Trial Tactics Workshop, Legislative Update, Lunch & Learns, and more...

VADA Defense Line February 2022

President's Welcome

Comedian Jim Gaffigan, of whom my wife Kendall and I are big fans, once remarked that “[w]ithout Valentine’s Day, February would be … well, January.”  True, Valentine’s Day is one of the highlights of this, the shortest month of the year.  Here at VADA, however, Valentine’s Day is by no means all that there is to talk about!

Since my last Welcome, we continue preparations for our 2022 VADA Trial Tactics Workshop at the Delta Hotel in Richmond on March 18-19.  (For those who’d like to attend, there’s still time to register!)  The Winter issue of The Journal of Civil Litigation has arrived in everyone’s inbox.  Our monthly Lunch & Learns continue in full swing.  We’ve welcomed two new sponsors: DISCO and InQuis Global, LLC.  On February 15, we crowned the winners (congratulations, Ally, Danielle, and Julie!) of our second ever VADA Virtual Scavenger Hunt.  Chaired by VADA Past-President Kate McCauley, our Long-Range Planning Committee is scheduled to meet in Charlottesville on April 6.

February also marks crossover day in the Virginia General Assembly, as the House and Senate complete work on their respective bills and sent them to the other chamber for consideration.  With the help of our lobbyists Michele Satterlund and Margaret Rockwell, we continue to keep a close eye on legislation of interest to our membership.  On February 22, members of VADA’s Legislative Committee gathered in Richmond for our first ever VADA Lobby Day!  We met with legislators to discuss with them issues of importance to our Association.  Our sincere thanks to Michele, Margaret, and all others involved in the planning of this event!

Other events we’re looking forward to include our annual Spring Sections Seminar in Charlottesville on May 4-6 and our 2022 Annual Meeting at The Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center on October 12-14.  Please mark your calendars for these and other VADA events!

Until next month, stay safe and stay well!  Thank you, all, for your support of VADA!

Jason Moyers
VADA President, 2021-22

March 18-19
The Delta Hotel Downtown Richmond

Registration continues for our popular two-day mock trial workshop, where current Virginia judges will preside. While the co-counsel slots are full, additional participants can still participate and will serve as witnesses or jurors.  

Coaching, ahead of the event and on-site, will be provided by experienced members of the defense bar. Our judges and coaches will provide valuable constructive feedback throughout the entire process.

This is a must-attend event for newer attorneys. This program will not be offered again until 2024, so register now.

Monday, February 28

Productivity and Pandemic Practice: 
Attorney Panel Discussion on How to Maximize Productivity at Work While Making Room for More Free Time

Sponsored by the VADA Wellness Committee

D. Cameron BeckMcCandlish Holton
Martin A. ConnMoran Reeves & Conn
Julie SeyfarthChesterfield County Attorney's Office

Productivity and efficiency are critical for civil litigators.  Even under ideal circumstances, optimizing peak performance both qualitatively and quantitatively is no easy feat.  Add to that effort a pandemic that shifted the landscape of our practice to significantly more remote and isolated work, and productivity and efficiency have adopted new meanings.  

What does a productive day look like now?  How to incorporate physical movement into back-to-back virtual depositions?  Aside from a computer screen, where to find social interaction?  What happens to mental sanity when the workday no longer has a finite beginning or end?  How to smoothly clip in to and out of the lawyer role when working in close proximity with family members? 

Our panelists will address these topics and more, sharing their tips and tricks for maintaining physical and mental wellness.

The event is fully virtual, via Zoom, and free to current and potential VADA members. 

It is our pleasure to introduce the following additional members of VADA's 2021-22 Board of Directors! Beginning in the top row, from left to right, are: Director Emeritus Rachel Horvath of Smith Bain Manuel & Horvath LLP; Director Emeritus Matthew Kelley of Frith Anderson + Peake PC; Director Emeritus Daniel Sarrell of Woods Rogers PLC; and VADA Past President John Mumford of Hancock, Daniel & Johnson, P.C., DRI State Representative.

We thank each of you for your leadership and your service to VADA!

The 2022 General Assembly session convened on January 12, ushering in a 60-day “long” session that will end on March 12. Legislators ultimately introduced a total of 1,364 House bills, 775 Senate bills, and 366 resolutions. 

On February 15, “Cross Over Day” occurred, meaning it was the last day for a bill to pass out of the chamber in which the bill was introduced. Any bills remaining in committee after this date are considered to have failed. The finance committees in each chamber must then complete their amended drafts of the budget by February 20, and each chamber has until March 2 to take action on the proposed budget amendments from the opposite chamber.

