An Arlington attorney has charged in a lawsuit that the Virginia State Bar Association and two of its Northern Virginia disciplinary committees "systematically discriminate" against the presence of blacks, women and Jews on those panels.
The attorney, Sol Z. Rosen, said yesterday he initiated the suit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, because he shortly will face disciplinary proceedings on a technical charge that he predated a legal document, a charge he denies.
In his suit, Rosen charges that the bar association panels are "unconstitutionally established" because of their alleged discriminatory practices.
Virginia Bar Association president William Prince said yesterday he would be "utterly amazed if he (Rosen) can prove these allegations."
The suit asks for an injunction on constitutional grounds to prevent the state bar and the two local disciplinary committees from acting as the disiplinary body for the Northern Virginia area. No court date has been set.
Rosen acted as his own attorney in the suit, which alleges that "Jews, blacks and women, rather than white male Christians... are subjected to harher treatment and peanalties by virtue of the lack of representation of their identity group on these district committees." The district committees judge whether attorneys have acted improperly.
No specific instances of alleged harsher treatment and penalties against those three minority groups were cited in the suit.
In addition to the state bar association, the 10th and the 8th district committees were named as defendants. The chairmen of those two committees, Samuel Klewans, and Phillip Hirshkop, could not be reached yesterday for comment.