Annual Meeting Hotel Rooms Filling Fast, Women's Section Lunch & Learn, and more... 

VADA Defense Line 


I hope everyone is enjoying the last days of summer and the return to the fall routine. Our Annual Meeting will be here before we know it. Make plans to join us October 25-27 at the Marriott Virginia Beach Oceanfront for “Developing a Modern Defense Practice.” You can find the Meeting Agenda, hotel booking link, and other information on our website. I hope to see you there!

Earlier this month we presented our annual Paralegal Seminar, which was a great success. I would like to thank our sponsors, Planet Depos and In2Trial, for their generous support. Thank you, too, to our speakers, Lindsay Rollins, Jim Cales, Taylor Brewer, Brandon Menzie, and Jonathan Hyslop. Finally, a huge thank you to our Director of Meetings, Amy Gilbody, and our Executive Director, Sherma Mather, for keeping every aspect of the VADA running smoothly.

In addition to our Annual Meeting, I hope to see many of you for our next Lunch & Learn program – “Lawyer Moms” – on September 14 at noon. This program is presented by our Women’s Section, and you can register here.  Also scheduled for September 14 is our Tidewater Region Networking Reception, which will be held at Grain Rooftop Beer Garden at 5:00 p.m. We thank Planet Depos and InQuis for sponsoring this event.

Programming will continue after the Annual Meeting with a Lunch & Learn on Pediatric Life Care Planning and Earning Capacity Analysis, on November 8 at noon. This program is sponsored by InQuis and you can register here.

Our final program for 2023 will be our annual Young Lawyer’s Boot Camp, which will be held December 1 at Drive Shack in Short Pump. This is a must-attend event for attorneys new to the civil defense practice, with sessions taught by experienced members of the civil defense bar and the judiciary. Register here.

Please visit our website,, for additional details on these and other upcoming events. I hope to see you at a VADA function soon.

Julie Palmer
VADA President, 2022-23

Don't miss out on three days of learning and networking at the beach.  Topics include:

  • Decoding the Gen-Z Jury
  • Appeals as a Matter of Right
  • Daubert
  • Direct Negotiation Strategies
  • Common Trial Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
  • Preventing Nuclear Verdicts
  • Maintaining Data Security, Ethics and Your Wellbeing in the New Era of Practicing Law

We'll also have our popular Breakfast with the Judiciary, Networking Receptions, Late Nights, Wellness Activities, Women's Section Dinner, Litigation Sections Breakouts, and more.

Our discounted hotel room block is filling fast, so be sure to book your room soon from the meeting websiteThe room block will be released the earlier of September 22, or when the block fills, so book today. 

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.

Tidewater Region
September 14
Grain at The Main in Norfolk

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

Lawyer Moms
September 14

Julie Palmer
Harman Claytor Corrigan & Wellman
VADA President 

Darlene P. Bradberry
Newport News City Attorney’s Office
Tidewater Regional Director

Phylicia A. Preston
Byrne Canaan Law

Noelle Quam

Rachel Horvath
Piedmont Liability Trust
Women's Section Chair

Taylor Brewer
Moran Reeves Conn
Women's Section Vice-Chair

“Lawyer Moms” is a panel discussion by and for VADA mothers past, present, and future.  This Lunch & Learn will explore the joys and challenges faced by attorney moms in civil litigation.  Speakers will share tips and tricks on how they juggle jobs and families and generally “do it all.” 

Sponsored by InQuis Global

Betsy Keesler, BSN, RN, CLCP
InQuis Global

Michael Fryar, M.S., CRC, RN, CCM, QRP, CLCP
InQuis Global

November 8

This presentation will examine the core foundations for building both an evidence-based pediatric life care plan and an earning capacity analysis. 

 A review of the necessary standards, guidelines, and/or consensus statements for these evaluations will be outlined.

VADA congratulates our members who have been named to the 2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in America!  Congratulations, too, to our members who have been selected to the 2024 edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America! 

For all, an honor well-deserved!

Please save the date for a Lunch & Learn, “Lawyer Moms,” on September 14, 2023.  “Lawyer Moms” is a panel discussion by and for VADA mothers past, present, and future.  This Lunch & Learn will explore the joys and challenges faced by attorney moms in civil litigation.  Speakers will share tips and tricks on how they juggle jobs and families and generally “do it all.”  The panelists are VADA President Julie Palmer of Harman Claytor Corrigan & Wellman, Darlene P. Bradberry of the Newport News City Attorney’s Office, Phylicia A. Preston of Byrne Canaan Law, and Noelle Quam of TimberlakeSmith.  Moderators are Women’s Section leaders Rachel Horvath of Piedmont Liability Trust and Taylor Brewer of Moran Reeves Conn. 

Stay tuned for details on a Women’s Section event on the Thursday evening of the Annual Meeting.

As always, if you have any suggestions or comments, please contact Rachel Horvath at or Taylor Brewer at

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

September 14
Lawyer Moms Lunch & Learn


September 14
Tidewater Region Networking Event

October 25-27
Annual Meeting
Marriott Resort Virginia Beach Oceanfront

November 8
Pediatric Life Care Planning and Earning Capacity Analysis Lunch & Learn

December 1
Young Lawyers Boot Camp
Drive Shack Richmond

A Land Rover in Deltaville is where you're most likely to find this Midlothian native.  His advice to new attorneys?  Reputation is everything!  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 or Sherma Mather at

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.

Paige Ferros
Kiernan Trebach

Meghan Gosline
Hancock Daniel

Kristen Mynes
McGuire Woods

John Palenski
Wilson Elser

Julian Viscidi
Harman Claytor Corrigan Wellman

Nutrition Tips for Busy Lawyers

On August 15, 2023, VADA’s Wellness Committee sponsored a Lunch and Learn with Jim White. Jim is a nationally recognized registered dietitian nutritionist, owner of two Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios, two medical nutrition therapy practices and a workplace wellness corporation. He has been quoted in thousands of publications and featured in hundreds of television and radio segments nationwide including ABC Family Channel, Today, TLC, Radio Disney, GQ, Men’s Health, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and much more. He has experience conducting seminars, interviews and appearances all around the country.  Jim is also a past spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. He is currently working with companies to help improve their food and lifestyle brands.

The VADA was fortunate to have Jim lend his time, knowledge and expertise to prepare a detailed nutrition presentation, tailored for busy and stressed attorneys. The presentation is entitled "Nutrition Tips for Busy Lawyers," and it focused heavily on practical, daily tips for immediate application in our ongoing effort to maintain a healthy lifestyle while constantly on-the-go.

Jim reminded all those in attendance that while lawyers often find themselves traveling for long hours to attend depositions or court appearances, there are effective and incremental strategies for healthy living in our profession. Highest among his practical tips were charts for choosing healthier meals at fast-food and chain restaurants, strategic adjustments of caloric intake for scheduled happy hour or dinner events, finding the exercises you enjoy, and being guided by goal-oriented health decisions. He also shared his recommendations healthy snacks. Click here for a printable list of his recommendations for delicious, low-calorie snack options.

The Wellness Committee is hopeful that the VADA Membership will take full advantage of Jim’s practical advice when you find yourself faced with a hectic schedule. This is a presentation that is not to be missed.  You can watch the video here.  You will need to enter your personal VADA login information to access the video.

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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 |

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

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