Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 54.1. Professions and Occupations
6/6/2020

Article 2. Bar Organization and Government.

§ 54.1-3909. Rules and regulations defining practice of law and prescribing procedures for practice of law by law students, codes of ethics, use of limited liability companies, and disciplinary procedure.

The Supreme Court may promulgate rules and regulations:

Defining the practice of law.

Prescribing procedures for the limited practice of law by third-year law students.

Prescribing a code of ethics governing the professional conduct of attorneys including the practice of law or patent law through professional law corporations, limited liability companies, and partnerships, and a code of judicial ethics.

Prescribing procedures for disciplining, suspending, and disbarring attorneys.

Code 1950, § 54-48; 1973, c. 484; 1974, c. 456; 1988, c. 765; 1992, c. 574.

§ 54.1-3910. Organization and government of Virginia State Bar.

The Supreme Court may promulgate rules and regulations organizing and governing the Virginia State Bar. The Virginia State Bar shall act as an administrative agency of the Court for the purpose of investigating and reporting violations of rules and regulations adopted by the Court under this article. All advisory opinions issued by the Virginia State Bar's Standing Committees on Legal Ethics, Lawyer Advertising and Solicitation, and Unauthorized Practice of Law shall be incorporated into the Code of Virginia pursuant to § 30-154. All persons engaged in the practice of law in the Commonwealth shall be active members in good standing of the Virginia State Bar.

Code 1950, § 54-49; 1974, c. 536; 1991, c. 564; 2002, c. 306.

§ 54.1-3910.1. Enforcement, etc., of costs.

Orders of the Disciplinary Board regarding unpaid costs assessed by the Clerk of the Disciplinary System pursuant to Part Six, Section IV, Paragraph 13 of the Rules of the Supreme Court may be recorded, enforced, and satisfied as orders or decrees of a circuit court upon certification of such order by the Disciplinary Board.

2001, c. 225.

§ 54.1-3911. Transmission of certain information to House and Senate Committees for Courts of Justice.

The Virginia State Bar is authorized to transmit to the House and Senate Committees for Courts of Justice, upon request of the chairman of either Committee, any evidence that it has in its possession with reference to any pending disciplinary proceeding involving a licensed attorney whose name has been placed before the Committee for consideration for election as a judge of a court of this Commonwealth and the record of any previous disciplinary action taken against the attorney.

1985, c. 264, § 54-49.1; 1988, c. 765.

§ 54.1-3912. Fees.

The Supreme Court may promulgate rules and regulations fixing a schedule of fees to be paid by members of the Virginia State Bar for the purpose of administering this article, and providing for the collection and disbursement of such fees; but the annual fees to be paid by any attorney shall not exceed $250.

Code 1950, § 54-50; 1956, c. 256; 1964, c. 332; 1970, c. 605; 1975, c. 218; 1982, c. 602; 1986, c. 205; 1988, c. 765; 1993, c. 38; 1995, c. 15.

§ 54.1-3913. State Bar Fund; receipts; disbursements.

The State Bar Fund is continued as a special fund in the state treasury. All fees collected from the members of the Virginia State Bar as provided in § 54.1-3912 shall be paid into the state treasury immediately upon collection and credited to the State Bar Fund. All moneys paid into the Fund are hereby appropriated to the Virginia State Bar for the purpose of administering the provisions of this article. All disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer upon warrants of the Comptroller issued upon vouchers signed by an authorized officer of the Virginia State Bar in accordance with rules and regulations promulgated by the Supreme Court.

Code 1950, § 54-52; 1964, c. 531; 1974, c. 608; 1979, c. 440; 1988, c. 765.

§ 54.1-3913.1. (Effective until July 1, 2023) Clients' Protection Fund.

The Clients' Protection Fund is continued as a special fund of the Virginia State Bar. The Fund shall consist of moneys transferred to it from the State Bar Fund and the Virginia State Bar's Administration and Finance Account. Disbursements to the Clients' Protection Fund from the State Bar Fund shall be made only upon approval of the disbursements through the annual budgetary process of the Virginia State Bar. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 54.1-3912, the Supreme Court may adopt rules assessing members of the Virginia State Bar an annual fee of up to $25 to be deposited in the State Bar Fund and transferred to the Clients' Protection Fund.

1996, c. 346; 2007, c. 807.

§ 54.1-3913.1. (Effective July 1, 2023) Clients' Protection Fund.

The Clients' Protection Fund is continued as a special fund of the Virginia State Bar. The Fund shall consist of moneys transferred to it from the State Bar Fund and the Virginia State Bar's Administration and Finance Account. Disbursements to the Clients' Protection Fund from the State Bar Fund shall be made only upon approval of the disbursements through the annual budgetary process of the Virginia State Bar.

1996, c. 346.

§ 54.1-3914. Forfeiture of license for failing to pay fees; restoration of license.

Any attorney licensed to practice in this Commonwealth who fails for two successive years to pay the annual fees provided for by § 54.1-3912, shall thereby forfeit his license to practice law in this Commonwealth.

