History and Mission of VTLA

The Virginia Trial Lawyers Association is a voluntary bar association established in Williamsburg in 1959, dedicated to enhancing the knowledge, skills and professionalism of trial lawyers and committed to improving the law and the fairness of Virginia’s system of justice.

VTLA has approximately 2,000 members across the Commonwealth, representing clients in a large number of practice areas. VTLA paralegal/legal assistant members support our attorney members. The vast majority of our members own or work in small to midsized firms and spend a substantial portion of their time in the courtroom.

The Association works to educate the public about the role of trial lawyers and the importance of the jury in our justice system. Past and current public education efforts include People’s Law School, a Speaker’s Bureau and a teaching program featuring a video titled The Road to Virginia Justice, which is presented each year to hundreds of middle and high school students, informing them of their legal rights and responsibilities in the civil and criminal justice systems, utilizing a fictional teenage drunk driving case to do so.

VTLA is governed by a statewide Board of Governors.The work of the Board is supported and supplemented by the efforts of hundreds of members who serve as volunteers on Board committees. The Association is headquartered in Richmond.

VTLA conducts a variety of continuing legal education seminars throughout the Commonwealth for trial lawyers and their support staff designed to enhance competency and provide currency in the law. VTLA also operates, in conjunction with the William & Mary School of Law, the Virginia College of Trial Advocacy (VCTA), an intensive training course designed to develop and enhance advocacy skills. The Association produces a number of publications, including the Law Letter and the Journal, as well as an active website and numerous list-serves, all available to members.

VTLA is also the host organization for the Virginia Criminal Justice Conference, an annual gathering of prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys, judges, law professors and legislators working to promote improvements to the Commonwealth’s criminal justice system.

VTLA represents its members and their clients before the Virginia General Assembly, promoting improvements to the administration of justice intended to enrich the quality of life for all Virginians, and supporting the rule of law in the Commonwealth. VTLA members are interested in a variety of subject areas that come before the General Assembly, including business litigation, consumer law, criminal law, employment/civil rights law, family law, insurance law, products liability, professional liability, tort law, Social Security and Workers’ Compensation.

VTLA and the Virginia Bar Association jointly administer and provide lobbying support to the Virginia Family Law Legislative Coalition, which exists to make the law work better for Virginia families.

The Virginia Trial Lawyers Foundation promotes equal access to justice for all Virginians through educational programs for trial lawyers, law students and the public. The programs support the justice system by improving the trial advocacy skills of lawyers and law students, and enhancing the public’s understanding of the legal system. Foundation activities include support of a Bicycle Helmet safety program and moot court and trial advocacy competitions.

For many years, VTLA has also operated an active state political action committee governed by a Board of Trustees.

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