Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Conflict of Interest

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Conflict of Interest

Last Saturday, State Senators Scott Surovell and Adam Ebbin and Delegate Paul Krizek conducted a town meeting on FACEBOOK in which they received submitted questions and answered some of them. The meeting was difficult to follow on line because the signal often stopped and was difficult to find to resume watching.

I asked the question below directed to Senator Surovell but can't say for sure whether he replied to it given the transmission difficulties. ...

This week, Senator Surovell announced on his Facebook page that the General Assembly just appointed a new judge in Prince William County. This announcement educated his constituents to the fact that State Court Judges in Virginia are appointed by members of the General Assembly. What his constituents are unlikely to know is that Senator Surovell actively solicits clients on his law practice website by identifying himself as a State Senator and stating that his law practice focuses on “DWI/traffic defense, consumer law, personal injury, family law, and appeals.” See link at end. Each of these categories is typically adjudicated before the very State Court judges Senator Surovell plays a role in appointing and reappointing. It should not be necessary to enact legislation to curtail what is so obviously a conflict of interest. .... I daresay no constituent would want to enter a Virginia courtroom with their lawyer only to discover that the opposing counsel is a member of the General Assembly who played a role in appointing the very judge who will decide their case.

My question for Senator Surovell is: Will you pledge today to your constituents that you will no longer represent clients before State Court Judges you play a role in appointing and reappointing? And, so long as you are affiliated with your law firm, will you see to it that no other attorney in your law firm engages in the same practice? https://surovellfirm.com/attorney/scott-a-surovell/

I look forward to reading Senator Surovell's response in a future Gazette edition, hopefully in the near future.

H. Jay Spiegel

Mount Vernon