VBA Recognizes Old Dominion Bar Association Accomplishments
Thursday, July 30, 2015
ODBA President Helivi L. Holland accepts VBA LexisNexis Award
During the 125th Summer Meeting of The Virginia Bar Association, the statewide organization of attorneys and judges honored a fellow bar association on a special anniversary. The VBA presented its Summer Meeting LexisNexis Award to the Old Dominion Bar Association, which is celebrating its 75th year in existence.
Leadership, dedication, public service
The LexisNexis Award is given for extraordinary leadership and dedication to the legal profession and public service.
On July 25, 2015, the VBA acknowledged the contributions of the Old Dominion Bar Association since its founding in response to a 1940 incident involving Frederic Charles Carter, a black attorney, in the then-segregated library of the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. Carter later contacted some lawyer friends about the need to organize a bar association to advocate for equal justice.
“For 75 years, the ODBA has exemplified both extraordinary leadership and public service,” VBA President Harry M. “Pete” Johnson III said at The Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Va. “With founding members such as Oliver Hill and other titans of the civil rights movement, the ODBA established a home for African-American lawyers fighting injustice and seeking equal treatment under the law, while providing a forum to associate for personal and professional growth.”
He recognized that both the ODBA and the VBA have come a long way since 1940, when African-American lawyers were not yet welcome in the VBA’s membership rolls. In 2014, the VBA held its 124th annual meeting in collaboration with the ODBA.
“While we embrace our histories, let’s celebrate the great progress that we’ve made as our common missions have drawn the VBA and ODBA closer together,” Johnson said.
Accepting on behalf of the ODBA
Helivi L. Holland, president of the ODBA and city attorney for Suffolk, accepted the honor.
“I feel like I need a theme song: ‘I’m So Excited, and I Just Can’t Hide It,’” Holland told the crowd at the reception, referring to the Pointer Sisters’ recording.
“As we celebrate our 75th anniversary this year, we earnestly hope that our founders are proud of what we have accomplished as an organization and as individual members,” Holland said. She had urged ODBA members to support a year of increased membership and collaboration. She noted that membership growth has exceeded expectations. “And our collaboration is evident with the receipt of this LexisNexis Award” from Virginia’s largest voluntary statewide bar.
Holland joined the VBA in 2014. Among ODBA members at the reception were Johnson, VBA President-elect James Patrick Guy II and Virginia State Bar President Ed Weiner.
Previous recipients of the VBA LexisNexis Award include justices of the Supreme Court of Virginia, judges of the Virginia Court of Appeals, deans of law schools, presidents of the American Bar Association, U.S. attorneys, a governor and a U.S. senator. In 2014, the honor recognized the leadership and dedication of George K. Martin, managing partner of the McGuireWoods LLP-Richmond office.
LexisNexis is a longtime sponsor of the Saturday reception of the VBA Summer Meeting. This LexisNexis Award formerly was called the Michie Award.
Old Dominion Bar Association website
Awards presented by the VBA, and the recipients