Register now for the Spring Sections Seminar and book your hotel room before they sell out. 

VADA Defense Line
March 2024


Spring is coming, and on a beautiful day this week I looked out into the grassy patch in our office parking to see our receptionist having a surprise birthday lunch with her family.  If you get a chance to take your phone and laptop outside, take advantage. 

This past weekend VADA hosted the Trial Tactics Workshop at the University of Richmond Jepson Center.  Many thanks to the members who took time from their busy schedules to serve as coaches, counsel, and witnesses.  As usual, our sponsors went above and beyond to provide witnesses and support for the program.  Special thanks also to Judge Leonard, Judge Carson, Judge Bullock and Judge Rigney for presiding over the trials.  The feedback given this workshop has helped generations of Virginia defense lawyers and serves as a great foundation for a civil defense practice. 

Call for volunteers!!  One of the compliments that VADA routinely receives relates to the quality of our social media presence.  We punch way above our weight and have recently empaneled Past President Jason Moyers as Chair of our Social Media Section.  Jason is a magician, but many hands make light work.  If you are interested in helping out, please reach out to Jason or Sherma.

We are also looking forward to the upcoming Spring Sections Seminar in Lynchburg on May 1-3.  Registration is open and the room block remains open until filled, so act quickly.

We are also in full swing setting up this year’s regional network events.  Please keep an eye on the VADA website for the upcoming details and reach out to the Director for your region if you want to lend a hand.  We already have the Capitol Region Networking Reception set at Bar West on June 13, from 5:00-7:00.  Announcements for our other regions are coming soon.

James A. Cales III
VADA President 2023-24

May 1-3
The Virginian Hotel

Registration is 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.”

Rooms are filling fast.

Book your stay at The Virginian Hotel for a discounted rate of $139/night. Book before March 29 to get the discounted rate.

Navigating Expert Retention
Abbey Johnson

April 10 at Noon

This webinar we will shed light on the critical processes involved in identifying and securing the services of medical and liability experts. Attendees will gain insights into the crucial factors to consider during the vetting process to ensure the engagement of professionals who are not only qualified but possess the necessary knowledge and training. We'll go beyond the basics, offering a comprehensive examination of real-case scenarios we've encountered, providing a detailed walkthrough of our meticulous search and selection methodology. Furthermore, we'll explore best practices in expert project management, emphasizing the importance of precision and efficiency from inception to conclusion.

The event is free to VADA members and potential members, but registration is required.

The curtain has fallen on the 2024 VADA Trial Tactics Workshop! Thank you to our sponsors, Judges, coaches, participants, and all involved in the planning of this year’s Workshop! Thanks, too, to our general session speaker Tracy Taylor Hague and to the Jepson Alumni Center at the University of Richmond for being the perfect host!

Journal of Civil Litigation

Spring 2024 Edition

Do not miss the Spring 2024 edition of The Journal of Civil Litigation!  It includes 9 judicial opinions and five feature articles:

  • Colin Neal explores the scope of pre- and post-trial discovery to support motions for monetary and nonmonetary sanctions.

  • W. Benjamin Woody examines the juxtaposition of Virginia law with general maritime law in the context of manufacturer liability and damages. 
  • Laura A. Saracina digests Groff v. DeJoy (2023) and what it means for employers granting religious accommodation requests. 
  • Jonathan A. Hogins takes a detailed dive into Brown v. Kirkpatrick (Va. Ct. App. 2023), and its implications on uninsured/underinsured motorist payments.

  • The Honorable Diane Strickland (Ret.) solicits input from attorneys across the Commonwealth on the benefits and challenges of virtual mediation. 

Many thanks to Managing Editor, Molly Terry; Editor-in-Chief, Kent Sinclair; the Board of Editors; and Chair of the Board of Editors, John D. Eure for consistently producing such a quality journal. 

VADA members receive the Journal as a benefit of membership and can search current and past journals, including by keyword, on our website.

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. More details to come!

If you are interested in joining the Women's Section email listserv, please reach out to Amy Gilbody. In the meantime, stay tuned for updates on next events! 

This Evanston, Illinois, native and United States Army combat veteran began his legal career at the age of 40.  Among his many interests: the Duke Blue Devils and SEC football.  For this and more on this month's VADA Spotlighted Member, click here.

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

April 10
Lunch & Learn
via Zoom

April 12
Board Meeting

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


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 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 or Membership Section Chair Dare Essig at for more information.

Please welcome our newest VADA members!

Robert McEntee
Chesterfield County Attorney’s Office

Rachel Tucker
Woods Rogers Vandeventer Black

Kristin Wright
Royer Law Firm

Limber in the Law: Why Lawyers Should Embrace Stretching

In the fast-paced practice of law, the health and wellbeing of lawyers can sometimes take a back seat. One simple practice, stretching, not only alleviates some of the physical strain brought on by long hours of desk work but also enhances mental clarity. Stretching offers a multitude of benefits specifically tailored to the needs of lawyers. Stretching promotes flexibility, reduces the risk of injury, and can significantly lower levels of stress.

Incorporating stretching into a daily routine doesn't require a major time commitment. Desk-based stretches can be seamlessly integrated into the workday, offering a practical solution for even the busiest among us. These movements can help combat the stiffness associated with prolonged periods of sitting, improving posture and circulation. By dedicating just a few minutes to stretching each day, lawyers can enhance their overall health, contribute to a more positive work environment, and maintain the sharpness and resilience needed to navigate the complexities of this profession. For those looking to get started, here is a link to a five-minute seated stretch to incorporate into your work day.

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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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