WHILE POLITICIANS wrangle over whose list President Carter should use to pick four new U.S. judges for Virginia, a coalition of women, minority and labor groups is submitting its own names to add to the all-white and male list collected by Sen. Harry F. Byrd Jr.

So far the names of four women who live in Virginia -- though all of them work in Washington -- have been sent to Assistant Attorney General Barbara Babcock, who is charged with finding qualified women for federal judgeships. The name of a fifth woman who lives and practices in Arlington is expected to be submitted soon.

Included among the women are D.C. Superior Court Judge Joyce Hens Green, 50, and U.S. Magistrate Jean F. Dwyer, 51, both of whom practiced law in Virginia and Washington before their judical appointments.

The other names sent to the Justice Department are Frances G. Beck, 61, assistant general counsel of the U.S. Postal Rate Commission who was a trial attorney in Virginia and Washington before joining the government, and Gail Starling Marshall, 37, a former assistant professor at the University of Virginia law school before joining the Washington firm of Hogan & Hartson.

The fifth woman, whose name will be submitted shortly, is Margaret M. Laurence, 62, of Arlington, a patent attorney with 11 years of trial experience.

The talent search is being conducted by women's groups in Virginia. Nationwide, a similar talent hunt for more women and minority nominees is being coordinated by the Judicial Selection Project directed by Ann K. Macrory, who uses Common Cause's Wats line to galvanize groups across the country into action.

In Virginia, the talent search is complicated by the small number of experienced women lawyers in the state. Until the 1950s, for instance, women were not admitted to Virginia law schools nor taken into the larger, politically powerful firms, said Macrory.

The selection process is further complicated by a deep division in the state between the traditional power centers of Richmond and the Tidewater and the rapidly-growing Washington suburbs, which sometimes are considered to have closer ties to the nation's capital than the statehouse.

As an indication of this split, the Richmond Bar Association passed a resolution last week urging U.S. District Court Judge Robert Merhige to remain on the bench in Richmond rather than take a promotion to perhaps the most important federal appeals court in the country, for the D.C. Circuit.

The D.C. Bar's annual midyear meeting is set for Jan. 25 in the Capital Hilton Hotel with Robert J. Lipshutz, counsel to the president, as the Iuncheon speaker. He will be remembered for his appearance before the American Bar Association in July when he shot down a pet project of incoming ABA President. Shepherd Tate, and also suggested that lawyers should themselves finance legal aid to criminal defendants who cannot afford their own attorneys rather than ask for government funds.

Educational programs will run all afternoon, with a cocktail reception honoring the new chief judge of the D.C. Superior Court, H. Carl Moultrie I, and the man he succeeded, Harold H. Greene, who was promoted to the U.S. District Court.

The business meeting, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., will include a referendum on the D.C. voting rights amendment.

The Women's Bar Association, meanwhile, will have its joint dinner with the American Medical Women's Association at 6 p.m. Jan. 23 at the International Club. Betty Lehan Harragan, who wrote "Games Mother Never Taught You: Corporate Gamesmanship for Women," will speak.

The case is still on appeal, but if lawyers and other professional working in the District of Columbia want to claim refunds of the D.C. professional tax for 1975 they had better file for them this year -- even though they will not get paid unless the city government finally loses all of its appeals. The notice to ask for a refund is included in the blank tax return for 1978.

The city is appealing a decision by Superior Court Judge John Garrett Penn ordering that taxes paid from Jan. 1 through Nov. 30, 1975, be refunded, but Axel-Feliz Kleiboemer -- representing all lawyers, doctors, dentists, accountants, architects, psychologists, consultants and other professionals -- is appealing Judge Penn's refusal to kill the law.

HEW Secretary Joseph A. Califano Jr., who should know of what he speaks, being a highpowered Washington lawyer himself before joining the Carter administration, offered the following observation about the Tobacco Institute's attacks on him for his antismoking stance:

"As a lawyer, if you don't have the law on your side you argue the facts. If you don't have the facts on your side you argue the law. If you don't have either the facts or the law on your side you make an ad hominem attack (against your opponent rather than the argument). So someone over there went to law school."

New firm in town: David P. Stang, former minority counsel for energy for the Senate Interior Committee, and Douglass W. Svendson Jr., former energy expert for Sen. Russell B. Long (D-La.) and chief counsel of Long's subcommittee on surface transportation, has formed the firm of Stang and Svendson.

Stang said he will will specialize in energy and natural resources law, Svendson in energy and transportation law -- "just as we did on the hill."

Short takes: Mary Graham, formerly with the Office of Management and Budget, joined Wald, Harkrader & Ross... G. Daniel McCarthy named a partner in Bilger & Blair... Former Sen. Carl T. Curtis (R-Neb.) becoming counsel in the Washington office of Nelson & Harding, the Lincoln, Neb., firm.