Young Lawyers Boot Camp, Meet the Executive Committee, Wellness Challenge Winners, and more... 

VADA Defense Line October 2022


Thank you to everyone who joined us at the Hotel Roanoke for our 2022 Annual Meeting! From the timely and top-quality CLE programming to the beautiful fall weather enjoyed from the rooftop garden at Center in the Square, the meeting was a resounding success. Thank you to Lindsay Rollins and our Annual Meeting Committee, our Director of Meetings Amy Gilbody, our Executive Director Sherma Mather, our loyal sponsors, our learned speakers, and our special guests.

I am honored and humbled to take the helm of VADA. I am excited to work with our Board of Directors, Section and Committee leadership, Sherma, Amy, and Molly Terry, Managing Editor of VADA’s The Journal of Civil Litigation, this year to continue our efforts to positively impact Virginia’s civil justice system. I would like to thank Jason Moyers for his incredible leadership over the past year. His are very large shoes to fill.

Looking ahead, please mark your calendars and encourage all of your associates to attend our annual Young Lawyers Boot Camp at Drive Shack Short Pump on December 2. Please also save the dates for our Deposition Workshop (March 3-4, 2023, at University of Richmond), our Spring Sections Seminar (May 3-5, 2023, at Hotel 24 South in Staunton), and our 2023 Annual Meeting at the Marriott Virginia Beach Oceanfront on October 25-27, 2023.  Details on these and other events will follow over the course of the year.  Please stay tuned to our website, Defense Line newsletter, and social media platforms for more information.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I extend my gratitude to each of you for your support of VADA. Active engagement by our members is the key to our continued growth and success. If you have thoughts or suggestions for how we can serve you better, please do not hesitate to contact me. I look forward to a wonderful year ahead!

Julie S. Palmer
VADA President, 2022-23

Spots remain for our 2022 Young Lawyers Boot Camp! Slated for Friday, December 2, at Drive Shack Richmond, this valuable one-day seminar gives newer attorneys the practical information needed to practice civil defense law here in Virginia. Learn from seasoned members of the defense bar and members of the judiciary. Topics this year include:

• Your Role as Second Chair

• Your First Jury Trial

• Tips for Practice in the Eastern District of Virginia

and much, much more! If you are not yet a VADA member, a FREE one-year membership is available when you register! For complete Boot Camp details, and to reserve your seat, click here. We hope to see you there!

A beautiful October evening was the perfect backdrop for our Networking Reception at The Penthouse at Center In The Square at our 2022 Annual Meeting in Roanoke earlier this month!

Thank you again to our members, sponsors, speakers, and all involved for a terrific event! We're already looking forward to next October when we will meet October 25-27 at the Marriott Resort Virginia Beach Oceanfront. See you at the beach!

March 3-4, 2023
Jepson Alumni Center at University of Richmond

This two-day workshop will teach you the skills needed to (1) face down a bullying senior plaintiffs’ attorney; (2) handle a lying deponent; (3) pull the information you need out of a reticent deponent; (4) ensure that what you discover in depositions is admissible in court; (5) use the latest in technology to build an air-tight case; (6) depose experts effectively; (7) handle sympathetic or minor deponents; and more!

The second day will be spent in four-person breakouts in which each new attorney will play the parts of deponent, defense attorney, plaintiffs’ attorney, and observer. At each stage of the depositions, senior coach-attorneys will critique performances and make suggestions.

Registration will open soon -- put the dates on your calendar now.


At VADA, we’re blessed to have the support of a number of very generous sponsors!  Over the past year (and counting), we have been privileged to count 32 companies or firms as a sponsor of one or more of our events!  We thank each and every one of them for their support of our Association!  We invite our members to visit the “Sponsors” page of our website for more information on each of our sponsors and to learn how they can be of benefit to you in your practice.        

