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The Virginia Bar Association is devoted to improving Virginia law. This benefits the public and strengthens the administration of justice. We actively propose legislation, inform lawmakers and appear at hearings in the Virginia General Assembly to support recommended changes.

Legislative Initiatives

The VBA Legislative Agenda each year bubbles up through the membership. VBA sections and committees discuss proposals they receive and may recommend that the VBA Board of Governors include certain suggestions to improve the law in the organization's agenda.

The Board of Governors heard recommendations Sept. 25 during VBA Legislative Day in Richmond. It also received suggestions from the Boyd-Graves Conference and the Virginia Family Law Coalition. These groups are affiliated with the VBA.

A preliminary look at the VBA 2016 Legislative Agenda appears in the winter VBA Journal.

Follow the progress of these bills with updates Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays during the assembly session.

Important dates:

  • Nov. 16, 2015 -- pre-filing of bills began
  • Jan. 13, 2016 -- lawmakers convene for the 2016 General Assembly session
  • Jan. 22, 2016 -- all bills to be considered this session must be filed by 3 p.m.
  • Feb. 17, 2016 -- each house may consider only legislation and amendments of the other house
  • March 12, 2016 -- adjournment
  • April 20, 2016 -- reconvened session opens

During the regular session, bill progress will be updated on this website each Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. For up-to-date information on bill status, or information on bills dating back to 1994, visit the Virginia Legislative Information System

A history of bill advancement

The 2015 VBA legislative agenda featured 13 proposals meant to improve the law and protect the public. Four proposals came fom the VBA's Business Law Section and two each from the Wills, Trusts & Estates Section and the Boyd-Graves Conference. Other proposals involve the association's Real Estate and the Construction and Public Contracts sections, and the Virginia Family Law Coalition and the Commission on the Needs of Children. The session ran from Jan. 14-Feb. 28, with crossover occurring Feb. 11. Lawmakers reconvened April 15 to take up bill amendments or vetoes by the governor.

Full Judicial Funding

In 2010, Virginia imposed a freeze on the automatic replacement of judges who leave the bench.The VBA has been a vocal proponent for the funding and filling of all judicial vacancies in Virginia. A full judiciary is important to the economy and to citizens’ access to justice. An independent study of caseloads found a shortage of judges in all three levels of courts. Learn more.

Section-Specific Legislative Reports

As a benefit, members of VBA sections receive summaries of bills prepared for consideration by the Virginia General Assembly. The summaries are specific to the practice areas of each section. They can be helpful in flagging legislative actions of importance to member lawyers and their clients. Join a section.

Affiliated Groups

VBA Commission on Needs of Children

This interdisciplinary group focuses on policies and legislation to improve the lives of Virginia children. A current initiative, the website seeks to help non-educators advocate for clients with special education needs.

Virginia Family Law Coalition

These practitioners work to influence family law legislation in Virginia.

Boyd-Graves Conference

The Boyd-Graves Conference seeks to improve civil justice in Virginia through law reform.

Uniform Law Commission

Virginians serving on the Uniform Law Commission occasionally request VBA lobbying assistance for legislative proposals.

Non-Legislative Advocacy

Capital Defense Workshop

For more than 20 years, the VBA Criminal Law Section has organized this fall conference. Attendance at the entire workshop satisfies statutory requirements of attorneys who represent people charged with capital murder or sentenced to death. Watch the event webpage for details about the 2015 workshop, Nov. 19 and 20 in Richmond.


Since 1985, the VBA has organized first-of-the-season debates featuring candidates for statewide office. The debates, spotlighting primarily the races for governor and U.S. Senate, generally occur at the VBA Summer Meeting in the Allegheny Mountains. They are open to the public and news media at no charge.

Judicial Screenings

Three committees of VBA members review submissions of judicial hopefuls and recommend qualified candidates for federal and appellate judgeships.

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