Category Archives: Annual Meeting

Annual Meeting Immigration Panel

Annual Meeting Immigration Panel: Complementary or Contradictory to the Rule of Law?

Panelists at the Annual Meeting program. George Fishman, Esq., Lisa Johnson-Firth, Esq., Dean Emerson Douglas, and Jacob Tingeman, Esq.  (Dee Norman, Virginia State Bar)

By: Chris Fortier

Immigration remains a hot topic for discussion. While this topic holds much interest with the public, lawyers are focused on Immigration Law for different reasons.  Between the changing policy with the Department of Justice, increasing workloads for judges, and the quick hearings that immigrants in the system face, the topic always provides content for a quick hour of CLE.  The Annual Meeting panel consisted of Lisa Johnson-Firth, Esq. (Immigrants First, PLLC, Manassas), George Fishman, Esq. (Department of Homeland Security, House Immigration Committee Counsel), Jacob Tingeman, Esq. (Solo Practitioner). Dean Emerson Douglas of William & Mary Law moderated the program.  Dean Douglas emphasized that lawyers need to play a critical role in the immigration debate, as they have the ability to see both sides and to be objective.

Mr. Fishman provided a history of immigration law from the 1990s through today. He cited Congressional studies in 1981 and 2016 where the illegal immigrant population grew from 4-6 million to 11 million, respectively. He noted that Deferred Action for Child Applicants (DACA) was based on inherent executive power of prosecutorial discretion.  DACA was initially meant to assist children brought to US under age 16 before 2012.  He reminded attendees that Article I Section 8 gives Congress the power to determine immigration policy and that Article II Section 3 provides the President the ability to execute these laws.  He urged limits on immigration and recommended actions such as setting a fair process to challenge the government’s immigration determinations.

Ms. Johnson-Firth noted the principles in the United Nations Secretary General Report on the Defined Rule of Law (S/2004/616), alluding to international human rights norms and four key principles: 1) law applies to everybody 2) law is not secret or arbitrary, 3) law is just, 4) law is fair (double check this).   Ms. Johnson-Firth argued that that United States did not adhere to rule of law, propping up military dictatorships in Guatemala and El Salvador.

Ms. Johnson-Firth also pointed out the challenges that our Immigration courts and parties in front of that court face. For example, she noted that there were no ex post facto, no Miranda warnings, long waits for hearing, no right to speedy trial, no discovery process (surprise impeachment using evidence they do not give you), and administrative warrants for parties in front of the court. Ms. Johnson-Firth also stated that Immigration judges adjudicate 700 cases per year and are employees of the Department of Justice without judicial independence.

Mr. Tingen reviewed case law affecting immigration.  He urged creation of a district court to adjudicate these asylum claims, as opposed to DOJ Immigration judges.  He noted Pereria v. Sessions, which held that a summons to appear needs to have a date, time, and place of appearance.  He reviewed the Matters of MS, LABR, and AB, which redefined widely accepted social groups in asylum analysis and took gangs out of the analysis of social structure in an immigrant’s country of origin.


Chris Fortier serves on the Board of Governors of the Diversity Conference, working on the Invictus newsletter and the Diversity Conference website and social media. In his day job, he works at the Social Security Administration (SSA). The views in this article are his and his alone and do not reflect those of SSA or the Federal Government.

Annual Meeting Photo Album

Enjoy some of the sights of the VSB Annual Meeting’s Diversity Conference activities in June 2019.

HuYoung Perez

Michael HuYoung, recipient of the Dunnaville Award and Immediate Past Chair Luis Perez greet VSB Annual Meeting attendees to the new Welcome Reception.

HuYoung Family

Michael HuYoung and his family, accepting the Dunnaville Award

Diversity Conference

Michael HuYoung, receipient of Dunnaville Award, poses with the Diversity Conference Board of Governors.

Mentor-Mentee w:Justice Mims

The mentors, mentees, and Justice Mims at the Opening Reception at the VSB Annual Meeting.

