Old Dominion Bar Association


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W.T. Mason, Jr. in his own words

                                             Historic interview of W.T. Mason, Jr.

Part 2

ODBA Partners with the Virginia State Bar Access to Justice Committee to Host the Bridging the Justice Gap Seminar

SEPT. 12, 2017

The Virginia State Bar Access to Justice Committee and the Old Dominion Bar Association co-sponsored a free seminar – with three MCLE hours pending – called “Bridging the Justice Gap through Pro Bono” on September 12 in Richmond.

The seminar was led by Karl Doss, John Whitfield and Randy Rollins and covered topics including the misconceptions about pro bono, the Rules of Professional Conduct as they pertain to pro bono and the ways lawyers may get involved with helping Virginians of low income and modest means obtain access to justice.

The program was an overwhelming success thanks to our 3 presenters.  There were 68 attorneys in attendance. Thanks to this seminar, we are all more likely to provide pro bono services to indigent clients.

ODBA 77th Annual Meeting

Old Dominion Bar Association held its Annual Meeting at the award winning Embassy Suites Hotel in Springfield Virginia June 1-4, 2017.  “Promoting Excellence, Diversity and Civility in the Legal Profession” was the theme of this year’s Annual Meeting. 

On Thursday, June 1st, the conference started off by ODBA celebrating ODBA’s Executive Board Member, Doris H. Causey, who is now the First African-American Woman elected President of the Virginia State Bar.  The celebration started at 7pm and went until almost midnight.  A number of people came out to celebrate Doris to include many judges and politicians.  ODBA member, the Honorable Marilynn C. Goss of the Richmond Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court did the honors of introducing our new President of the VSB and her very good friend, Doris H. Causey.

On Friday, June 2nd, after a welcome from Jane Reynolds (ODBA President), Kevin Judd (NBA President), Michael Robinson (VSB President), Bryan Slaughter (VTLA President elect) and Marcus Scriven (Urban League Guild of Hampton Roads President), The Honorable Scott A. Surovell (Senator/38th District) started the day by sharing with us legislative updates.  Senator Surovell kept everyone’s attention with his wisdom and keen sense of knowledge of the updates we need to know.  ODBA member (Ret) Judge Cunningham was also very knowledgeable, informing and entertaining as he presented on the Ethical Advocacy in Mediation. 

Twenty-First Annual American University, Washington College of Law Sylvania Woods Conference Conference on African Americans and the Law

On Tuesday, April 27, 2017, a great time was had at the Twenty-First Annual Sylvania Woods Conference on Africans Americans and the Law at American University Washington College of Law. Congratulations Dean Camille Nelson on another wonderful program and congratulations to all of our Awardees. Sherry Weaver, you will be missed. Your hard work never went unnoticed. Thank you ODBA member Honorable Gerald Bruce Lee for your contributions to our school (presidential appointment and unanimous senate confirmation in 1998). We are so proud of you and your accomplishments.

February 2017 Bar Council Meeting 

The Virginia State Bar Council met in Richmond at the Omni Hotel on February 25, 2017.  The meeting was led by President Michael W. Robinson. 

The council approved the proposed amendments to the Clients’ Protection Fund (“CPF”). The amendments will improve the structure and organization of the rules and procedures and the processing of claims of the CPF. The council also approved the proposed amendments to Rules 7.1-7.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct that govern lawyer advertising. The amendments are in response to the rise of Internet marketing and communications. All of the proposed amendments will be presented to the Supreme Court of Virginia for its review and approval. 

ODBA President Jane M Reynolds attended the meeting and the Bar Council Dinner at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on February 24th. For a full report of the Bar Council meeting, please go to:  


ODBA President attends the Virginia Bar Association Conference in Williamsburg, VA where David S. Mercer was sworn in as the 129th President

Partial story and photo from vba.org >

On January 21, 2017, the Virginia Bar Association (VBA) installed David S. Mercer as its 129th president in Williamsburg,VA. Mercer is a principal of MercerTrigiani, an Alexandria-based law firm.

Three other members of Virginia’s first and largest statewide voluntary organization of lawyers and judges also began one-year terms as officers:

  • C.J. Steuart Thomas III of Staunton as president-elect,
  • Richard E. Garriott Jr. of Virginia Beach as chair of the Board of Governors, and
  • James Patrick Guy II as immediate past president.

Mercer spoke about his excitement to be leading the VBA, an organization that has served so many to include members of the judicial and legislative communities, as well as students and teaching at Virginia’s outstanding law schools. He also spoke about the relocation of the headquarters to Richmond, Virginia called VBA on Main.

During the VBA Annual Meeting on January 19th, our very own immediate past president, Helivi Holland, and ODBA member James (Jim) Patrick Guy, II, were inducted as Fellows in a Virginia Law Foundation (VLF) ceremony. The Fellows of the VLF are recognized as leaders in the profession, in their practices and their communities.

Congratulations to all and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the VBA.

ODBA Lifetime Member Featured 

Congratulations to lifetime member Judge Angela Roberts for being featured in Richmond Justice. Each week in 2016, this site revealed a new portrait and story about a Richmonder whose life is shaped in some way by the justice system.

ODBA President Featured in NVBCC Business Highlight of the Week

December 13, 2016

View the highlight here >

Lawyer's Weekly recognizes ODBA Member Patice Holland as Up & Coming Lawyer 2016

Patice L. Holland, is the first African-American female principal in Woods Rogers’ Roanoke office  She has a diverse litigation practice and experience. She is licensed in Virginia, Florida and Washington, DC.

Patice is the Roanoke (Va.) Bar Association’s Young Lawyer of the Year for 2016. Virginia Super Lawyers selected her as a “Rising Star” in 2015 and 2016.  In 2014, she was awarded the Rev. F.E. Alexander Award for Excellence in Business by the Roanoke Chapter of the Urban Professional League (UPL).

In addition to her membership in Old Dominion Bar Association, Patice is a member of the American Bar Association, Florida Bar Association, Roanoke Bar Association, Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys and Virginia Bar Association where she is the Transportation Law Section Council, Chair and Membership Co-Chair (23rd Judicial Circuit). 

