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Bar groups prepare to evaluate judge candidates

Virginia bar groups have announced their procedures for vetting candidates for the federal district judgeship to be vacated by the decision by Judge James Spencer to take senior status.

Spencer has announced he will become a senior judge on March 25 next year.

Besides the Virginia State Bar, as many as eight lawyers’ associations may make recommendations to Virginia’s two U.S. senators who could influence the selection made by President Obama.

The VSB’s Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee is taking applications through June 7 and will conduct interviews of candidates on July 8. The VSB asks candidates to submit a résumé, a brief writing sample and responses to a questionnaire available on the VSB website.

The Virginia Bar Association, the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association and the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys also are asking for résumés or CVs, the VSB questionnaires and writing samples. Those groups do not conduct interviews of candidates.

The materials should be sent by email by June 7 to VBA executive director Yvonne McGhee at [email protected], to VTLA executive director Jack Harris at [email protected] and to VADA executive director Jill Wells Nunnally at [email protected].

Five other groups will receive application materials and conduct interviews of the candidates. These groups are:

  • The Old Dominion Bar Association
  • The Virginia Women Attorneys Association
  • The Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Virginia
  • The Northern Virginia Black Attorneys Association
  • The Hispanic Bar Association of Virginia

Most, if not all, of the specialty bars will conduct interviews on July 8 in conjunction with the VSB interviews in Richmond.

The VWAA has its own judicial questionnaire at its website,

The ODBA asks that the same materials sent to the VSB be emailed to ODBA vice-president Beverly A. Burton at [email protected].

The HBA asks that the same materials sent to the VSB be sent to:

Manuel E. Leiva
The Leiva Law Firm PLC
10555 Main Street
Suite 600
Fairfax, VA 22030

[email protected]

The APABA-VA asks that the same materials sent to the VSB be sent to:

Richard D. Holzheimer, Jr.
Cochran & Owen, LLC
8000 Towers Crescent Drive
Suite 160
Vienna, VA 22182

[email protected]

-Peter Vieth

UPDATE: This post was updated on May 23 to add contact information for the HBA. It was updated again on June 1 to add the information from APABA-VA.

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