About the Prince William County Bar Association
The Prince William County Bar Association, Inc. (PWCBA) is a voluntary, professional, non-profit, organization that provides services and benefits to its members and to the local community. It was established on July 25, 1941, by the seven attorneys that comprised the total of this area's legal community at that time. Though the membership has grown to include just over 500 attorneys and members of the judiciary, the mission of the organization remains the same: to maintain the honor and dignity of the practice of law, promote the administration of justice, encourage the professionalism and collegiality of its members, and contribute to the quality of life in the community.
The PWCBA accomplishes its objectives through a variety of means:
ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE: The PWCBA interacts with the local judiciary in a myriad of ways, including: bench & board meetings to discuss ideas for promoting the administration of justice in the courts; casual breakfast meetings between the bench and the bar to facilitate open communications; involvement in the judicial screening process when an opening is anticipated on the bench; annual judicial evaluations; and sponsorship of investitures, retirement celebrations and the commissioning of judicial portraits. The PWCBA, with the assistance of the courts, is also committed to meeting the growing need for low cost or pro bono legal services to the community. The PWCBA operates a Lawyer Referral Service and a Modest Means Panel to facilitate public access to an attorney and the PWCBA supports a variety of pro bono initiatives.
EDUCATION: The PWCBA is a Virginia State Bar, (VSB), accredited sponsor of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminars. As an accredited sponsor, the Bar offers numerous CLE courses annually to enable members to fulfill their mandatory continuing legal education requirements, as set forth by the VSB. The PWCBA also sponsors a variety of educational programs during monthly membership meetings on topics related to local court procedures, new legislation, legal services, and other issues related to the practice of law.
LIAISON: Developing and maintaining good working relationships with area legislators is accomplished through sponsorship of Candidates Forums, the annual Legislators' luncheon, and routine and constructive contact with members of the Virginia General Assembly on matters of importance to the Bar Association. The PWCBA also strives to maintain close working relationships with local, state and national bar associations. The PWCBA works closely with the Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax Bar Associations to co-sponsor projects and events of interest to the combined membership; with the Virginia State Bar, through active participation in the Conference of Local Bar Associations and Young Lawyer’s Conference activities; and with the American Bar Association though the National Association of Bar Executives. PWCBA members routinely serve the VSB in state leadership roles.
FELLOWSHIP: The annual Bench/Bar Dinner Dance is the PWCBA’s largest social event. At the Dinner Dance, members enjoy an evening with their colleagues and members of the judiciary in a purely social setting. At this event, individual members are recognized for their outstanding achievements in the area of professionalism, pro bono legal service, for their work as trial attorneys or guardians ad litem, and for their roles in leadership capacities within the Bar.
The Bar celebrated its 75th Anniversary with great fanfare at the April 2016 Dinner Dance. The evening included historical presentations, a commemorative program featuring interviews of its most senior members and a presentation of Virginia General Assembly House Resolution 64, commending the Bar for 75 years of “service to the legal community and the people of Prince William County.” President Jeani Wiethop invited every past president in attendance to join her in accepting the award.
Other social events planned throughout the year include receptions, baseball outings, and happy hours.
PUBLIC RELATIONS: The Bar Association routinely supports programs in the schools, reaches out to Senior citizens, and provides support for programs to benefit local at-risk youth. Each year, through the Beat the Odds® program, the PWCBA awards scholarships and educational grants to youth who have been involved in the juvenile justice system, and despite the odds against them, have achieved academic and social progress. In addition, the PWCBA produces a number of law-related public education brochures which are distributed throughout the courts
YOUNG LAWYERS GROUP: The Young Lawyers Group is one of the newest standing committees within the Prince William County Bar Association. Appealing to the “young and the young at heart” the group is focused on pursuing networking and mentoring opportunities, community service and use of technology. To that end, they have sponsored numerous happy hours both for the members of the PWC Bar and in conjunction with other local bar associations. They have taken on chairmanship of the Membership and Mentoring Committee within the PWC Bar, which is where individual and group mentoring activities are organized. They also sponsor a monthly breakfast at SERVE, the local homeless shelter. The Young Lawyers Group provides technology tips in the Bar’s monthly newsletter, and encourages the Bar to integrate the latest technology in all we do.
LAWYER DISCIPLINE: All members of the PWCBA are required to be members in good standing of the Virginia State Bar. The Virginia State Bar is the governing agency that regulates lawyers by testing, licensing, and enforcing continuing education requirements. The VSB is also responsible for the discipline of lawyers licensed by the state. To contact the Virginia State Bar, Office of Bar Council, go to their web site at http://www.vsb.org/site/regulation/inquiry/.
The Virginia State Bar has also established a Client’s Protection Fund to reimburse persons who suffer a financial loss because of dishonest conduct by a Virginia lawyer. Awards from the Fund are discretionary and are not a matter of right.