Congratulations to Patice in her selection for the first class of Up & Coming Lawyer by Virginia Lawyer’s Weekly.

Old Dominion Bar Association Congratulates the South Hampton Roads Bar Association

June 30, 2016

The Virginia State Bar has named the South Hampton Roads Bar Association (SHRBA) the recipient of the Bar Association of the Year Award.

L Tyrone Myers writes: It was a pleasure to present the South Hampton Roads Bar Association Inaugural Bar Leaders Award to Judge Jerrauld C. Jones of the Norfolk Circuit Court for "Judge of the Year" with the assistance of the President-Elect of the Virginia State Bar, Doris H. Causey. Even more proud as outgoing president of the South Hampton Roads Bar Association to have lead the bar to recognition by the Virginia State Bar as the "Best Local Bar Association in Virginia." Its been a great year. Thank you to the New Journal and Guide for covering our Annual Meeting and Awards Presentation. Thank you God, for everything.

Congratulations to Judge Jones, Doris H. Causey and the South Hampton Roads Bar Association for your hard work and leadership! 

Old Dominion Bar Association Congratulates the New President of the Virginia State Bar

June 18, 2016

Photo and story by Virginia State Bar News.

Michael W. Robinson, of Tysons Corner, is the Virginia State Bar’s new president. He heads a state agency that regulates and supports 49,000 Virginia lawyers.

Robinson was sworn in June 17 during the VSB’s Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach.

Robinson, a partner with Venable LLC, has been serving as the 19th District representative on the VSB Council and as chair of the Standing Committee on Legal Ethics. He previously served as chair of the Special Committee on Bench-Bar Relations and has been on the faculty of the Professionalism Course.

He also is a member of the Fairfax County Bar Association.

Robinson is a graduate of George Mason University, where he received a B.A. in philosophy. His law degree is also from George Mason University.

His practice focuses on commercial disputes, business torts, and the protection of intellectual property rights.

He is married to Courtney R. Robinson and has five children.

June 2016 - 76th Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach

Old Dominion Bar Association held its 76th Annual Meeting at the Wyndham Virginia Beach OceanFront Hotel in Virginia Beach on June 2-5, 2016, where judges, lawyers, law students and friends from    Virginia and surrounding areas gathered for four days of fellowship, luncheons, meetings, and workshops.

The Conference chairs, Artisha Gregg, Esq., and Kim Crump Esq. did an outstanding job, starting the conference off on Thursday with a Golf Tournament.  The Golf Tournament was well attended with some of the proceeds going to scholarship recipients.

Friday’s activities included continuing legal education seminars and the President’s Luncheon.  Reverend Dr. Steven G. Blunt of First Baptist Church, Mahan Street was the keynote speaker. Holland presented the President’s Award of Merit to our past and current Treasurer, Clarence Brooks in recognition of and appreciation for his hard work, dedication and efficiency in handling the responsibilities of that office. The     seminars continued on Saturday followed by the Judicial Luncheon.  The keynote speaker was the Honorable Raymond A. Jackson of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Judge Jackson enlightened us with his words of wisdom and how to succeed in federal court.   

New officers and executive committee members were elected during Saturday’s business meeting.  The officers are President, Jane M. Reynolds, Esq., who was sworn in by the Honorable Rossie D. Alston, Jr. of the Court of Appeals of Virginia; President-Elect, Stacy E. Lee, Esq., Secretary, Pia J. Miller, Esq., and Treasurer, Clarence H. Brooks, Esq. Helivi L. Holland, Esq. is Immediate Past President.  Additional Executive Committee members are: Doris Henderson Causey, Esq., Darius K. Davenport, Esq., Shari King-Casey, Esq., Kiah D. Spinks, Esq., Bruce C. Sams, Esq., Angela P. Bowser, Esq., Joan Ziglar, Esq., Jordan E. McKay, Esq., Tonnie R. Villines, Esq., Donald J. Gee, Esq., and Leonard L. Brown, Jr. Board members present were sworn in by the Honorable D. Eugene Cheek, Chief Judge of the Richmond Criminal General District Court.

The Honorable Roger Gregory of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit was the keynote speaker for the concluding banquet Saturday evening. Judge Gregory is a past president of the Old Dominion Bar Association, a past rector of and has served on the Board of Visitors for Virginia Commonwealth University, has served on the Board of Visitors of Virginia State University and also as an adjunct professor of Constitutional Law.  He served on the Brown v. Board of Education 50th Anniversary Commission established by the President and Congress to commemorate that landmark decision.  Judge Gregory has received numerous awards, to include the National Bar Association’s prestigious Gertrude E. Rush and Equal Justice Awards and the National Conference of Christians and Jews Humanitarian Award.  He received the Thurgood Marshall Award of Excellence.  He was awarded the William Green Award for Professional Excellence from the University of Richmond School of Law.  Judge Gregory presently serves on the Board of Trustees of the University of Richmond, is an active member of Good Shepherd Baptist Church in Petersburg, Virginia, a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Alpha Beta Boule.  Judge Gregory is the only judge to have ever been appointed to the same judicial seat by two presidents of different political parties (Clinton and Bush) and will be Chief Judge July 2016.  Judge Gregory’s speech was informative as well as enlightening and inspirational. We were blessed to have him as our keynote speaker.

we also want to thank the following presidents and ODBA members that joined our conference:

  • Michael W Robinson, newly elected President of the Virginia State Bar
  • James (Jim) Patrick Guy II, President of the Virginia Bar Association
  • Stephanie E. Grana, President of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association
  •  Leonard Myers II, President of the South Hampton Roads Bar Association  
  • Wayne Marcus Scriven, President of the Urban League Guild of Hampton Roads

Members, guests and friends were further entertained with a Liturgical Dance by the 112 M.V.P. Mime Ministry and we were honored with the National Anthem by Booker T. Washington High School Color Guard, Presentation of Colors.

