Young Lawyers Boot Camp this Friday, Meet the Executive Committee, a New Journal, and more... 

VADA Defense Line 


The times that VADA is at its best is when we gather, and that was certainly true last month at the 2023 Annual Meeting.  The meeting hit the highpoints that VADA does best: top-notch CLE content and opportunities to renew old friendships and to create new ones.  As we return to our day-to-day practices following another wonderful Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach, please join me in again thanking Julie Palmer for a wonderful year as our President and Jason Moyers for serving as our Immediate Past President.  Because Jason has agreed to helm our social media platforms, we have the luxury of having both Julie and Jason on the leadership team this year.

The Annual Meeting’s programming and CLE offerings were both timely and informative. Thanks to Matt Kelley, the Annual Meeting Committee, and section leaders, who did a wonderful job setting a great line-up of speakers and topics, as well as the usual wonderful job done by Amy Gilbody and Sherma Mather.  Thanks also to the speakers who took time from their busy practices to prepare and to present an engaging and informative series of sessions.  What truly sets this organization apart is the stellar quality of CLE and professional offerings that are geared to litigation practice.

We are already putting together the Annual Meeting Committee for 2024 at Kingsmill.  Please remember to contact Rachel Horvath or Amy Gilbody if you are interested in serving.  Please also reach out to members of your firm and make sure they consider this opportunity.  It is an excellent way for young lawyers and those new to the defense practice to participate in a significant way and to have input in the programming for the entire Annual Meeting.

Also remember our Boot Camp for young lawyers that will be occurring on December 1, 2023, at Drive Shack in Short Pump.  We have an excellent line-up of CLE offerings presented by long-time VADA members who are experts in the defense practice.  The Boot Camp and our Trial Tactics Workshop at the Jepsen Center at the University of Richmond (March 15-16) are a crash course for younger lawyers with offerings that provide practical insight into trial practice. 

We will be continuing our efforts to protect the interests of defense lawyers in the coming session of the Virginia General Assembly.   Please stay in touch with Patrick O’Grady, Chair of our Legislative Committee, for updates on those efforts as well as information on the VADA 2024 Lobby Day at the General Assembly.

$20 STARBUCKS GIFT CARD.  I believe I have your attention.  Throughout the course of this year, we will be focusing on the many relationships we have as lawyers: our clients, our firms, our colleagues on the defense side, our colleagues with the plaintiffs’ bar, and even ourselves.  This month, we’ll build on a theme of Community by putting out this request: Please send in a picture of you and opposing counsel in a case having lunch during a deposition, grabbing a drink after trial, playing golf, playing pickle ball or just doing whatever brought you together.  Before the next Defense Line, we will draw a winner from the entries and send a $20 Starbucks Gift Card.  We’ll pass the entries on to our Social Media Chair, Jason Moyers, to make the magic happen.  Please send your entries to me at with the Subject Line VADA Community. 

James A. Cales III
VADA President 2023-24 

There is still time to register!

December 1
Drive Shack

This is a must-attend event for newer attorneys, who will learn the practical information needed to practice civil defense law.  Sessions are taught by experienced members of the civil defense bar and the judiciary. 

We are offering a different agenda than 2022, so attend again and don't miss the networking reception and golf fun at the end of our program.

March 15-16, 2024
Jepson Alumni Center
University of Richmond

Join our two-day mock trial, where the first 16 registered attorneys will be assigned as co-counsel for the plaintiff or defendant. The attorney slots fill fast, and the remaining registrants will play expert witnesses and provide feedback. Coaching, ahead of the event and on-site, will be provided by experienced members of the defense bar. Virginia judges will preside and provide constructive feedback throughout the trial.

Registration includes case file, all written materials, networking reception, continental breakfast, & box lunch. 

The attorney slots fill fast, so register now!

May 1-3, 2024
The Virginian Hotel


Did you know that you can access your CLE forms anytime from the members-only area of the VADA website? Once you login with your personal VADA username and password, go the "Members" tab, then "Library" and chose "Meeting Materials."  If you have any issues, please email

Journal of Civil Litigation

Fall 2023 Edition

Do not miss the Fall 2023 edition of The Journal of Civil Litigation!  It includes 14 judicial opinions and four feature articles:

  • Christopher Turpin explores the adverse party witness rule and the recent holding in Colas v. Tyree that solidifies its long-standing jurisprudence.
  • Kathryn Bonorchis examines the expectation of privacy in social media content.
  • Jonathan Gonzales takes a detailed dive into the attorney client privilege as applied to multipurpose communications. 
  • Eva Roffis explains the evolution of the legal treatment of PTSD for first responders under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act and the newly created Code section 65.2-107.