HuYoung is the 2019 Recipient of the Dunnaville Award

Congratulations to Michael HuYoung, a former chair of the Diversity Conference.

Congratulations to Michael HuYoung of Barnes & Diehl in Richmond on his selection as the winner of the Dunnaville Award. Mr. HuYoung was one of the original members of the Virginia State Bar’s Diversity Task Force, the group that laid the groundwork to establish the Diversity Conference. Mr. HuYoung was the second chair of the Diversity Conference and participated in many activities that built upon and solidified the achievements of the inaugural Board of Governors. After his year as chair, he continued to support and lead the Diversity Conference, serving on its Board of Governors for two terms, and helped to create the Law Student Mentor/Mentee program at the VSB Annual Meeting. Mr. HuYoung continues to tirelessly promote the mission of the Diversity Conference and is a leader and mentor for diversity and inclusion within the Virginia’s legal profession and the public it serves.    

According to nominator (and Immediate Past Chair) Carole Capsalis:

Throughout his legal career, Michael has devoted his time, energy and leadership to make significant, demonstrable, and outstanding contributions to fostering, encouraging, and facilitating diversity and inclusion in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In addition to serving on the Diversity Task Force, Michael followed Judge Capsalis as the second chair of the Diversity Conference and was a very involved and active board member of the Diversity Conference from 2010 to 2016. As the second chair of the Diversity Conference, Michael’s herculean efforts shepherded the new conference through the unchartered waters of an unfunded conference.

Mr. HuYoung has served on many boards and given much time to pro bono work in addition to teaching continuing education courses and authoring articles emphasizing the importance of diversity in the legal profession. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia and the University of Richmond School of Law.

The Clarence M. Dunnaville Jr. Achievement Award, sponsored by the Diversity Conference of the Virginia State Bar, honors a member of the Virginia State Bar for setting an example that fellow members can emulate to meet the conference’s goal of fostering, encouraging, and facilitating diversity and inclusion in the bar, the judiciary, and the legal profession. The award commemorates the life of Clarence M. Dunnaville Jr. and his unceasing devotion to improving diversity and equality in our commonwealth. The inaugural award was presented to Clarence M. Dunnaville Jr. in 2012.

Winners of this award demonstrate:

  • Significant, demonstrable, and outstanding contribution to fostering, encouraging, or facilitating diversity and inclusion in the Commonwealth of Virginia;
  • Demonstrated dedication to raising issues of diversity and protecting civil and human rights in the Commonwealth of Virginia; and/or
  • Participation in corporate and/or community events that promote mutual respect, acceptance, cooperation or tolerance in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Mentor Program Thank Yous

The Virginia State Bar Annual Meeting will include more law students as part of our 2nd Annual Mentor-Mentee program. We are proud to bring the benefits of the Annual Meeting to students from each of Virginia’s eight law schools.

The law students participate in the Annual Meeting’s CLE programs, networking events, and other fun activities in Virginia Beach. While at the Annual Meeting, the law students will learn about the bar’s activities and how it promotes the practice of law.

We thank our mentors in advance for taking the time to mentor the law students. Click here to meet the law students and their mentors.

We also thank our sponsors: Candace Blydenburgh, Andrea Bridgeman, Peter Burnett, Latoya Capers, Sheila Costin, Kyung (Kathryn) Dickerson, Michael HuYoung, Linda Lambert, Providence Napoleon, Luis Perez, Rupen Shah, Virginia Diversity Foundation, Virginia Women Attorneys Association – Northern Virginia Chapter, Maura & Ed Weiner, and the Zavos Juncker Law Group.

If you are coming to the Annual Meeting on June 16 through June 18 in Virginia Beach, take a moment and introduce yourself to the law students. You will not regret it!