Law Student Letiequa Hayes Wallace, a 2L at Liberty University School of Law, was awarded for her winning essay entitled “Hands Up” by the Honorable Bernard Goodwyn of the Supreme Court of Virginia, the Honorable Roxie O. Holder of Portsmouth General District Court and Jane M. Reynolds, President of the Old Dominion Bar Association, judges of the contest.

The Old Dominion Br Association gave out 3 awards to individuals that continue to go above and beyond what is required of them. Our     outgoing President, Helivi L. Holland, received the L. Douglas Wilder Vanguard Award for her outstanding achievements in the profession; our member, Wayne Marcus Scriven received the Harold Marsh Sr. Community Service Award for his work in the legal profession, community, church and civic organizations; and our member and new Lifetime member, the Honorable Angela Edwards Roberts received the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of more than 30 years of service and contributions on and off the bench. She has contributed significantly toward the development of laws and/or legislation, which continue to have a favorable impact upon the community.  Rhonda Spady also became a new lifetime ODBA member.

Congressman Bobby Scott, who represents the 3rd District of Virginia is a member of the Old Dominion Bar Association and was in            attendance for the conference.

On Saturday night, the Bid Whist and Spades contests continued in the hospitality suite until about 3am Sunday morning.  Members still made it to the first business meeting of the new program year at 9am that morning.  The meeting was open to all members and well attended.  Members adjourned to join their guests and families for fellowship  during the Sunday Send-Off brunch.

Presidential Luncheon Photos

Judicial Luncheon Photos

Judicial Banquet Photos

WT Mason Charity Golf Tournament

Old Dominion Bar Association would like to give a huge thank you to Eva N Juncker of Millennium Diversity Initiative Inc. for organizing the WT Mason Charity Golf Tournament at its 76th Annual Convention on June 2, 2016 at the Virginia Beach National Golf Course in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Without the hard work and dedication of Eva N. Juncker, this event, would not have been possible or as successful.

ODBA and  VSB Pro Bono Webinar: Making the Case for Pro Bono: The Justice Gap, Rule 6.1, and Virginia's New Online Pro Bono Website  

Registration for the VSB/ODBA Pro Bono Webinar is now open. The program has been approved for 1.5 hours of MCLE ethics credit on the topic of Making the Case for Pro Bono: The Justice Gap, Rule 6.1, and Virginia's New Online Pro Bono Website.

This is an ODBA first and let’s show an enormous amount of participation. There is no registration fee to attend but registrants will be asked to certify that they will register for the online pro bono website, accept a pro bono referral from a legal services organization or make a financial donation to a legal aid office.

Please register for Making the Case for Pro Bono: The Justice Gap, Rule 6.1, and Virginia's New Online Pro Bono Website on May 24, 2016 1:00 PM EDT at:


Thanks is given to ODBA Member Karl Doss for his leadership in making this webinar available to our members and anyone else interested.

A great time at the VBA Annual Meeting...in spite of the blizzard

With the snow made Williamsburg look like a winter wonderland to all who attended the events of the 126th VBA Annual Meeting from January 21 - 23, 2016. Congratulations is extended to ODBA member "Pete" Johnson, III for an outstanding year as President of the VBA and congratulations and best wishes is extended to ODBA member James Patrick Guy, II as he begins his Presidency of the VBA.

The commitment of comradery between the ODBA and VBA was apparent as President Guy asked ODBA President Helivi L. Holland and her mother Col. (Ret.) Lula B. Holland to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at his swearing-in ceremony.  Additionally, a highlight of the Meeting was the presentation of the VBA's highest award, The Gerald Baililes Distinguished Service Award, to ODBA member Retired Virginia Supreme Court Justice John Charles Thomas.

A hardy expression is extended to the VBA for the great hospitality that was extended throughout the weekend.

"Making Black History Award" Given to President Holland and Member Scriven

Congratulations is extended to our President, Helivi L. Holland, and our Member W. Marcus Scriven on their receipt of Regent BLSA's Joyce Marie Plemmer Making Black History Award. Attorney Joyce Marie Plemmer was the first black attorney to graduate from Regent University. Last year, the law school recognized her and honored two of the ODBA's Judicial Members, Judges Teresa Hammons and Tanya Bullock. This year's awards were presented on February 26, 2016, in Regent University's Library Atrium at a dinner attended by more than 140 persons, including several ODBA members and our webmaster.

The announcement of the award from the BLSA chapter read that "these recipients were chosen because they embody the courage, boldness, and community spirit of the Black Law Students Association. They have also been consistent conduits of service opportunities for the student leadership of BLSA by introducing students to other attorneys and judges in order to establish one-on-one mentorship connections and by participating in forums from which to glean invaluable wisdom pertaining to the practice of law." 

Pictured are Holland and Scriven and Holland, Plemmer and Scriven. President Holland is the first female and the first black City Attorney for the City of Suffolk. Member Scriven is a sole practitioner with law licenses in Virginia, California, South Carolina and DC.

Congratulations to winners of the ODBA 2015 Scholarship Essay Competition Winners

The ODBA is pleased to extend congratulations to the winners of the Inaugural Scholarship Essay Competition Winners. Entries were received from two of Virginia’s Law School, Liberty University Law School and Regent University Law School.  The winner for Liberty University is L. Hayes Wallace, 2L and the winner for Regent University is Venecia Patterson, 2L. Each winner from the each law school was recognized at the 2016 Winter

 Meeting on January 30, 2016.  The winners received their awards of a plaque and $400 at the Luncheon of the Winter Meeting. 

Additionally, the announcement of the overall winner for law schools in Virginia was shared at the Luncheon.  A special congratulations is extended to L. Hayes Wallace for her award winning essay.  In addition to the previous mentioned award, Ms. Wallace will receive free registration and lodging at our Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach.  Ms. Wallace will read her essay at our annual banquet on June 4, 2016.

A special thanks is extended to our judges for the competition, Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court, S. Bernard Goodwyn; Judge of the Portsmouth General District Court, Roxie Holder; and President-Elect of the ODBA, Jane Reynolds.