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 had a sold-out crowd for dinner during the Annual Meeting at Cobalt Grille in Virginia Beach.  Alongside our wonderful sponsors, we enjoyed camaraderie, networking, and brainstorming on projects for the upcoming year. 

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!

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

December 1
Young Lawyers Boot Camp
Drive Shack Richmond


March 15-16
Trial Tactics Workshop
University of Richmond

May 1-3
Spring Sections Seminar
The Virginian, Lynchburg

October 23-25
Annual Meeting
Kingsmill, Williamsburg

A native of Tampa, Florida, this William & Mary grad loves sushi, travel, and a good old fashioned.  For this and more on this month’s VADA Spotlighted Member, click here

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.

Enjoy a few scenes from our 2023 Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach!

Thank you again to our members, sponsors, speakers, and all involved for a terrific event! We're already looking forward to Kingsmill next October! If you or a colleague would like to serve on the planning committee for this meeting, please email Amy Gilbody at

Executive Committee

We are pleased to introduce the members of VADA’s Executive Committee for 2023-24! Pictured below, beginning L to R in the top row are: President, Jim Cales of Furniss, Davis, Rashkind and Saunders, P.C.; Immediate Past-President, Julie Palmer of Harman Claytor Corrigan & Wellman; President-Elect, Lindsay Rollins of The Progressive Group; Treasurer, Matt Kelley of Frith Anderson + Peake PC; and Secretary, Rachel Horvath of Piedmont Liability Trust.

Please welcome our newest VADA members!

Logan Bartley
Glenn Robinson Cathey Memmer & Skaff

Danielle Bergman
Mason, Mason, Walker & Hedrick

Laura Carini
City of Roanoke

Catherine Chapman
Thompson McMullen

Johnita Costen
Portsmouth City Attorney’s Office

Kyle Eldridge
McCandlish Holton

Brian Ettari
Harman, Claytor, Corrigan & Wellman

Alison Fling
McCandlish Holton

Yevgeniy Klinovskiy
Harman, Claytor, Corrigan & Wellman

Ericka Kopp
Frith Anderson + Peake

Daniel-Lester Edwards
Thompson McMullen

Noah Lowe

Kelly MacCluen

Christopher Meyers
Johnson Ayers & Matthews

Michael Millstein
Byrne Canaan

Rebecca Roberts
Moran Reeves & Conn

Kathleen Ryland
Wharton Lerman Ehrmantrout

Avraham Sherman
Sands Anderson

Emily Sutherland
Harman, Claytor, Corrigan & Wellman

Kyle Taylor
McCandlish Holton

What’s your Misogi for 2024?
By:  Melissa H. Katz

In our world of law, it is easy to become consumed by the constant demands of our profession.  We are absorbed with deadlines, stress, and meeting billable hours.  Self-care often takes a backseat.   Finding balance is important and means looking beyond the legal realm and embracing challenges outside the courtroom.  This concept is beautifully embodied by the idea of “Misogi”, which is a term popularized by author and journalist Michael Easter and American entrepreneur and author Jessie Itzler.  Misogi involves pushing oneself to the limits, often through extreme physical or mental challenges.  Its purpose is to cultivate resilience and a sense of accomplishment.  If physical, it should be designed to push yourself to your absolute limits and involve a challenge that could end in failure.  For lawyers, engaging in a “misogi” can be incredibly transformative, not just for personal growth but also for overall health and wellness. 

Taking on a physical challenge, such as signing up for a marathon, half-ironman, endurance race, mastering yoga poses, or diving into a new sport, like pickleball, offers a powerful outlet for stress and a way to stay physically or mentally active.  Pursuing a mental challenge, like learning a new language or mastering a musical instrument, can be equally daunting and rewarding.   These endeavors not only provide a break from the daily legal grind but also ignite a sense of purpose and anticipation.  It gives us something to look forward to and conquer outside the law.  The satisfaction of achieving a personal goal, whether it is running a race of perfecting a new skill, can boost self-confidence and contribute to better mental and physical health. 

Embracing “misogi” challenges not only enhances our well-being but also enriches our professional journey as lawyers.  So, the question becomes – what is your Misogi for 2024?  Mine, assuming I get entry and my knees cooperate is to train and run the 2024 Chicago Marathon. 

Join our social media sites where we post current court updates, relevant legal developments, and much, much more!  

    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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