We are pleased to introduce the members of VADA’s Executive Committee for 2022-23! Pictured below, beginning L to R in the top row are: President, Julie Palmer of Harman Claytor Corrigan & Wellman; Immediate Past President, Jason Moyers of Frankl Miller Webb & Moyers, LLP; President-Elect, Jim Cales of Furniss, Davis, Rashkind and Saunders, P.C.; Treasurer, Lindsay Rollins of The Progressive Group; and Secretary, Matt Kelley of Frith Anderson + Peake PC.

The Women’s Section kicked off its second year with dinner at Billy’s on Thursday of the Annual Meeting.  Sponsored by Planet Depos and complete with seasonal drinks, the dinner was a fun way to re-connect with friends and meet new ones.  We hope the Women’s Section will bring together VADA women in all career stages, with the unifying goal of supporting each other personally and professionally. 

We look forward to carrying the energy and enthusiasm from the Annual Meeting into this year, starting with lunchtime Zoom meetings each quarter during which we will roundtable current topics, questions, and concerns unique to VADA women.  Stay tuned for details!

Meanwhile, we welcome input on possible events, including gatherings during both the Spring Meeting in Staunton in May 2023, and the Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach in October 2023.  Please reach out with ideas to Chair Rachel Horvath and Vice Chair Taylor Brewer.  

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

December 2
Young Lawyers Boot Camp
Drive Shack Richmond


March 3-4
Deposition Workshop
University of Richmond

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

TBD Summer 2023
Paralegal Seminar

October 25-27
Annual Meeting
Marriott Resort Virginia Beach Oceanfront

This South Boston, Virginia, native, father of three, and Virginia Tech alum might have you thinking you’re in Lane Stadium or Cassell Coliseum when he rises to address the jury.  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.

Nadeem Bohsali
Harman Claytor Corrigan Wellman

Sara Bugbee
Hancock Daniel

William Carr
Franklin Prokopic

Bryn Clegg
Willcox & Savage

Jeffrey Donofrio
McCandlish Holton

Michael Gwinn
McCandlish Holton

Roger Marion
Marion Law

Brennan McGovern
Harman Claytor Corrigan Wellman

William Nossen
Babcock Moore

Heather Pearson
Willcox & Savage

Tyler Rankin
Byrne Canaan

Charles Sipe
Bonner Kiernan

Wellness Challenge Wrap-Up

The VADA Wellness Committee is dedicated to promoting wellness initiatives for its members. This year, the Wellness Committee created our Wellness Challenge, a four-week program focused on the areas of mindfulness, physical fitness, nutrition, mental health and mental health. The challenge ran in the weeks leading up to the 2022 VADA Annual Meeting in Roanoke, where the winners of the challenge were announced.  

The winners competed for our Steps Leaderboard Challenge, in which awards were presented to members with the highest total step count at the end of the four weeks. We also presented awards those who kept up the longest streak of at least 7,500 steps a day.  Our participants collectively logged almost 88 miles in four weeks! In order to qualify, each participant must have also completed a daily challenge related to one of our areas of wellness.  Our winners were:

Steps Leaderboard

  1. Amy Hensley (Office of the Attorney General of Virginia): 434,244 steps
  2. Sally Moore (Babcock & Moore): 353,718 steps
  3. Rachel Horvath (Smith Bain Manuel & Horvath): 347,622 steps

Streak Leaderboard

  • Dawn Boyce (McGavin Boyce Bardot Thorsen & Katz)
  • Amy Hensley (Office of the Attorney General or Virginia)
  • Rachel Horvath (Smith Bain Manuel & Horvath)
  • Jonathan Hyslop (Furniss Davis Rashkind & Saunders)
  • Sally Moore (Babcock & Moore)

Leaderboard winners Sally Moore and Rachel Horvath with Wellness Committee member Nate Schnetzler.

Streak winners Jonathan Hyslop and Rachel Horvath with Wellness Committee member Nate Schnetzler.

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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
    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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