The leadership of the West Virginia State Bar has been deeply troubled by the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. The unrest we are witnessing stems from a desperate yearning for equal justice among all people in this Nation, whose heritage is rooted in protest against injustice.
Now is an important time to remind ourselves of the responsibilities we have in the legal profession to promote and uphold access to justice for all citizens. As attorneys, there is no need to wonder what we can do to help advance these objectives, instead we should reflect on the things we must do, as sworn in the oath we have taken to protect the Constitution, and as required by the Rules that govern our conduct. The Preamble to the West Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct can guide us, as attorneys, towards the principles of justice we are sworn to protect:
“As a public citizen, a lawyer should seek improvement of the law, access to the legal system, [and] the administration of justice[.]
“A lawyer should be mindful of deficiencies in the administration of justice and of the fact that the poor, and sometimes persons who are not poor, cannot afford adequate legal assistance. Therefore, all lawyers should devote professional time and resources and use civic influence to ensure equal access to our system of justice for all those who because of economic or social barriers cannot afford or secure adequate legal counsel.
“While it is a lawyer’s duty, when necessary, to challenge the rectitude of official action, it is also a lawyer’s duty to uphold legal process.
These are not hollow recitations of ideals, but in fact pair with the Constitution to form the ethical foundation upon which our profession rests. We believe in the rule of law, fair and equal protection for all people, due process in criminal proceedings, presumption of innocence to those charged with a crime, and an assurance of a fair trial before an impartial jury. By our oaths we have sworn to protect these cornerstones of justice, and must fight to strengthen and enforce them when they are weakened or ignored.
We are obligated as attorneys to use our skill and knowledge for the protection and betterment of the public good. We encourage all members of the Bar, in whatever capacity each of us can, to help make West Virginia an example of fairness, justice, and equality under the law for its entire people.
Monica Nassif Haddad, President
Thomas E. Scarr, President-Elect
Benjamin M. Mishoe, Vice-President
ADDITIONAL REPORTING REQUIREMENT
ON SUCCESSION PLANNING FOR
FISCAL YEAR 2020-21
State Bar Administrative Rule 14 – Succession Planning – became effective on January 1, 2020. The new Rule requires all sole practitioner Bar members to designate if they have a succession plan. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rule could not be fully implemented before the 2020-21 reporting/fiscal year. When renewing your membership with the State Bar in 2020-21, you must answer the “Succession Planning” question in the compliance section of your renewal application. NOTE: Firm Administrators in firms with 5 or more members, do not have to complete the Succession Planning requirement.
The Bar anticipates that the requirements of Administrative Rule 14 will be fully implemented in the 2021-22 reporting period. Announcement(s) regarding the implementation of the requirements will be posted, during the next several months, on the Bar’s website and in the Bar Blast. Click here for Rule 14
UPDATE ON REPORTING REQUIREMENTS FOR CORPORATE ENTITIES
State Bar Administrative Rules 11 and 12 – LCs, LLCs, PLLCs and LLPs – became effective on January 1, 2020. The new Rules require certain reporting to the State Bar. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rules have not been fully implemented. Comprehensive reporting requirements and processes are being developed in collaboration with the Secretary of State’s Office.
The Bar anticipates that the requirements of Administrative Rules 11 and 12 will be implemented before the new October 30 reporting date. Announcement(s) regarding the implementation of the requirements will be posted, during the next several months, on the Bar’s website and in the Bar Blast.
WV STATE BAR OPERATIONS: The State Bar continues to operate during normal business hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Seminars and meetings continue to take place using the State Bar’s telephone conference and/or video conference capabilities. Although the State Bar continues to operate, its physical offices are closed to in-person meetings until, at least, September 1, 2020, at which time circumstances will be re-evaluated. All Bar members are strongly encouraged to use the State Bar’s telephone and video conference capabilities for meetings, depositions, hearings, seminars, etc. Arrangements should be made by contacting Kathy Henning at
The time schedule to follow on Keller issues is available on the State Bar’s website – Keller Notice . If any member has questions concerning this matter, please contact Anita Casey at The West Virginia State Bar at 304-553-7228 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Challenges should be directed to Executive Director Anita Casey and may be submitted by mail [mailing address: 2000 Deitrick Blvd, Charleston, WV 25311] or email [email@example.com].
AMENDMENTS TO STATE BAR ADMINISTRATIVE RULES 11 AND 12
Effective January 1, 2020, the Supreme Court of Appeals approved Rules for the State Bar to use in confirming a legal entity’s request for licensing through the Secretary of State’s Office. Rule 11 (Click to view Rule 11) deals with legal corporations. Rule 12 (Click to view Rule 12) deals with limited liability corporations and limited liability partnerships.
Both Rules require confirmation with the State Bar that professional liability insurance requirements have been met. Rule 11 requires notification to the Bar regarding whether insurance coverage exists for the legal entity (similar to Rule 4 for Financial Responsibility Disclosure). Rule 12 requires confirmation to the Bar of the existence of insurance coverage. The coverage amounts must comply with the statutory requirements of, at least, $1,000,000 per occurrence/ $1,000,000 in the aggregate.
The Secretary of State’s Office and the West Virginia State Bar are working together to create a “one stop shop” for the approval of new corporate entities and for the renewal of those entities authorized to transact business in West Virginia prior to November of 2020. Once the portal is completed, an entity can submit required paperwork and payments electronically. The Rules moved the Bar’s renewal dates to coincide with the Secretary of State’s Office, therefore, no renewals with the State Bar will be required until the fall of 2020.
Should you have questions about the implementation of the Rules or their requirements, please contact Anita R. Casey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2020 State Bar Membership Directory Now Available
The 2020 edition of the membership directory is now available online to members. To download a digital version or print a copy click here. To purchase a paper version click here .
Temporary Waiver of Online Continuing Legal Education Credit Limit and
Extension of CLE Reporting Period and
Bridge the Gap Completion Dates
Due to concerns associated with the COVID-19 virus, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia has granted a request from the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Commission for a temporary waiver of current CLE rules and regulations which limit the CLE credits for online and in-house credits to 12 credits. The temporary waiver is limited to the 2018-2020 reporting period. The Court has also granted a one-year extension for completion of the Bridge the Gap program for certain attorneys and an extension of the CLE reporting period to September 30, 2020. The reporting period normally would have ended on June 30, 2020.
Twenty-Seven and one-half hours of free online CLE credits are currently available to attorneys through viewing recorded videos of previous State Bar seminars. Links are provided below to view the videos and to report the credits upon completion.
Come rain, shine, or COVID-19, the CLE will be held September 10, 2020. At this time, we plan to hold the CLE in person at the beautiful Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center. However, given the ever changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and depending on the circumstances prior to the CLE, some additional protective measures may be taken, possibly including the following:
Some or all speakers may appear virtually (i.e. Skype or Zoom).
The conference may be held virtually.
All registered attendees will be notified via e-mail regarding any
changes to the program or format. If you have questions, please contact Lyne Ranson at Lyne@lyneranson.com.
Host: Kanawha County Family Law Bench Bar Committee
Location: Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center
CLE: 8.9 credits – including 1.1 credits in law office management.
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