Read more about our winners below:

ODBA 2015 Scholarship Essay Competition Winners

Letiequa Hayes Wallace, 2L – Liberty University Law School

Letiequa Hayes Wallace is a native of New York but has called Virginia her home for the past 15 years. In 2011, she graduated from Hampton University, with a BA in Political Science. Shortly after graduation she worked as an executive assistant to the legal and human resources team at Jefferson Lab before finally pursing her dream of going to law school.  She is currently a second year law student at Liberty University School of Law, in Lynchburg Virginia. During her 1L year she received recognition from the Virginia Law Foundation because of her commitment and  desire of public interest law.

In the summer of her 1L year L. Hayes was fortunate enough to procure an internship at the Pittsylvania County Commonwealth Attorney's office in Chatham, Virginia. During her internship she had the opportunity to contribute and experience first-hand the area of law to which she has such high regards. Upon graduation L. Hayes aspires to pursue a career in criminal law and civil rights advocacy. 

When L. Hayes is not busy studying the law, she enjoys leisure reading, volunteering in her community, and spending time with family, which includes a loving husband and son, as well as friends

Venecia Patterson, 2L – Regent University Law School

Venecia Patterson is a native of Northern Virginia but moved with her family to Memphis, Tennessee at the age of 5. After being homeschooled from second grade through high school, she attended Southwest Tennessee Community College, earning an Associate’s Degree in one year. After graduating summa cum lauded with a degree in Paralegal Studies, she continued her studies at the University of Memphis earning a BS in Professional Studies: Paralegal Services, also summa cum laude. Venecia worked at a large personal injury law firm in Tennessee for a little over four years before applying and being accepted at Regent University School of Law In 2014.               

While in law school, Venecia has enjoyed a variety of experiences, including being a staff editor for the Regent University School of Law Journal of Global Justice and Public Policy, an associate member of the Trial Advocacy Board, membership in several organizations including BLSA and the Federalist Society, and is currently employed as a law clerk for the American Center for Law and Justice.

2016 Winter Meeting – Wonderful Time in Williamsburg

The 2016 Winter Meeting was absolutely wonderful. 

The time together started with a great hospitality suite reception that LexisNexis helped provide. Cozy with a fireplace blazing, everyone enjoyed the food, drinks and conversation.

Saturday was a full day of discussion, CLEs, eating, laughing with old friends and conversing with new friends.  All 4.5 hours of CLEs received rave reviews regarding the subject matter and the presenters.  The law school students expressed enjoyment with all aspects of the weekend.  Special thanks is expressed to our host, William & Mary School of Law, for their most gracious hospitality.

Visit the 2016 Winter Meeting Photo Gallery here. Much appreciation is extended to Juanita Ferguson, ODBA Executive Committee Member, for serving as our photographer for the event.

We thank our fellow bar Presidents of the VSB, VBA, and VTLA  and the NBA Region IV Director for attending and providing such warm greetings.  Additionally, we congratulate L. H. Wallace of Liberty University Law School for winning the 2015 Scholarship Essay Competition for all law schools in Virginia.  Venecia Patterson was the winner for Regent University Law School.

Remember that you can make more ODBA memories at the 2016 Annual Meeting being held in Virginia Beach from June 2 – 5, 2016.  Click here to register now >

Special Thanks to Our Sponsors


  • College William & Mary School of Law
  • Dean Davison Douglas & Staff



  • Bean, Kinney & Korman, PC
  • Joe Fernandes, CFP
  • Clarence Brooks, Esq.
  • John E. Lichtenstein, Esq., President of VTLA


  • Beverly Burton, Esq.
  • James P. Guy, II, President of VBA
  • Ternon Galloway Lee, Esq.
  • Helivi L. Holland, Esq.
  • Harry M. “Pete” Johnson, III, Immediate Past President of VBA
  • The Honorable Bonnie L. Jones, Judge
  • Jane Reynolds, Esq.


  • The Honorable Marilynn Goss, Judge
  • The Honorable Roxie Holder, Judge
  • Stacy E. Lee, Esq.
  • William T. Mason, Esq.
  • Doris Causey, Esq. Col.
  • (Ret.) Lula B. Holland
  • The Honorable Cressondra Conyers, Judge 
  • The Honorable Angela Roberts, Judge
  • Donald J. Gee, Esq. 
  • Bruce E. Robinson, Esq.
  • Earl J. Gee, Esq. 
  • Conjo Galloway Whitney
  • Curtis M. Hairston, Esq. 
  • Karla Williams, Esq.
  • Charlotte Hodges, Esq. 
  • Simone T. Williams, Esq.
  • The Honorable Roxie Holder, Judge

Congratulations to Judge Spencer

October 2015

Congratulations is extended to U.S. District Court Judge James R. Spencer who was named the “Leader of the Year” for 2015 in the Virginia Lawyers Weekly “Leaders in the Law” program Oct. 29, 2015.

Congratulations to Judge Jamison

November 2015

Congratulations is extended to General District Court for Richmond, VA, Judge Birdie H. Jamison on her retirement and the unveiling of her portrait on November 20, 2015.

Full statement from Judge Martin Clark in his decision to remove the portrait of General J.E.B. Stuart from the courthouse in Patrick County.

August 2015

On August 19, 2015, I personally removed General J. E. B. Stuart’s portrait from the Patrick County Circuit Court’s courtroom.