On or before July 31 of each year, the Executive Director of the Virginia State Bar shall notify every attorney whose fees for the two preceding years have not been paid. The notice shall be deemed to have been given if deposited by registered or certified mail addressed to such attorney at his address as shown on the Executive Director's official records. If payment is not received by the Executive Director within six months from the date of such notice, he shall remove the name of the attorney from his list of persons qualified to practice law in Virginia, and shall notify the clerk of the Supreme Court of Virginia that the name of the attorney has been removed. The name of any attorney so removed shall be restored only upon application of such person to the Executive Director accompanied by a sum equal to the aggregate of all fees which are due, plus a penalty of $100. Upon receipt of the fees and penalty, the Executive Director shall restore the name of such person to his list of persons qualified to practice law in Virginia and shall notify the clerk of the Supreme Court of Virginia that such name has been restored.

1960, c. 459, § 54-50.1; 1984, c. 359; 1988, c. 765.

§ 54.1-3915. Restrictions as to rules and regulations.

Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this article, the Supreme Court shall not promulgate rules or regulations prescribing a code of ethics governing the professional conduct of attorneys which are inconsistent with any statute; nor shall it promulgate any rule or regulation or method of procedure which eliminates the jurisdiction of the courts to deal with the discipline of attorneys. In no case shall an attorney who demands to be tried by a court of competent jurisdiction for the violation of any rule or regulation adopted under this article be tried in any other manner.

Code 1950, § 54-51; 1974, c. 536; 1988, c. 765.

§ 54.1-3915.1. Rules regarding client accounts.

The Supreme Court shall not promulgate any disciplinary rules, rule or regulation requiring that attorneys or law firms deposit client funds in interest-bearing accounts, pooled or otherwise, on which the interest is required to be paid to any person or entity other than the client. Any disciplinary rule, rule or regulation previously promulgated which is inconsistent with this section is void and of no effect.

1995, c. 93.

§ 54.1-3916. Legal aid societies.

A. The Virginia State Bar through its governing body is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations governing the function and operation of legal aid societies to further the objective of providing legal assistance to persons requiring such assistance but unable to pay for it. To the extent that interest is paid by a financial institution on client funds deposited by attorneys or law firms in pooled interest bearing accounts established and maintained under circumstances which do not conflict with § 54.1-3915.1, any interest earned on such accounts shall be paid by the financial institution periodically, but at least quarterly, to the Legal Services Corporation of Virginia.

B. The rules and regulations adopted under subsection A may be enforced by the Virginia State Bar, or by the Attorney General if so authorized by the Virginia State Bar.

C. It shall be a Class 1 misdemeanor for any person, firm, corporation or other organization to render legal services as a legal aid society, or for any attorney to render legal services at the instance or request of any such person, firm, corporation or organization unless the person, firm, corporation or organization complies with the rules and regulations adopted under subsection A hereof. In addition to the criminal penalty, an injunction shall lie to prevent any violation of this section or rule or regulation adopted hereunder.

1956, Ex. Sess., c. 47; 1958, c. 253; 1988, c. 765; 1995, c. 93.

§ 54.1-3917. Master retirement program.

The Virginia State Bar through its governing body is authorized to approve and be a party to a master retirement program for the benefit of the members of the Virginia State Bar, their employees and families, including the power to execute, amend and revoke a master plan and trust agreement and to pay from the State Bar Fund in the manner provided in § 54.1-3913 the printing and administrative costs incurred in the promulgation and explanation of such program to the members of the Virginia State Bar. Any such program entered into or expenditure made before June 28, 1968, is hereby validated.

1968, c. 370, § 54-52.2; 1988, c. 765.

§ 54.1-3917.1. Group or individual insurance policies.

The Virginia State Bar, through its governing body, is authorized to endorse insurance coverages or to be a holder of group or individual insurance policies for the benefit of the members of the Virginia State Bar, their employees and families. In connection therewith, the Virginia State Bar is authorized to execute, amend and revoke agreements to provide such endorsement or such group or individual insurance policies to such members, employees and families. All group or individual insurance policies or coverages endorsed or held by the Virginia State Bar before July 1, 1995, are hereby approved.

1995, c. 65.

§ 54.1-3918. Availability of Virginia State Bar membership list.

When requested, copies of the Virginia State Bar membership address list shall be made available to Virginia professional legal organizations which operate not for profit and which regularly conduct continuing legal education programs in the Commonwealth. If specified by the requestor, the list shall be made available in computer sorted zip code sequence in a mailing label format suitable for bulk mailing. Lists shall be provided by the Virginia State Bar on a cost recovery basis.

Each request for the mailing list shall be made in writing by requesting organizations to the Executive Director of the Virginia State Bar. Each request shall state the date the list is needed by the requestor and each request shall be postmarked no less than thirty days prior to such date. The cost of mailing or shipping shall be borne by the requestor.

1981, c. 496, § 54-52.2:1; 1988, c. 765.

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

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