“Fore Diversity” Golf Tournament Report

Photo by tyler hendy on

June 19, 2011

Fun was had by all the participants at the “Fore Diversity” Golf Tournament. This year was our Inaugural “Fore Diversity” Golf Tournament which was held on June 16, 2011 in Virginia Beach during the Virginia State Bar’s (VSB) Annual Meeting. Not only was a fun time had by all, but we also had the opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with one another and establish new friendships. But most of all, much thanks need to be given to our sponsors and donors; the raffle gifts were fabulous. The Diversity Conference raffled off many fine items, such as a full set of men’s Galloway golf clubs, a full set of women’s Galloway golf clubs, along with many other extravagant items. You had to be there to believe it.

The Virginia Beach National Golf Club (VBNGC) was a great host for this event. All staff and employees, as well as the Golf Pro, Russ Dodson, were very accommodating and took care of our every need. We look forward to returning next year to VBNGC during the VSB Annual Conference for the Second “Fore Diversity” Golf Tournament. We hope that many more can attend. The next time, we want more players than sponsors; however, we hope to have more of both.

Again, thank you sponsors and donors for your contributions and donations to the “Fore Diversity” Golf Tournament.

Michael HuYoung

Chair of the VSB Diversity Conference

2010-2011 Annual Report

The Diversity Conference’s inaugural year was a promising and successful one with much accomplished and much more planned in the year ahead. Its main accomplishment was to establish a Board of Governors with individuals who are energetic and focused on the Conference’s mission to:

  1. foster and encourage diversity in the admission to the bar and advancement in the legal profession and the judiciary;
  2. serve as a catalyst for creating leadership and bar service opportunities in the legal profession in Virginia; and
  3. work to ensure that the legal system is responsive to the legal needs of the people of Virginia.

Our Initial Board consisted of Manuel A. Capsalis (Chair), Michael HuYoung (Chair- Elect), Linda Y. Lambert (Secretary), Edward L. Weiner (Treasurer), Peter C. Burnett, Beverly J. A. Burton, Clarence M. Dunnaville, Jr., Michael A. Glasser, Manuel E. Leiva, Jennifer L. McClellan, Cathleen K. Memmer, Rupen R. Shah, Professor Henry L. Chambers, Jr., Dean Clinton W. Shinn, Judge Cleo E. Powell, John Y. Richardson, Jr., Kathy M. Coleman (Lay Member), and Michael Zajur (Lay Member). The Board met on at least six different occasions and in different locations throughout the state, and its members typified the true meaning of volunteer service to the legal profession and the community. Because of the staggered terms of our Board, Michael A. Glasser and Clinton W. Shinn have elected not to be re-appointed. They have been replaced by Latoya C. Asia and Marni E. Bynum.

Because of the fact that the Diversity Conference continues to operate without bar funding or active bar staff support, our main goal in this inaugural year was to raise funds so that we could accomplish the goals and plans established by the Board. To that effect, each member of the Board contributed financially to the Conference, and we did much of our own clerical and administrative work.

Our first major organized fundraiser, “Fore Diversity” Golf Tournament, was held during the VSB 2011 Annual Summer Conference in Virginia Beach at the Virginia Beach National Golf Club. Not only was a fun time had by all, but the golfers and members of the Bar also had the opportunity to reacquaint themselves with one another and establish new friendships. The Conference was able to raise more funds than expected. In fact, there were more sponsors and donors than golfers sending a message that the purpose behind the creation of the Diversity Conference is accepted by more than we know. The Diversity Conference raffled off many fine items, such as a full set of men’s Calloway golf clubs, a full set of women’s Galloway golf clubs, along with many other extravagant items. Since the Golf Tournament, Board members have heard from many who plan on playing next year. The Conference hopes to make the Golf Tournament an annual Diversity Conference event during the Annual Summer Conference in Virginia Beach.

