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Interviews set for Court of Appeals candidates

The Virginia State Bar is gearing up to evaluate candidates for the expected vacancy on the Court of Appeals of Virginia created by the retirement of Judge James Haley Jr.

Haley announced last month he will retire March 1, a few months ahead of his 70th birthday. The timing of the retirement allows the General Assembly to elect his successor on the appeals court. Chairmen of the Assembly’s courts committees have requested recommendations from the VSB and statewide bar groups.

A Feb. 1 deadline has been set for those interested in applying for the vacancy.  Candidates are asked to fill out the VSB’s judicial questionnaire and submit it, along with a résumé and a brief writing sample, to Asha Holloman at the VSB, Holloman@vsb.org, (804) 775-0551, by the end of business Feb. 1. The VSB questionnaire is available at http://www.vsb.org/docs/VSB_JNC_Questionnaire_010412.doc.

The submissions should be sent by email, with the original of the completed questionnaire also sent by regular mail. The address is 707 E. Main Street, Suite 1500, Richmond VA 23219.

VSB executive director Karen Gould said the VSB’s judicial nominating committee will sit down with with prospective judges on Thurs., Feb. 16. The determinations of the VSB’s judicial nominating process will be submitted to members of the Assembly’s courts committees, who will schedule their own interviews with candidates.

The VSB’s judicial nomination committee is made up of 13 active lawyers who investigate and conduct personal interviews of judgeship candidates. Approval by a simple majority of the panel earns a candidate a designation of “Qualified.” A second majority vote is taken to determine if any of the candidates are deemed “Highly Qualified.”

The VSB’s executive committee then can modify the designations before sending them on to the Assembly’s courts committees.

Other bar groups that participate in the vetting process are listed, with details of their procedures, at http://www.vsb.org/docs/VSB_JNC_bar-contacts_010212.pdf. The Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys and the Virginia Association of Trial Lawyers both report they have set a Feb. 1 deadline for submissions by candidates.

Candidates also must fill out questionnaires for the General Assembly. The contact is Mary Kate Felch at Legislative Services, mfelch@dls.virginia.gov.

By Peter Vieth

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