Of the many bills introduced that VADA has monitored, three bills were identified as priority legislation.  These bills, SB 144, SB 561, SB 599, have all failed. SB 144 would have repealed the “dead man’s statute,” but the bill was continued to 2023 to allow possible further study on the policy. SB 561 sought to transfer attorney disciplinary power from the Virginia State Bar to a legislative commission. The bill was opposed by numerous stakeholder groups from throughout the Commonwealth and failed in subcommittee. Lastly, SB 599 would have abolished the cap on financial recovery in cases of catastrophic bodily injury or permanent brain damage. The bill failed, although we anticipate there will be an analysis by the Virginia Bureau of Insurance to determine whether a third-party funding mechanism similar to Virginia’s Birth Injury Fund can be established for individuals who have experienced catastrophic injuries. Once SB 144 and SB 599 are studied in 2022, there is a possibility we will see versions of these bills introduced again during the 2023 General Assembly session.

VADA’s held its first Lobby Day February 22.  VADA was able to secure meetings with 13 legislators including members of the House Courts of Justice Committee, the House Public Safety Committee, the House Transportation Committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Senate General Laws Committee, and the Senate Local Government Committee.  Our message and measured approach were appreciated and well received by all.  VADA was even able to secure an introduction on the floor of the Senate from Senator Mark Peake of Lynchburg and received a warm welcome from the Lieutenant Governor.

VADA President Jason Moyers, Legislative Chair Patrick O'Grady, Past-Legislative Chair Stephen Marshall, Immediate Past-President Tate Love, and Executive Director Sherma Mather in the Senate gallery.

VADA Legislative Chair Patrick O'Grady and President Jason Moyers with Senator Mark Peake.

Members of VADA's Legislative Committee met with Delegate Tim Anderson to hear his thoughts on the current General Assembly session.

VADA Immediate Past-President Tate Love and Past-Legislative Chair Stephen Marshall with Senator Emmett Hanger.

The women’s section is excited to announce that it will be hosting a special event at the Spring Meeting in Charlottesville.  Stay tuned for details! 

We are still working on a listserv/communication option and hope to have something shortly.  If you have any suggestions for the section, please contact Rachel Horvath at or Jodi Simopoulos at

We look forward to seeing you this Spring.


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

February 28
Productivity and Pandemic Practice Lunch & Learn
Via Zoom

March 18-19
Trial Tactics Workshop

May 4-6
Spring Sections Seminar
Boar's Head Inn

October 12-14
Annual Meeting
Hotel Roanoke

There’s a lot to Love about this month’s spotlighted member, from his hometown of Waynesboro to his passion for William & Mary to his devotion to his wife and their two sons. For this and a whole lot more about this VADA member, click here. 

By the Numbers

VADA is divided into five geographic regions: Blue Ridge, Capitol, Potomac, Southwest, and Tidewater.  Each Region consists of a number of Virginia's 31 judicial circuits.  For our members curious about which Region you are in, it’s easy!  Using the circuit in which your address of record is located, the answer is as follows:

Blue Ridge – 16, 24, 25, 26

Capitol – 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

Potomac – 17, 18, 19, 20, 31

Southwest – 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29, 30

Tidewater – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9

 The Journal of Civil Litigation

Winter Edition (Vol. XXXIII, No. 4) of

The Winter Edition (Vol. XXXIII, No. 4) of the Journal of Civil Litigation has dropped! VADA members who have now opted out should have received, or been soon receiving, the hard copy in the mail.  And remember – members can access the current Journal and read or key-word search any past editions of the Journal in the Members-Only area of the VADA website. 

              This quarter’s Journal includes three feature articles:

  • Lauren Darden of Wharton Aldhizer & Weaver discusses a relatively new Virginia statute which creates a broad civil cause of action for whisteblower employees.
  • John Mumford, Jr., of Hancock Daniel & Johnson, and Victoria Pretlow, of Byrne Canaan Law let VADA members know what they can glean from pro-policyholder rulings in Coronavirus business interruption coverage disputes.
  • Christian Tucker and Stewart Pollock of Moran Reeves Conn educated us on products liability suits related to Virginia’s cannabis legalization laws. 

As always, the Journal also includes a highly informative series of summaries of judicial opinions from around the Commonwealth.

Many thanks to those who make the Journal possible, including:

  • Kent Sinclair, Editor-in-Chief
  • John D. Eure, Chief of the Board of Editors
  • Molly Terry, Managing Editor
  • And the entire Board of Editors

Did you know that you can opt-in or opt-out for hardcopy editions of our Journal of Civil Litigation? It’s easy to do: open your Membership Record and choose your own Journal Delivery Preference. If you choose the hardcopy edition, one will be mailed out to you as we publish the quarterly JCL. If you choose the Electronic Delivery, you will receive a link to the articles in the newest edition.

All of our articles and opinions are available in the library in a searchable database. For more information, contact VADA Executive Director Sherma Mather at

Receive the Journal of Civil Litigation
via Electronic Delivery

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.

Advanced Technology in Forensic Engineering: 3D Scanning, HD Drones, Video Analysis, and Berla iVe Vehicle System Forensics

Forensic technology is moving forward at a rapid pace. Americans are bombarded by high tech forensics in every TV show or movie they watch. From CSI to MacGyver, investigators solve their cases and problems with innovative technology. Jury members are not immune to the influence of these popular media depictions; they expect to see advanced technology utilized in the analysis of a case. These cases can range from, but are not limited to, traffic collisions, fire investigations, or structural failure investigations. As forensic engineers, problem solving is our job, and using advanced technology is expected—not always by attorneys and adjusters, but certainly by jurors.

