Letter to the Editor—February
- February 1, 2008
I applaud your magazine’s decision to cast a wider net regarding the designation of the Legal Elite [December 2007 issue]. On a couple occasions in the past years, I have called your magazine questioning the method of this certification. Hearing that it was primarily based on an alliance or association with the private Virginia Bar Association (and not of the bar as a whole) was disconcerting to me and cast into serious question the accuracy and propriety of the findings. As a result of that, I tended to give less weight to other articles published in your journal.
Let me say that there are very fine attorneys among your past lists, and certainly some of the state’s finest. But to certify, as your magazine has done for years now, that these comprise Virginia’s Legal Elite while, at the same time, not including the majority of the bar of this state to cast ballots, which has an active membership of well in excess of 25,000 lawyers and thousands more of associate or out-of-state members, is not critical journalism. It’s not even close. I would add that I also do not understand why it is, even now, that
you intend to extend paper ballots to one private bar and not to the bar at large. I think you do a disservice to the cause of ferreting out the best when you elect to prefer one group over the entirety.
I have a great deal of respect for the Virginia Bar Association and its membership. As a past president of the largest bar in the state, the Virginia State Bar, I know the quality of lawyers practicing in this commonwealth. We have exceptional practitioners in many fields. Many are members of the Virginia Bar Association, as many also are not. I would ask that you think again on the method of making these certifications, in the interest of fairness and accuracy in journalism.
Yours is a magazine with a wide and prominent readership, among whose ranks of readers I count myself. It seems you should aspire to the high goals of accuracy and fairness when undertaking a statewide survey of professional talent.