History and Heritage


In July 1888, more than 100 attorneys met in Virginia Beach to form the Virginia State Bar Association. Led by Francis H. McGuire of the Richmond Bar Association, which was then three years old, these Virginia lawyers organized themselves to address the goal of "improving the law and the administration of justice, and upholding the standard of honor and integrity in the legal profession." In 1889, the Association held its first meeting at the Old White (The Greenbrier) in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

The Association has always been a voluntary organization, unrestricted by any formal connection with state government and free to engage in activities calculated to benefit the public and improve the legal profession and the judiciary.

For 50 years, the Virginia State Bar Association was the only statewide bar group. In 1938, after 13 years of persistent work by members of the Association, the Virginia State Bar was created by statute as a regulatory agency for the legal profession in Virginia. Subsequently, the "State" was dropped from the name of the voluntary association, so that it became The Virginia Bar Association.

The purpose of the Association is set forth in the 1890 Charter, which states its aim as: "Cultivating and advancing the science of jurisprudence, promoting reform in the law and in judicial procedure, facilitating the administration of justice in this state, and upholding and elevating the standard of honor, integrity and courtesy." The Association continues those laudable goals today. The Association is concerned with the many facets of the practice of law and pursues programs designed to preserve the efficient and equitable administration of justice. The Association's membership seeks to improve the law, serve the people of Virginia and engage with other lawyers similarly concerned through the channels provided by the Association. A commitment to professionalism in its many expressions pervades all of the activities of the Association.

All licensed Virginia lawyers and lawyers in good standing of the bar in other states and the District of Columbia are eligible for full membership in The Virginia Bar Association. Lawyers are admitted free to the VBA during their first year of admittance to the bar. Regular membership dues are $185-250 per year, depending on the number of years in practice. In addition, members may become Patrons of The VBA Foundation at giving levels beginning at $100 per year. The VBA Foundation conducts and supports the charitable and educational purposes of the VBA. All Virginia judges and lawyer legislators receive free membership in the Association, and law school faculty, governmental, public service and fully retired/fully disabled attorneys are eligible for reduced dues. Law student membership is also available.

The Association encourages members to be active in its various committees and sections. There are currently 18 sections (with individual dues of $25 per section) that all members may join and the Judicial Section, which is open to members of the judiciary only. Approximately 50 committees of the Association, the Young Lawyers Division and the Law Practice Management Division serve a wide range of functions in the interest of the bar and the public. The Young Lawyers Division is a vital part of the Association. Lawyers 36 years of age and younger, or those having been admitted to their first bar less than three years earlier, are automatically VBA/YLD members.

The Association's commitment to improving the law finds expression in its legislative activity. During the year, the Association's committees and sections analyze statutes within the ambit of their concern and bring their recommendations before the Board of Governors for endorsement. The Association actively supports proposed statutory changes before the Virginia General Assembly that are in the public interest and selectively opposes those that do not serve the public interest. In addition to responding to proposals for improvements in the law generated by its multiple sections and committees and approved by its Board of Governors, the Association also provides logistical and lobbying support for legislative initiatives of the Boyd-Graves Conference and for positions adopted by the Virginia Family Law Coalition.

Another priority is law practice management both as to law office administration and conduct of individual practices. All VBA members belong to the Law Practice Management Division, established to help lawyers balance their personal and professional lives and to help lawyers and law firms of all sizes manage their practices.

The fostering of collegiality within the profession in Virginia is a traditional emphasis as well. The Virginia Bar Association holds two meetings each year. The annual winter meeting is held in Williamsburg and the summer meeting is held in the Allegheny Mountains.

It is the aim of this Association to bring together the best within the profession in Virginia to pursue common aims that advance the highest sense of professionalism and service within a storied calling.