This will no doubt anger, perplex and disappoint many residents of our county, perhaps even the majority of people who live here. It will be an unpopular decision in many quarters, especially given that the courthouse is located in a town named in Stuart’s honor. Still, it is my goal—and my duty as a judge—to provide a trial setting that is perceived by all participants as fair, neutral and without so much as a hint of prejudice. Confederate symbols are, simply put, offensive to African Americans, and this reaction is based on fact and clear, straightforward history. Bigotry saturates the Confederacy’s founding principles, its racial aspirations and its public pronouncements. For instance, the Declarations of Causes—the legal and philosophical grounds recited by the Southern states for leaving the Union—could just as easily be called The South’s Demands to Mistreat Black People. South Carolina, according to its declaration, felt wronged because of “an increasing hostility on the part of non-slaveholding states to the institution of slavery,” and, ironically, complained that the federal government had “denounced as sinful the institution of slavery.” Mississippi’s main reason for leaving the Union is unmistakably framed and repeated early and often in its causes document: “Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery—the greatest material interest in the world.” The Mississippi document goes on to condemn the notion of “negro equality, socially and politically,” and finds fault with Mississippi residents being denied “the right of property in slaves.” Georgia listed its grievances “with reference to the subject of African slavery,” and insisted on its right to hold slaves. The single specific injury mentioned in Virginia’s actual Secession Ordinance is “the oppression of the Southern slaveholding states.” And, finally, lest there be any doubt exactly whyblack Americans might legitimately find the symbols of the Confederacy unsettling, here are the words of the Confederacy’s Vice President, Alexander Stephens, on the subject of slavery and race: “Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition.”

I have heard from several of my local friends that people—like myself—who are critical of Confederate symbols need “to read the real history.” I have. I’ve cited it above in black and white from the actual Confederate documents. Virginia Tech historian and Civil War authority James “Bud” Robertson taught his students that “slavery was unquestionably the primary cause of the war.” I’ve read how Confederate flags waived in the galleries after the Virginia legislature passed its racist, embarrassing and unconstitutional Massive Resistance scheme. When George Wallace proclaimed “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever,” he invoked Jefferson Davis, the “Cradle of the Confederacy” and the “great Anglo-Saxon Southland.” It seems pretty apparent how Governor Wallace interpreted the Rebel past. There’s only one “real” history. No group or person has somehow perverted, hijacked or misstated what Confederate emblems represent. From the creation of the Confederacy straight through until today, from Alexander Stephens to Harry Byrd to George Wallace to David Duke, these symbols have always been imbued with the conviction of black inferiority.

Moreover, I’ve never gotten more than mumbles and abstractions when I’ve asked apologists precisely what history I’m overlooking. While the South had other differences with the Union, slavery was at the core of the Civil War, and the South wanted to maintain the subjugation of blacks. It’s a basic narrative if you choose to examine it with an open mind. There’s some focus on economics and much carping about deviation from earlier, underlying Constitutional compacts, but these “states’ rights” assertions by the South are mostly used as predicates to justify and maintain slavery and demand the return of Southerners’ “property” when slaves are discovered in the North. Put differently, the Civil War was about finances and states’ rights in the sense that the departing nation insisted it be allowed to hold and recapture slaves to support its economy. Again, a section from Mississippi’s causes declaration vividly illustrates precisely what economic concerns and what states’ rights were on the South’s agenda: “[Slave] labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization.”

Additionally, in the context of the Confederacy, I’m weary of the argument that we shouldn’t remove certain intrusive Civil War symbols because “everybody’s too sensitive and/or everybody is offended by something.” Black men and women have a bona fide, objective, fact-based, historically grounded reason to find Confederate glorification offensive, and almost all of them do in fact take offense.  Me, I’d for sure take issue with the symbols of a nation that believed “slavery subordination to the superior race” was my “natural and normal condition.” African Americans’ distaste for Confederate symbols can hardly be described as an overreaction, contrived or in any way hypersensitive.

The courtroom should be a place every litigant and spectator finds fair and utterly neutral. In my estimation, the portrait of a uniformed Confederate general—and a slave owner himself—does not comport with that essential standard. By way of example, I’ll ask my fellow white Patrick Countians how they’d respond to this scenario: Imagine walking into a courtroom, your liberty at stake, and you discover a black judge, a black bailiff, a black commonwealth’s attorney, a black clerk and a black defense lawyer. You are the only white person there. You peer at the wall, and you see a picture of Malcom X—a Nation of Islam member who preached black superiority and demeaned the white race. What assumptions would you make about that courtroom, the judicial system and the black judge who allowed that portrait to remain on the wall? Would you feel certain that you’d receive fair, unbiased treatment with Malcolm X celebrated and honored in the place where your rights are being adjudicated? I would not, and that’s why General Stuart’s portrait has been removed. Given how fierce and divisive the debate over the Confederate flag has become, it should be obvious that symbols convey powerful meanings to many reasonable people, and we do not need this complication in a courtroom.

This decision, however, does not address another controversial aspect of our courthouse’s history and one of the town’s longstanding practices. For years, various groups have asked permission to appear in the court square, outside, and celebrate certain Confederate events, most notably General Stuart’s birthday. Several years ago, I told the organizers that they could continue to bring and display any of the various Confederate flags, but they were not to fly them on the courthouse pole or leave them behind, nor were they allowed to leave behind any wreaths, objects or decorations containing Confederate themes. This rule was in place well before the horrible church shootings in Charleston, South Carolina, and has nothing whatsoever to do with that awful, heartbreaking event. Needless to say, this restriction was not well received by some members of our community, given that “we’ve always done it that way before.” Notwithstanding how it had always been done before, there are only two flags that should ever be atop what is effectively this county’s flagpole—the American flag and our state flag.

As an aside, it is important to note that both Curtis Spence and Chris Washburn, the main organizers of these events, have always been polite, professional and very courteous—the hue and cry and unhappiness about the ban on flag flying came from other members of our community and never from the organizers. As a further aside, both these men, in my dealings with them, have proven to be solid citizens and completely free of any racial biases or hostilities; their sincere and heartfelt belief is that a Confederate flag is not a racial negative and should not be seen as a racial negative. In this county, a number of other residents—including a few close friends—share that same opinion. I very much disagree with them for the reasons I’ve painstakingly detailed earlier. Their pure hearts and decent intentions can’t trump the Confederacy’s widespread, systemic mistreatment of blacks that is bound up in the flag. This flag was birthed in a nation that insisted it had the right to buy and sell black men and women as if they were doodads and chattel, and earnest, well-meant talk of valor, fate and a Lost Cause will never scrub away those hideous origins.

