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Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (VACDL)

About the VACDL


  • Founded: 1992
  • Focus: Criminal Defense
  • Location: Richmond, Virginia
  • Website: vacdl.org
  • Executive Director: Danielle Payne
  • President: Elliot Bender

Mission and History

The Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (VACDL) was founded in Richmond, VA in 1992. It was originally called the Virginia College of Criminal Defense Attorneys. In 2002, it changed its name to the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. 

The mission of the VACDL is to support the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). Its members focus on representing those accused of criminal violations. The VACDL strives to ensure fairness and equality before the law and improvide the crimin justice system in Virginia. The VACDL also participates in legislative matters in order to have a voice within the administration of the criminal justice system.

The VACDL fosters a community of the top criminal defense attorneys throughout Virginia within its organization. Its members have access to continuing legal education and colleague support to advance their practice. 



Board of Directors

Elliott Bruce Bender
Richmond, VA
Andre Hakes
Andre Hakes
Vice President
Charlottesville, VA
H. Eugene Oliver III
President Elect
Harrisonburg, VA
Allen Bareford
Allen Bareford
Fredericksburg, VA
Sandra Saseen Smith
Sandra Saseen Smith
South Boston, VA
Glen Franklin Koontz
Immediate Past President
Martinsburg, WV

Contact the VACDL

Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (VACDL)
3126 West Cary Street #615
Richmond, VA 23221
Office: (804) 262-8223

More About VACDL

Membership in VACDL

Members in the VACDL include practicing criminal defense attorneys, non-practicing professionals interested in criminal defense (i.e., law school professors), federal public defenders, and law students. VACDL membership is not open to full or part-time prosecutors. Membership in the VACDL is subject to membership application and board review. 

Benefits of Membership

For Virginia attorneys, the benefits of joining the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers include:

  • networking opportunities with other attorneys dedicated to criminal defense work throughout the Commonwealth;
  • the opportunity to join mentorship programs;
  • access to a list-serve discussion group;
  • assistance from Strike Force if a member is threatened by a judges or prosecutors for their proper representation of clients;
  • discounts on quality CLE seminars held throughout the state including Newport News, Fredericksburg, Richmond, and Williamsburg, VA;
  • the ability to join take on a leadership role in committees for the VACDL.

Directory of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Virginia

Lawyer Legion maintains a statewide directory of criminal defense lawyers in Virginia which includes both VACDL members and non-members. To help the public find the best choices when searching for a criminal defense attorney, Lawyer Legion recognizes attorneys for their involvement and leadership within the VACDL and other professional associations. This includes recognition for VACDL members who have updated their Lawyer Legion profile to include information about their involvement with the VACDL.

Use this directory to find a Virginia criminal defense lawyer in your local area. Start by choosing your county from the list below.

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