The Virginia Bar Association (VBA) is a voluntary, statewide professional organization of more than 5,500 lawyer and judicial members. Founded in July 1888, when more than 100 attorneys met in Virginia Beach to create the organization, its goals remain the same today as they were at that time: "improving the law and the administration of justice and upholding the standard of honor and integrity in the legal profession."
Our Mission: The Virginia Bar Association is the independent voice of the Virginia lawyer, advancing the highest ideals of the profession through advocacy and volunteer service.
The Virginia Bar Association invites voluntary membership from all lawyers licensed in Virginia by the Virginia State Bar, which is the state regulatory agency. Lawyers in good standing of the Bar in another state or the District of Columbia are eligible for membership. Law students also may join the VBA.
The VBA encourages its members to be active in its various sections and committees. There are 19 substantive law sections that members may join. These sections keep members professionally current in areas of concentration through continuing legal education programs, legislative activities and collegial forums. All VBA members are members of the VBA Law Practice Management Division. The VBA also has a number of committees whose activities cover a wide range of public service and law reform projects, as well as a nationally recognized Young Lawyers Division with some 40 committees and programs of its own.
The Virginia Bar Association holds two meetings each year for the total membership. The annual winter meeting is held in Williamsburg in January and the summer meeting in July is held in the Allegheny Mountains. The VBA held its first-ever summer meeting at the Old White, now The Greenbrier, in 1889.
In 1985 the VBA began a tradition of sponsoring debates between the Virginia gubernatorial candidates during its summer meetings. (Perhaps ironically, every Virginia gubernatorial candidates' debate hosted by the VBA has taken place in West Virginia because of the meeting rotation schedule.) In 1994 the VBA hosted its first debate for U.S. Senate hopefuls, in the now-legendary four-way race among retired Marine Colonel Oliver L. North, former Attorney General J. Marshall Coleman, U.S. Senator Charles S. Robb and former Governor L. Douglas Wilder. That newer tradition was continued in the 1996, 2000, 2006, 2008 and 2012 Senate contests.