Despite my disdain for all versions of the Confederacy’s flag, despite the patently offensive character of the these flags, and despite my belief that no one will take us seriously if we continue to insist these emblems represent who we are in 2015, this particular courthouse space—the courtyard—is still the functional equivalent of the town square, a marketplace for speech, ideas and discourse. While we as a legal system and a commonwealth cannot and should not sponsor or endorse what private individuals wish to say, we should also zealously defend their Constitutional right to speak and present their positions. A public space, outside the courtroom, on a weekend or when court is not in session, is a far different creature than the formal place of business for the judiciary. We have had protesters and preachers and charities and politicians, and, yes, people dressed as Confederate soldiers waving a Civil War battle flag all utilize this area—they will all be allowed to return, with the understanding that we as a court system support only their right to speak, not their causes, beliefs, ideologies or missions. While this decision will be thoroughly objectionable to the anti-flag segment of our county, I would suggest to citizens who find any display or perspective troubling that they civilly and constructively stage their own events to present their viewpoints. Minds change and opinions are shaped through education, empathy and compelling argument, not by a court suppressing someone’s right to speech in the most public of forums.

Of course, I realize that my decisions and the actual rulings herein—the permanent removal of the Stuart portrait from the courthouse, the prohibition against running any iteration of a Confederate flag up the courthouse pole, the ban on Confederate articles and memorials after a group has left the square, and the continued opening of the outdoor public square to all comers including those who want to feature General Beauregard’s battle flag—will satisfy virtually no one but will tick off all grades of people.

Finally, I think it’s important to mention my Southern roots and my pride in this region. I’m proud to live in Patrick County, proud to live in the South. I celebrate William Faulkner, Larry Brown and Eudora Welty. I listen to The Allman Brothers and miss B.B. King. I made it a point to meet Dale Earnhardt and get his autograph, I grew up next door to Leonard Wood, and my mother was a Young from Ararat—raised dirt-poor a stone’s throw away from Jeb’s birthplace—who became a magnificent teacher. I caught my first fish in Kibler Valley almost fifty years ago. I’ve had the pleasure of crossing paths with Jerry Baliles, Turner Foddrell, Sammy Shelor, John D. Hooker, Ann Belcher and Annie Hylton, Rev. R. J. Mann, Buddy Dollarhite and John Grisham. I’ve witnessed bake sales and fundraisers and pinto-bean suppers bring in five-figure help for Patrick County friends who happened to catch a bad break. My dad and uncle told me stories about leaving these mountains and volunteering to serve in World War II. That’s the South I want to showcase. I’m proud of our music, our food, our literature, our accomplishments in every possible field, our manners and traditions, our sense of connection with our neighbors, our quiet sacrifices, our grit and courage throughout generations, our savvy and intelligence, and the rhythms, feel and strength of this slice of the world. That’s my Southern heritage, and it’s far, far distant from the battlefields of the 1860s.

Doris Henderson Causey named in the ‘Leaders in the Law’ for Class of 2015

August 2015

Virginia Lawyers Media, the publisher of Virginia Lawyers Weekly, has announced the 2015 Class of “Leaders in the Law.”

Now in its 10th year, this awards program recognizes the lawyers across the commonwealth who are setting the standard for other lawyers in Virginia. “Leaders” are recognized for changing the law, serving the community, changing practice, or improving Virginia’s justice system, among other accomplishments.

The ODBA is proud to announce that ODBA Executive Committee member Doris Henderson Causey, Managing Attorney of Central Virginia Legal Aid, is in the Class of 2015.  Doris is a graduate of Thurgood Marshall School of Law and has been an Executive Committee Member of the ODBA for more than two terms.  She has served as the ODBA Secretary and has been on several ODBA committees.  Additionally, Doris recently announced her candidacy for the next President-Elect of the Virginia State Bar.

Doris joins other current ODBA Executive Committee Members of previous classes of “Leaders in the Law” to include ODBA President Helivi L. Holland, ODBA Immediate Past President Vinceretta T. Chiles, Past President Beverly Burton, and Executive Committee Member Roscoe Roberts, in addition to other ODBA members that have been recognized.

Congratulations to Doris Henderson Causey.

ODBA Receives LexisNexis Award from VBA

July 25, 2015

The ODBA graciously and proudly accepted the Virginia Bar Association (VBA) LexisNexis Award at the VBA's Summer Conference on July 25, 2015, at the Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, VA.  This award was presented by VBA President Henry "Pete" Johnson III to ODBA President Helivi L. Holland.

The award was given to the ODBA "on the occasion of their 75th anniversary and in recognition of the ODBA's unwavering pursuit of justice through the rule of law."

Present for this auspicious occasion were some of ODBA newest  members, VBA President Henry "Pete" Johnson, III, VBA President-Elect James Patrick Guy, II and Virginia State Bar President Ed Weiner.

Expressions of gratitude were given to the members of the VBA with special recognition to VBA Executive Director Yvonne McGhee.

 VBA gives ODBA its LexisNexis Award

June 2015

This annual honor, formerly called Michie Honorees, has been presented during the Saturday reception of the VBA Summer Meeting since 1982. The award is given for extraordinary leadership and dedication to the legal profession and public service. This year's honoree is the Old Dominion Bar Association, in honor of the group's 75th anniversary. The ODBA, according to its website, developed out of a need to confront a policy that offended personal and professional duty and  from the need for African-American lawyers to associate for personal and professional growth. The VBA recognition will be bestowed Saturday, July 25, between 6:30-7:30 p.m. at a reception sponsored by LexisNexis.

Previous honorees include George K. Martin (2014), the Honorable William C. Mims (2010), Gov. Timothy Kaine (2006), Judge Robert Merhige (2001), Dean Emerson G. Spies (1985) and Justice and Mrs. Lewis F. Powell Jr. (1982).

75th Anniversary Judicial Luncheon Processional

June 2015

To see practically every one of the ODBA Judicial Members proceed into the luncheon in their robes was a tremendous site.

Special appreciation is expressed to The Hon. Marilynn Goss for coordinating the luncheon and The Hon. Angela Roberts for serving as the keynote speaker.

