Book Your Spring Meeting Hotel Now, 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 week, 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 at 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

Register today for our popular 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," 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.

Our discounted room block is filling fast and will be released the earlier of April 7, or when the room block is full so be sure to book today. See the full agenda and book your discounted hotel room now from 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.

Southwest Region
April 19
Wasena City Taproom

Capitol Region
June 1
Home of Kathleen McCauley

Watch your email for dates and locations for the other regions.

Congratulations to Ashley Dobbin Calkins, Nancy Reynolds, and Eileen Talamonte for being named to the 2023 class of Influential Women of Law by Virginia Lawyers Weekly!

Congratulations to all three on an honor well deserved!

Congratulations, once again, to VADA Past President Lisa Frisina, whom the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association has honored with its annual VTLA-VADA Civility and Professionalism Award!  Lisa received the Award last week at the VTLA’s 2023 Annual Convention.

Congratulations, Lisa!

The 2023 General Assembly regular session ended on Saturday, February 25. Legislators did not come a consensus on a budget and instead passed a stopgap measure to address priority items. Budget negotiations on the full spending plan are ongoing and may result in a special session. The main sticking point is $1 billion in tax cuts proposed by the House of Delegates.

Governor Youngkin must act all on legislation passed by the General Assembly by March 27. Legislators will return to Richmond on April 12 for “Veto Session” to consider vetoes and bill amendments from the Governor.

VADA monitored numerous bills this session, but three bills of the highest priority to VADA members included HB 1647, HB 1440, and HB 1549. Of these three bills, HB 1647 and HB 1440 passed and have been approved by the Governor, while HB 1549 failed.

HB 1440 applies to admissibility of evidence in civil actions. It ensures that evidence of a finding of guilt made in absentia in a criminal prosecution or traffic infraction is admissible in a civil action whenever such a finding is contended. The bill further requires the court hearing the civil case to admit evidence as to whether such finding was made if the criminal court records are silent or ambiguous as to whether such a finding occurred. This bill will go into effect July 1, 2023.

HB 1647 creates a civil cause of action for injury to a person 18 years of age or older resulting from sexual abuse by a person of authority (defined in the bill) and further establishes a statute of limitations of 15 years after the cause of action accrues. This bill will go into effect July 1, 2023.

HB 1549 would have applied to actions for death by wrongful act where a defendant unintentionally caused the death of a child’s parent or legal guardian as a result of driving a motor vehicle or operating a watercraft under the influence. In these cases, the person who has custody of the child as a result of the parent or legal guardian’s death may petition the court to order that the defendant pay child support. This bill passed the House but failed in the Senate.

The VADA Legislative Committee has greatly enjoyed keeping VADA members apprised of all General Assembly news affecting our organization’s members. We will continue to monitor the activities of the General Assembly in April and look forward to updating VADA next month.

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 or Amy at

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


April 19

Southwest Region Networking Event

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

June 1
Capitol Region Networking Event

TBD Summer 2023
Paralegal Seminar

October 25-27
Annual Meeting
Marriott Resort Virginia Beach Oceanfront

December 1
Young Lawyers Boot Camp

This Bethesda, Maryland, native, Past President, and CrossFit enthusiast is so into fitness, she has a walking treadmill in her law office. For this and a lot 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.

We are still working hard to renew our members! If you are unsure of your membership status, please contact Executive Director Sherma Mather at or Membership Chair Robyn Ayres at for more information.


Brittany Gold
Williams, Negler, Verser and Lane

Christopher Palermo-Re
Norfolk City Attorney’s Office


Since 1994, VADA has had a Young Lawyers Division.  Geared toward newer lawyers, membership in the YLD is for VADA members age 35 or younger or members who have been in practice for six years or less.  The YLD sponsors social events and programming each year targeted specifically to its members.  Examples include our Young Lawyers Boot Camp, which we offer every December, and our Deposition and Trial Tactics Workshops, which are offered on a rotating basis each March.  To find out more about our Young Lawyers Division, contact our new YLD Chair Katherine Morley at


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

There is a “gold standard” list of things we need to do daily to keep healthy.  This includes, for example, drinking 8 glasses of water, walking 10,000 steps, and taking a multi-vitamin.   Are these beliefs medically supported or simply popular medical myths either passed down from generation to generation or circulated over the internet and social media.  What do the scientists say?

1.     Do we really need to drink 8 glasses of water a day to be properly hydrated?

This is fiction.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a healthy person can meet their daily water needs by doing two simple things: drinking when you are thirsty and drinking with meals.  According to WebMD, there is no need to count the number of glasses.  Research shows that people who gulp a glass of water when they are thirsty get enough to stay healthy and hydrated.  Soup, fruit, and vegetables, and drinks like tea, coffee and juice all play a role in hydration.

2.     Do we really need to walk 10,000 steps a day?

This is fiction.  We have all heard that walking 10,000 steps is optimal for living a long healthy life.  Researchers push back and say that getting between 6,000 and 8,000 daily steps is sufficient. 2021 study published in JAMA Network Open “followed 2,110 adults for over 10 years, tracking their step counts along the way. The researchers found that those who took at least 7,000 steps a day — not 10,000 — had a lower risk of premature death than those who didn’t. In 2019, Dr. Lee and her colleagues published a study in JAMA Internal Medicine that found similar results.”

3.     Do we really need to take a multivitamin every day?

This is fiction.  The best way to get nutrients is to eat a diet filled with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and healthy oils. “You may have heard that a multivitamin can make up for nutrients that aren't in your diet. Researchers don’t all agree on that point. But if your doctor tells you to take a vitamin, do it.”

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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.

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

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