Virginia Beach Bar looking for new executive director

  • L-R: VBBA Members Scott Lang, OCA; William "Bill" Giessuebel, VB Public Defender; Allison Kronenburg, Community Correction Pretrail Supervisor; Chief Judge Gene Woolard, Virginia Beach General District Court; and Chief Judge Tanya Bullock, Virginia Beach Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, during a recent New Supervisory and Risk Assessment Guideline Changes Continuing Legal Education offering (Photo Courtesy of the VBBA)

  • Kevin Martingayle, left, and Richard Garriott, right, chat with others during a VBBA event. Martingayle is a past president of the Virginia State Bar, and Garriott is the current president of the Virginia Bar Association (Photo Courtesy of the VBBA)

Following the death of its long-time executive director, the Virginia Beach Bar Association is currently in search of a replacement to fill her role.

Christopher Boynton, the current president of the VBBA, said that won’t be easy, since Jean Keary was irreplaceable.

“Losing Jean has been extremely difficult and challenging. She was our compass, our institutional memory, and our workhorse. She knew seemingly every attorney in Virginia Beach, knew the entire history of the organization, and served our association for over two decades. We miss her every day.”

The VBBA was founded in 1957 and according to Boynton, who has been a member since 2000, in any given year they have between 400-500 paid/active members, as well as members of the bench, retired attorneys, student members, and associate members.

Members of the VBBA’s Executive Board serve 7-year cycles with each member presiding as president during their sixth year on the board.

Boynton said the association offers its members a full year of continuing legal education credits at no additional cost, including a social reception afterward and quarterly happy hours for networking.

Also offered are alternating Bench Bar and Introduction to Courts Conferences on a 2-year cycle, and a liaison committee to each of the three courts in Virginia Beach.

VBBA President Christopher Boynton (Photo Courtesy of Ramone Photography/Christopher Boynton)
VBBA President Christopher Boynton (Photo Courtesy of Ramone Photography/Christopher Boynton)

“We also try to serve our community,” Boynton added. “Years ago Retired Judge Thomas Shadrick established a mentoring program for children at Seatack Elementary School, and recently this was expanded to include swim lessons for the students at the nearby recreation center.”

Likewise, Retired Judge Ronald Marks started a program called CLASS, in which VBBA attorneys provide pro bono legal services to victims of domestic violence who are seeking protective orders. There’s a new mental health docket in General District Court that Chief Judge Gene Woolard, past-President Tim Quick, and other members have organized to better address the mental health needs of the community.

This year the association formed three new committees: the first is focused on establishing a new signature public service project; the second on improving outreach to local law schools; and the third will work to better serve association members who have corporate and transactional law practices.

A strong bar association is a benefit to the community, Boynton said.

“We believe that a robust, collegial bar association is essential to the health of our profession. It allows us to foster positive, non-adversarial relationships with our colleagues in the profession.”

That, he added, serves to improve the civility and tone of legal interactions, which benefits clients whose disputes can then be resolved more efficiently and with as little acrimony as possible.

As president, Boynton has been more “hands-on” than usual with the search for an executive director continuing, but he’s still busy with his “day job” as Deputy City Attorney for Litigation.

The job description for the position of executive director is posted on the VBBA website, and anyone who might be interested can also email a résumé and short statement of interest to vbba@vbbarassoc.com.

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