There are infinite benefits of a healthy wellbeing. The VADA Wellness Committee challenges its members to participate in the four-week program to bring awareness to an often-overlooked component of our professional and personal lives, and to teach that small changes can make a big impact on overall wellbeing.

Davis, D. M., & Hayes, J. A. (2012, July). What are the benefits of mindfulness? Monitor on Psychology43(7).

Benefits of Physical Activity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.,activity%20gain%20some%20health%20benefits.

Benefit of Healthy Eating. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Caring for Your Mental Health. National Institute of Mental Health.

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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
    804-649-1002 |

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

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