First VBA President's Award Honors Gary LeClair
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
The inaugural recipient of The Virginia Bar Association President's Award is attorney Gary D. LeClair of Richmond, former chairman and chief executive officer of LeClairRyan, having served in those roles for more than 25 years. LeClair has been a member of the VBA since 1982.
At the award presentation, James Patrick Guy II, 2016 VBA president, said, "One of the privileges of a role like this is acknowledging your heroes. And it's my privilege tonight to acknowledge one of my heroes.
"Gary LeClair, in 1988, with his good friend and soon-to-be partner Dennis Ryan, founded the firm that has come to be known as LeClairRyan," Guy told an audience of nearly 400 at the VBA 127th Annual Meeting banquet. "There are lots of great firms based or founded in Virginia that are spread across the country. There are not many people still practicing in those firms whose names are in the titles of those firms unless they're the children or grandchildren of the people who founded those firms. And a notable exception is LeClairRyan.
"Now, in full disclosure, I have worked at LeClairRyan since 1994, so I'm not the least bit objective," Guy said. "But I don't have to be, because this is the very first Virginia Bar Association President’s Award, and it is presented to someone who the president thinks is distinguished in our community and our profession and our bar. I can't think of anyone who meets those criteria any better than Gary LeClair.
"Gary has been a mentor to me, but more importantly to many, many other people in our profession, including people who have gone out and founded other firms, who have founded other companies, who are leaders in the bar, who are leaders in our associations and in our communities," Guy said. LeClairRyan was originally founded to address the special needs of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, and is now a full-service, national law firm.
"Gary, it's with great gratitude and affection that I tender to you the first Virginia Bar Association President's Award."