If you missed the opportunity to be there or if you were there and just want to see the processional just one more time, click below:

75th Anniversary Photos

View photos of the conference, luncheon, and gala below:


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Bruce Robinson, Esq,. Reappointed as ODBA Representative of VLAS Board

March 21, 2015

On March 21, 2015, the ODBA Executive Board voted unanimously to have Bruce Robinson, Esq. reappointed as the ODBA Representative Board Member of the Board of the Virginia Legal Aid Society (VLAS), Lynchburg, VA. Attorney Robinson’s current term expires on June 30, 2015. VLAS, Virginia's largest society, spanning from Henry County to Suffolk was primarily the creation of the ODBA some 40 years ago by the likes of ODBA past and current members James Ghee, Johnny Morrison, Butch Williams, etc. Under the bylaw, local bar associations from the service area and the ODBA appoint the attorney board members. Non-attorney board members are appointed from community based organizations. Terms are for 2 years. VLAS’s Executive Director, David Neumeyer, was elated to hear of the reappointment.

The ODBA thanks Attorney Robinson for his 25+ years of exceptional service.

Regent University BLSA Black History Banquet Honors Two Judicial Members and ODBA

February 20, 2015

ODBA was surprised to receive a gold sponsorship certificate at BLSA’s Making Black History Banquet on February 20, 2015, at Regent University School of Law. Several members, including Clarence Brooks, Darius Davenport, W. T. Mason, Judge Raymond Jackson, W. Marcus Scriven, Judge Alfred Bates, and others with dual membership in the Southampton Roads Bar Association, were present filling three tables. Angelina Moyo, Vice Chair of the Chapter, gave thanks for all of the assistance ODBA has given to the BLSA Chapter this year and the student/attorney/judge contacts that ODBA has facilitated.

Judicial members and alumnae of the law school, Teresa Hammons and Tanya Bullock, were recognized along with the first black graduate of the law school, Dr. Joyce Marie Plummer. ODBA congratulates our Judicial Members Hammons and Bullock for their many accomplishments.

ODBA Attends the Virginia State Bar, Young Lawyer’s Conference Annual Bench Bar Dinner

January 24, 2015 

Every year the Young Lawyer's Conference (YLC) hosts a dinner to honor newly elevated women and minority judges from across the Commonwealth. There is a pre-dinner cocktail reception giving members a chance to interact with judges and other notables in a casual, relaxed atmosphere.

On January 24, 2015, the Old Dominion Bar Association was in full attendance with almost 2 tables at the sold out dinner, which was held at the University of Richmond's Jepson Alumni Center in Richmond.
The honorees included 18 newly appointed and elevated judges from across the Commonwealth. Four of the honorees were current/former members of the ODBA to include, Judges Bryant Sugg, Joi Jeter Taylor, Onzlee Ware and Roderick Young. The keynote speaker, Judge Marla G. Decker of the Court of Appeals of Virginia, spoke about her professional development and her career path to include her job as Virginia's Secretary of Public Safety, Deputy Attorney General for the Public Safety and Enforcement Division of the Office of the Attorney General.

The ODBA congratulates all of the honorees.

ODBA attends the Mid-Atlantic Black Law Students Association (MABLSA) Conference

February 6, 2015

MABLSA hosted its 47th Annual Convention in Tysons Corner, VA from February 4-8, 2015. Students from across the region gathered together. The theme of the Conference was United for Achievement and Progression

The Old Dominion Bar Association was honored to be a part of MABLSA’s conference and had a chance to interact with MABLSA members on February 6.  ODBA members attended a special luncheon where our future leaders of America were able to ask any questions about the law, employment, life after law school, and other questions to ODBA members.  MABLSA members were pleasantly surprised when the Honorable Judge Rossie David Alston, Jr. appeared at the luncheon. The intrigued students took full advantage of his presence by asking numerous questions as he provided valuable information to help them move to the next stage with their education, career path, and life in general.

The MABLSA Regional Convention provides a wonderful opportunity for their members to connect with other scholars from across the region, perform pro-bono community service, participate in advocacy competitions, and engage in workshops related to professionalism.  

The ODBA was honored to participate in this and looks forward to being more involved with MABLSA.  Many thanks are extended to our President-Elect, Jane Reynolds, who coordinated ODBA's participation, and our Executive Committee members and members who attended. 

President-Elect Jane Reynolds appointed to PWC Office of Elections

February 2, 2015

The Circuit Court of Prince William County appointed Jane Reynolds to serve as a member of the PWC Electoral Board effective March 1, 2015, with a term to expire on February 28, 2018. Ms. Reynolds was sworn in by the Clerk of the Court on February 2, 2015, at the PWC Office of Elections.

ODBA Mid-Winter Meeting and Conference 

January 31, 2015

Record numbers attended the Mid-Winter Meeting at Norfolk State University.  In all, 131 registered to attend some parts of the conference.  Praises are still being sent around the Commonwealth about the excellent presenters, the smart and gracious students, and the delicious foods.

Highlights included the law school students and undergraduate students meeting with the law school admissions representatives from College of William and Mary, University of Richmond, and Regent Law Schools, and representatives of the Virginia  Board of Bar Examiners; Ben Crump’s insightful and inspiring speech; attendance by our state and federal legislators; and the extraordinary number of sponsors of our students from the members of the bar and the judiciary.  Additionally, the hospitality bestowed upon ODBA from Norfolk State University (NSU) was more than exceptional.  President of NSU, Eddie Moore, provided greetings and showcased the NSU campus to everyone in attendance.  He expressed the pride of NSU being selected to host such a wonderful event.

Gratitude is expressed to all that attended, sponsored and/or worked in any way to make this Mid-Winter a huge success.


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Investiture of ODBA Member Roderick C. Young, United States Magistrate Judge

October 28, 2014

ODBA is pleased and proud to announce that the investiture ceremony for Roderick C. Young as U. S. Magistrate Judge for the Richmond Division of the Eastern District of Virginia will take place on January 16, 2015 at 3:00 pm at the Federal Court House in Richmond.  United States Magistrate Judge Roderick C. Young received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from George Mason University and his Juris Doctor degree from the West Virginia University College of Law.