Our second major organized fundraiser is Jazz 4 Justice to be held on September 17, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. at the Forbes Center, James Madison University’s new performing arts center. Jazz 4 Justice will be an evening of fabulous music and entertainment. Jazz 4 Justice will support not only the Diversity Conference, but also Blue Ridge Legal Services (BRLS) in the Shenandoah Valley area. BRLS provides free civil legal assistance to low income residents within the Shenandoah Valley. Jazz 4 Justice will also provide musical scholarships for students at JMU, and it will showcase talented music majors at the University. Individual tickets can be purchased for $15 at JMU’s box office or online at The Conference expects this inaugural year of Jazz 4 Justice to be a “sellout” event with 600 people in attendance. A similar event has proven very successful at George Mason University winning awards from both the Virginia and National Bar Associations. The Diversity Conference looks forward to bringing this fun and successful event into the Shenandoah Valley, and we have sent out requests for sponsorship’s.

However, the Conference’s efforts have not just gone to fundraising. The Conference has accomplished or participated in the following since its inception:

  1. Created and established its own website,, which is linked to the VSB website at
  2. Participated in pipeline projects such as the “Rule of Law Program” established by Mike Pace of the Roanoke Bar and funded by the Virginia Law Foundation, reaching out to the middle and high schools, church to promote a better understanding of the legal system and to encourage individuals at an early age to seek a career in the legal profession with all of the opportunities that can be afforded to someone. The Conference hosted and presented in conjunction with other bar groups the Rule of Law Program in Petersburg, Virginia on February 17, 2011 and at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in the City of Richmond on April 14, 2011.
  3. Participated in the Southern Virginia Minority Pre-Law Conference at the Washington and Lee University School of Law sponsored by the VSB Young Lawyers Conference on September 25, 2010.
  4. Participated in the Hill-Tucker Pre-Law Institute at the University of Richmond School of Law sponsored by the VSB Young Lawyers Conference on July 10 – 15, 2011.
  5. Obtained Senate Resolution No. 31 sponsored by State Senator Emmett W. Hanger, Jr. from Augusta County recognizing the efforts and achievement of the VSB in the creation of the Diversity Conference which passed unanimously in the General Assembly. A framed copy of the Senate Resolution was presented formally by the Diversity Conference to the VSB at the Bar Council Meeting on June 16, 2011 by Senator Hanger himself. This framed Senate Resolution now hangs on the wall of the President’s Office at the VSB offices.
  6. Started membership drive which unlike the other Conferences has no limitations or requirements for joining since it is open to all members of the VSB. With our new website, membership is easy by clicking on the Membership icon. Membership is free.

The following is our current agenda going into the next fiscal year:

  1. Diversity in the Law Conference scheduled on November 10-12, 2011 at the University of Virginia School of Law which will be held jointly by the Law School Center for the Study of Race and Law, and the Diversity Conference. There also will be ongoing presentations during the year at the law schools in the state. For example, the Diversity Conference is scheduled to have a panel presentation and discussion at the Appalachian School of Law on September 28, 2011.
  2. Sustaining Project. – It is the goal of the Diversity Conference to establish pipeline/ ladder programs in every judicial circuit in the Commonwealth.
  3. Signature Project. – It is the goal of the Diversity Conference to establish a grant- funded signature project significant in scope. We have in the works a film project, The American Tapestry: A History of Diversity in America. If successful, the film project may be made in conjunction with the renowned Ken Burns and his staff.
  4. Focus on presenting an event or seminar at the 2012 VSB Annual Conference in Virginia Beach other than the “Fore Diversity” Golf Tournament and to meet the time deadlines for this.
  5. Jazz 4 Justice Concert, fundraiser, as stated above.
  6. Continued development of the Diversity Conference website.
  7. Mutual liaison with the VSB Special Committee on Access to Legal Services.
  8. Continued membership drive for the upcoming year.
  9. Coordinate diversity initiatives and efforts with voluntary statewide bars, local bars, specialty bars, and foundations and academies.
  10. Reaching out to the local community and people of diversity as it pertains to the legal field and arena.

Submitted by:

Michael HuYoung

Chair of the Diversity Conference

August 5, 2011