Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 54.1. Professions and Occupations
Chapter 39. Attorneys
2/28/2020

§ 54.1-3937. Procedure for revocation of certificate of registration of professional law corporations or professional limited liability companies.

A. If the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals or any circuit court of this Commonwealth observes, or if a complaint, verified by affidavit, is made by any person to a circuit court having jurisdiction where the alleged violation occurred, that any law corporation or professional limited liability company has willfully failed to comply with the applicable ethical standards of the Virginia Code of Professional Responsibility or the applicable statutes governing professional corporations or professional limited liability companies, such court may issue a rule against such law corporation or law professional limited liability company to show cause why its certificate of registration should not be revoked. If the complaint, verified by affidavit, is made by the Bar Counsel or a district committee of the Virginia State Bar, the court shall issue a rule against the law corporation or law professional limited liability company to show cause why its certificate of registration should not be revoked. However, such rule shall not issue if the violation is (i) that of one or several persons only and the interest of justice and the protection of the public can be fairly served by appropriate disciplinary proceedings against the individuals involved, or (ii) that the law corporation does not have a valid certificate of registration.

B. If the rule is issued by the Supreme Court, the rule shall be returnable to the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond. At the time the rule is issued, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall designate three circuit court judges to hear and decide the case.

If the rule is issued by a circuit court or the Court of Appeals, it shall thereupon certify the fact of such issuance to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The Chief Justice shall designate three circuit court judges of circuits other than the circuit in which the case is pending to hear and decide the case.

C. Bar Counsel of the Virginia State Bar shall prosecute the case. Special counsel may be appointed to prosecute the case pursuant to § 2.2-510.

D. If, after notice and opportunity to be heard, the law corporation or law professional limited liability company is found guilty by the court of a willful failure to comply with the applicable ethical standards in the Virginia Code of Professional Responsibility or the applicable statutes governing professional corporations or professional limited liability companies, the court may (i) reprimand the professional corporation or professional limited liability company, (ii) put it on terms to comply with the applicable law or ethical standards within a reasonable time upon condition that failure to comply shall constitute grounds for suspension or revocation of the certificate of registration or for other disciplinary action, or (iii) suspend or revoke the certificate of registration. If the violation is such that it can be corrected upon notice to the law corporation or law professional limited liability company and it is corrected to the satisfaction of the court, or if the violation is that of one or several persons only, the certificate of registration shall not be suspended or revoked if the interest of justice and the protection of the public can be fairly served by applicable disciplinary proceedings against the individuals involved.

E. The law corporation or professional limited liability company may, as of right, appeal from the judgment of the court to the Supreme Court by petition based upon a true transcript of the record, which shall be made up and certified as in actions at law. In all cases where a professional corporation's or professional limited liability company's certificate of registration has been revoked or suspended by the court, such revocation or suspension shall be suspended pending appeal.

F. In any proceedings under this section the defendant shall be entitled to a full and fair hearing and representation by counsel.

1974, c. 674, § 54-74.1; 1980, c. 289; 1984, c. 703; 1988, c. 765; 1992, c. 574.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.