Presidents of The Virgin

ia Bar Association

An asterisk (*) indicates that the person listed is deceased.
1888-89 William J. Robertson, Charlottesville* 1951-52 Alex W. Parker, Richmond*
1889-90 R.G.H. Kean, Lynchburg* 1952-53 Fred B. Greear, Norton*
1890-91 E.C. Burks, Bedford City* 1953-54 T. Justin Moore, Richmond*
1891-92 John Randolph Tucker, Lexington* 1954-55 Michael B. Wagenheim, Norfolk*
1892-93 R.T. Barton, Winchester* 1955-56 F.D.G. Ribble, Charlottesville*
1893-94 Waller R. Staples, Christiansburg* 1956-57 Edwin B. Meade, Danville*
1894-95 Charles M. Blackford, Lynchburg* 1957-58 J. Sloan Kuykendall, Winchester*
1895-96 Robert M. Hughes, Norfolk* 1958-59 David J. Mays, Richmond*
1896-97 William Wirt Henry, Richmond* 1959-60 William P. Dickson Jr., Norfolk*
1897-98 William B. Pettit, Palmyra* 1960-61 Robert J. McCandlish Jr., Fairfax*
1898-99 John Goode, Bedford City* 1961-62 William T. Muse, Richmond*
1899-1900 William J. Leake, Richmond* 1962-63 Waldo G. Miles, Bristol*
1900 William A. Anderson, Lexington* 1963-64 Thomas C. Gordon Jr., Richmond*
1900-01 Lunsford L. Lewis, Richmond* 1964-65 Virginius R. Shackelford Jr., Orange*
1901-02 Thomas C. Elder, Staunton* 1965-66 George M. Cochran, Staunton*
1902-03 Samuel C. Graham, Tazewell* 1966-67A.C. Epps, Richmond*
1903-04 Alexander Hamilton, Petersburg* 1967-68 William A. Moncure, Alexandria*
1904-05 Alfred P. Thom, Norfolk* 1968-69 George R.C. Stuart, Abingdon*
1905-06 Archer A. Phlegar, Bristol* 1969-70 Toy D. Savage Jr., Norfolk
1906-07 Allen Caperton Braxton, Staunton* 1970-71 E. Waller Dudley, Alexandria*
1907-08 Wyndham R. Meredith, Richmond* 1971-72 John S. Davenport, III, Richmond*
1908-09 Micajah Woods, Charlottesville* 1972-73 Vernon M. Geddy Jr., Williamsburg*
1909-10 R. Walton Moore, Fredericksburg* 1973-75 W. Gibson Harris, Richmond*
1910-11 George L. Christian, Richmond* 1975 Thomas V. Monahan, Winchester*
1911-12 Joshua F. Bullitt, Big Stone Gap* 1976 William B. Spong, Jr., Portsmouth*
1912-13 William Minor Lile, Charlottesville* 1977 A. Hugo Blankingship Jr., Fairfax
1913-14 Samuel Griffin, Bedford City* 1978 Edward R. Slaughter Jr., Charlottesville
1914-15 Legh R. Watts, Portsmouth* 1979 Jesse B. Wilson III, Fairfax
1915-16 Eppa Hunton, Jr., Richmond* 1980 Lorenzo Lee Bean, Jr., Arlington*
1916 John B. Jenkins, Norfolk* 1981 Hugh L. Patterson, Norfolk
1916-18 Harvey T. Hall, Roanoke* 1982 John F. Kay Jr., Richmond
1918-19 Lucien H. Cocke, Roanoke* 1983 John L. Walker, Jr., Roanoke*
1919-20 Randolph Harrison, Lynchburg* 1984 George G. Grattan IV, Earlysville
1920-21 Armistead C. Gordon, Staunton* 1985 Evans B. Brasfield, Richmond
1921-22 A.W. Wallace, Fredericksburg* 1986 Edmund L. Walton Jr., McLean
1922-23 Edward P. Buford, Lawrenceville* 1987 R. Gordon Smith, Richmond
1923-24 George Bryan, Richmond* 1988 John M. Ryan, Norfolk
1924-25 Robert B. Tunstall, Richmond* 1989 Thomas T. Lawson, Roanoke
1925-26 John Randolph Tucker, Richmond* 1990 F. Claiborne Johnston Jr., Richmond
1926-27 R. Gray Williams, Winchester* 1991 Allen C. Goolsby, Richmond
1927-28 James H. Corbitt, Suffolk* 1992 Thomas C. Brown Jr., McLean
1928-29 Whitwell W. Coxe, Roanoke* 1993 Whittington W. Clement, Danville
1929-30 J. Gordon Bohannon, Petersburg* 1994 M. Langhorne Keith, Fairfax
1930-31 Robert L. Pennington, Bristol* 1995 R. Terrence Ney, Fairfax
1931-32 Virginius Randolph Shackelford, Orange* 1996 Douglas P. Rucker Jr., Richmond
1932-33 James W. Gordon, Richmond* 1997 Phillip C. Stone, Bridgewater
1933-34 S.V. Kemp, Lynchburg* 1998 G. Franklin Flippin, Roanoke
1934-35 C. O'Conor Goolrick, Fredericksburg* 1999 David Craig Landin, Richmond
1935-36 Stuart Bland Campbell, Wytheville* 2000 Anita O. Poston, Norfolk
1936-37 James Green Martin, Norfolk* 2001 Jeanne F. Franklin, Alexandria
1937-38 Frank W. Rogers, Roanoke* 2002 J. Edward Betts, Richmond
1938-39 Lewis Catlett Williams, Richmond* 2003 Frank A. Thomas III, Orange
1939-40 Robert O. Norris Jr., Lively* 2004 E. Tazewell Ellett, Alexandria
1940-41 Kennon C. Whittle, Martinsville* 2005 James V. Meath, Richmond
1941-42 William A. Stuart, Abingdon* 2006 William R. Van Buren III, Norfolk
1942-43 George E. Haw, Richmond * 2007 Glenn C. Lewis, Washington, D.C.
1943-44 Christopher B. Garnett, Arlington* 2008 G. Michael Pace Jr., Roanoke
1944-46 Howard C. Gilmer Jr., Pulaski* 2009 John D. Epps, Richmond
1946-47 Thomas B. Gay, Richmond* 2010 Stephen D. Busch, Richmond
1947-48 John L. Walker, Roanoke* 2011 Lucia Anna "Pia" Trigiani, Alexandria
1948-49 David Nelson Sutton, West Point* 2012 Hugh M. Fain III, Richmond
1949-50 James S. Easley, Halifax* 2013 Thomas R. Bagby, Roanoke
1950-51 W.R. Broaddus, Jr., Martinsville*  2014 John L. Walker III, Richmond
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
 