He worked as an Assistant Public Defender in Portsmouth, Virginia and as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Richmond, Virginia. He also worked as a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia in that office’s Narcotics and Organized Crime Unit. From 2002 until October 2014, Judge Young worked as an Assistant United States Attorney in Richmond, Virginia. During that time, he prosecuted a number of cases involving international narcotics organizations, racketeering crime, bank robbery, white collar crime, and other violations of federal law. From February 2012 until October 2014, Judge Young served as the Deputy Criminal Supervisor in the Richmond United States Attorney’s Office. He was sworn in as a United States Magistrate on October 28, 2014.

Please attend the ceremony.  President of the ODBA will give words and a special gift to our ODBA member, Judge Young.

Four Virginia judges/ODBA members elected to CLEO Hall of Fame

November 12, 2014

For more than 45 years, the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) has worked to make the law a more diverse profession by expanding opportunities for underrepresented persons to pursue a legal career.

Some of those CLEO alumni have made it to the highest levels of the profession, and on Nov. 12, CLEO honored a number of them for their contributions to their communities and the profession.

Seven members of the judiciary from the Mid-Atlantic region were be honored as the inaugural class of the “Judges of CLEO” Hall of Fame.

PICTURED (L-R) Hon. Gerald Bruce Lee, Alexandria U.S. District Court; Hon. Eileen A. Olds, Chesapeake Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court; Hon. Raymond A. Jackson, Norfolk U.S. District Court
Washington undefined (Not pictured – Virginia Supreme Court Justice Cleo E. Powell )

The members of the 2014 “Judges of CLEO” Hall of Fame class are:
  • U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson, Norfolk
  • U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee, Alexandria
  • U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenia Seoane Lopez, Washington, DC
  • Juvenile & Domestic Relations Judge Eileen A. Olds, Chesapeake
  • Virginia Supreme Court Justice Cleo E. Powell, Richmond
  • U.S. District Judge Richard Roberts, Washington, DC
  • U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton, Washington, DC
Six of the seven are CLEO alumni; Lee was inducted as an honorary CLEO alumnus.
Since CLEO’s inception in 1968, more than 10,000 students have participated in its pre-law and law school academic support programs, successfully matriculated through law school, passed the bar exam and joined the legal profession. The influence of CLEO alumni in the legal profession is an indication of the important role CLEO has played in helping to provide a voice to underrepresented groups.

Article By: Deborah Elkins November 19, 2014 

Grey to Receive ABA Spirit of Excellence Award

The American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession will honor former ABA President Robert J. Grey, Jr. on February 7, 2015 at the ABA’s Midyear Meeting in Houston, Texas. This award recognizes lawyers who work to promote a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession. A partner in Hunton & Williams, Grey earned his law degree from Washington & Lee University in 1976. Read full story here.

ODBA Ranks Judicial Candidates for the VA Supreme Court and Virginia Court of Appeals

October 21, 2014

The Judicial Selection Committee of Old Dominion Bar Association (ODBA) interviewed and rated candidates for vacancies on the Virginia Supreme Court and the Virginia Court of Appeals on October 21, 2014. ODBA rated the candidates are as follows:

W. Coleman Allen, Jr. Qualified
Hon. Rossie D. Alston Highly Qualified and Recommended
Hon. Randolph A. Beales Highly Qualified
L. Steven Emmert, Esq. Highly Qualified
Hon. Mary Jane Hall Qualified
Hon. D. Arthur Kelsey Highly Qualified and Recommended
Christy McCormick Qualified
Hon. Stephen R. McCullough Highly Qualified

Hon. Chadwick S. Dotson Qualified
Jason Eige, Esq. Qualified
L. Steven Emmert, Esq. Highly Qualified
Richard E. Gardiner Highly Qualified
Hon. Mary Jane Hall Highly Qualified
Hon. Gary A. Hicks Highly Qualified and Recommended
Hon. Christopher W. Hutton Highly Qualified
Hon. Colleen Killilea Qualified
Maureen Madsen, Esq. Qualified
Christy McCormick Qualified
Hon. Stacey Moreau: Qualified
Patricia P. Nagel, Esq. Highly Qualified and Recommended
Hon. Lorraine Norlund Qualified
Hon. Mary Grace O’Brien Highly Qualified
Wesley G. Russell, Esq. Qualified
Elwood Sanders, Esq. Qualified
Hon. Josiah T. Showalter Highly Qualified
Hon. Robert J. Smith Highly Qualified
Virginia Theisen, Esq. Qualified
Note: Some names appear on both lists because they requested to be rated for a seat on both the Virginia Supreme Court and the Virginia Court of Appeals. One candidate, Tom Aldous, did not request to be interviewed by ODBA.

Roscoe Roberts, ODBA Member, to Serve as Legal Counsel for University of Virginia

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has appointed Roscoe C. Roberts, an experienced attorney with years of service in the public sector – including higher education – as general counsel to the University of Virginia.

Roberts, who has served as legal counsel for Virginia State University since 2003, will join UVA in October.

A 1978 graduate of the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William & Mary, Roberts began his career that year with the Petersburg Legal Aid Society. He served as counsel in civil matters in the cities of Petersburg, Colonial Heights, Hopewell and the counties of Prince George, Dinwiddie, Surry and Charles City.

In 1981, Roberts was named assistant attorney general for the commonwealth. His duties included prosecution of consumer fraud cases, representation in direct appeals of criminal cases, drafting legislation and redistricting of House and Senate districts of the General Assembly. He also has served as legal counsel to various Virginia institutions of higher education, including James Madison University, Christopher Newport University, George Mason University and Virginia State.

As an assistant attorney general in 1997, Roberts worked in the Health Services Section of the Office of the Attorney General. There he served as legal counsel to the State Health Commissioner, the Virginia Department of Health and Virginia’s health regulatory boards in the Department of Health Professions, and the Virginia Tobacco Settlement Foundation. Roberts was promoted to senior assistant attorney general in 2003.

The ODBA is abundantly proud of this historic appointment of our executive committee member, Roscoe Roberts.

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