Hugh Fain, David Harless Receive VBA Walker Award of Merit
Monday, February 13, 2017
The VBA presented the Walker Award of Merit to Hugh M. Fain III and W. David Harless in appreciation and recognition of their exceptional leadership within the bar.
Fain served as VBA president in 2012. Harless, also a VBA member, led the Virginia State Bar at the same time. During their terms, they traveled the state together promoting initiatives and deepening the bonds between the statewide voluntary and mandatory bar associations.
VBA 2016 President James Patrick Guy II made the award presentation at the 127th VBA Annual Meeting in January with 2016-2017 VSB President Michael W. Robinson by his side.
“The actions – personal, structural, organization and professional – that these two presidents, during their overlapping terms, took ... were exemplary. … That continues to this day,” said Guy, an electric power lawyer at LeClairRyan in Richmond.
The Virginia Bar Association, founded in 1888, encouraged the formation of the Virginia State Bar, created 50 years later, so that the profession and not the government could regulate its members.
“I am so humbled and deeply appreciative of this wonderful honor,” said Fain, a director and shareholder at Spotts Fain in Richmond. “They say timing is everything in life. For me, having the opportunity to lead this incredible association at the same time that my dear friend David Harless served as president of [the Virginia State Bar] was true serendipity. We had an opportunity to do some fun things together. We traveled the state together. We had a lot of fun doing some initiatives for our two associations. We really bonded together. And I am deeply grateful for that incredible timing in my life and for my friendship with David Harless.”
Harless, a partner and member of the executive committee at Christian & Barton, LLP, in Richmond, spoke about the enduring nature of his friendship with Fain and how fellowship is a critical part of the legal profession. “We meet for breakfast every month or two,” he said of Fain, “and we continue to pursue the fellowship that is unique to this profession and to the camaraderie of our collective groups – and I’m talking about all the bar associations. … If you aren’t pursuing it, I would urge you to do so, because it’s what makes doing what we do for a living so enjoyable.”
Robinson, a partner with Venable LLP in Tysons Corner, thanked the honorees “for setting such a standard that we have tried to follow … and to show the work, the coordination and the cooperation of two great organizations to bring together combined efforts so that we can continue to improve our profession, to serve our communities, to bring access to justice to the lost and the unchosen among us.”
Previous recipients of the Walker Award of Merit include David Craig Landin, Betty A. Thompson, Allen C. Goolsby and Thomas E. Spahn.