This article will discuss 3D scanners, high definition (HD) drones, video analysis software, and Berla iVe Vehicle Infotainment data analysis software and examine how they can be used in a case.

To continue reading, please visit the J.S. Held website.

It is membership renewal season!

If you have questions or are looking for information on your membership status, contact Executive Director Sherma Mather at or Membership Chair Todd Anderson at

A warm welcome to our newest members:

Eone Beck
Selective Insurance

Haley Doss
Gentry Locke

Thomas Lucas
Jackson Lewis

Michael Sylvester
Hancock Daniel

William Miller
McGavin, Boyce, Bardot, Thorsen & Katz

Colin Neal
Carr Maloney

Matthew Wyatt
Frith Anderson + Peake

Mark K. Cathey
Glenn Robinson Memmer Cathey & Skaff PLC

Paying it forward this month is VADA member Mark Cathey of Glenn Robinson Cathey Memmer & Skaff PLC in Roanoke.  In addition to his busy litigation practice, Mark, whose son and daughter are proud graduates of Roanoke City Public Schools (RCPS), has served on the Roanoke City School Board since 2015.  He has served the Board as both Chair and Vice-Chair.  He was appointed to a third term on the Board in 2021.  During his first six years on the Board, Mark served as the Board’s representative to the Roanoke Valley Governor’s School’s Regional Board, which he currently chairs.  Mark also has served on the Board’s Equity Task Force, Joint Services Committee, Superintendent Evaluation Committee, and Audit Committee.

Along with his service to RCPS, Mark served as President of the Roanoke Bar Association from 2009-10 and as a member of the Virginia State Bar Council from 2011-16.  He is a Fellow of the Roanoke Bar Foundation and has served, too, on the TRUST House Board of Directors, the Roanoke City Board of Fire Appeals, and on the Executive Board of the Blue Ridge Mountains Boy Scouts Council.  Other highlights of Mark’s service to the community include his being a Barrister Book Buddy, a Roanoke Bar Association Mentor at Roanoke’s Fairview Elementary School, a Youth Court judge at Roanoke’s Patrick Henry High School and William Fleming High School, and an instructor in the Roanoke Bar Association’s Rule of Law Project.

VADA thanks you, Mark, for giving so freely of your time and your talents and touching the lives of so many in our community!

The Power of Presence
By Melissa H. Katz

Why are there such high statistics of burnout, stress and anxiety in the legal profession? Is it because we make ourselves available 24/7, even for non-priority matters?  Is it because we have a compulsion to answer the work email no matter where we are or what we are doing?  Let’s face it, we are attorneys not “on call” emergency surgeons.   While there are times when it is appropriate to respond to a work email, text, or call during our “personal” time, it is important to understand the difference between non-priority and time sensitive matters.  We do not always have to be at work when we are at home.  The failure to delineate work time from personal time can result in a derailment of quality time with loved ones and rob them of the power of our presence.   It only takes a five second scan of a few emails, none of them truly emergencies, including one nasty gram from that difficult adversary, right before dinner, that can transform our mood and take us away from important personal time. 

To be present is a power.  Focused, not distracted.  The power of presence is derived from understanding expectations, setting boundaries, and learning what is a priority item.   What is your boss’s expectation for response time to an email?  If you are going on a weekend ski trip, tell your boss you aren’t checking emails unless he/she has a need for you to do so.  Carve out specific times to look at your email when you are at home.  Even cut off the time when you review emails; if necessary, give your cell phone number to anyone you think may need to reach you in case of emergency. For example, if you have a deposition or trial the next day – make sure your opposing counsel, client, witness, and/or court reporter can reach you.   Separate work from your personal life as best you can.   Always put 100% focus wherever your feet are – that is whether you are at home or work!   Handling work emails while trying to spend quality time with family, children, friends, etc. is no different than trying to multitask.  It doesn’t work well.  Don’t do it unless you really have to. 

The power of presence applies equally at work.  If you are at work, work!  Carve out specific time to respond to personal texts and emails.  You should not be accessible non-stop at work for personal reasons, unless of course, it is an emergency and you should provide a reliable method of communication in that event.  This will increase your productivity.  By maximizing your productivity at work, you will be able to carve out more personal time. 

For MORE tips about maximizing productivity at work, please ATTEND our LUNCH AND LEARN on Monday, February 28, 2022 at Noon, featuring a panel discussion with three of our prominent attorneys, Cam Beck, Marty Conn, and Julie Seyfarth, all of whom have been able to build successful legal practices and attain professional accomplishments while balancing a rewarding personal life.   This seminar should resonant with all attorneys as there is a constant struggle between our work demands and personal time.

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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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