   

Honoring Past Presidents Sponsorship Program

The law firms listed below are the generous supporters of the VBA's annual Honoring Past Presidents Sponsorship Program, which was started in 2012. Also listed below are past VBA presidents honored by the firms and the years of their respective terms. We salute these firms and VBA leaders with great appreciation.

Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore, LLP, Honorees:
G. Franklin Flippin (1998)
G. Michael Pace, Jr. (2008)
Hunton & Williams LLP Honorees:
Thomas B. Gay (1946-47)
T. Justin Moore (1953-54)
Evans B. Brasfield (1985)
Allen C. Goolsby (1991)
Whittington W. Clement (1993)
David C. Landin (1999)
John D. Epps (2009)
Kaufman & Canoles, P.C., Honoree:
William R. Van Buren, III (2006)
McCandlish & Lillard, P.C., Honorees:
Robert J. McCandlish, Jr. (1960-61)
Jesse B. Wilson, III (1979)
McGuireWoods LLP Honorees:
The Honorable Thomas C. Gordon (1963-64)
E. Waller Dudley (1970-71)
Vernon M. Geddy, Jr. (1972-73)
W. Gibson Harris (1973-75)
Edward R. Slaughter, Jr. (1978)
R. Gordon Smith (1987)
Thomas C. Brown, Jr. (1992)
The Honorable R. Terrence Ney (1995)
Stephen D. Busch (2010)
MercerTrigiani Honoree:
Lucia Anna "Pia" Trigiani (2011)
Sands Anderson PC Honoree:
Douglas P. Rucker, Jr. (1996)
V.R. Shackelford, III, PLC, Honorees:
Virginius R. Shackelford (1931-32)
Virginius R. Shackelford, Jr. (1964-65) 
Troutman Sanders LLP Honorees:
John S. Davenport, III (1971-72)
John F. Kay, Jr. (1982)
F. Claiborne Johnston, Jr. (1990)
Williams Mullen Honorees:
Lewis C. Williams (1938-39)
James V. Meath (2005)
Woods Rogers PLC Honorees:
Whitwell W. Coxe (1928-29)
Frank W. Rogers (1937-38)
John L. Walker (1947-48)
John L. Walker, Jr. (1983)
Thomas T. Lawson (1989)

All law firms of past VBA presidents are eligible and encouraged to support this program. Interested participants are encouraged to contact
John L. Walker, III, at (804) 420-6463.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contact us: The Virginia Bar Association, 701 E. Franklin St., Suite 1120, Richmond, VA 23219      Phone: (804) 644-0041       Fax: (804) 644-0052      Email: thevba@vba.org
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