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Steuart Thomas Becomes 130th VBA President

Monday, January 29, 2018   (0 Comments)
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Staunton-based lawyer joins fellow VBA members in statewide officer roles

The Virginia Bar Association installed C.J. Steuart Thomas III as its 2018 president Jan. 20 in Williamsburg. Thomas is a partner at TimberlakeSmith in Staunton, where he focuses his practice on medical malpractice defense and civil litigation. He succeeds David S. Mercer of MercerTrigiani in Alexandria, who assumed the office of immediate past president.

Thomas is the first VBA president from Staunton in 52 years and the fourth since Virginia’s largest and first statewide voluntary bar association was organized in 1888. His oath of office was administered by his father, Colin J. Thomas Jr., also an attorney with TimberlakeSmith. The elder Thomas is a Life Member of the VBA, denoting a continuous association with the VBA for at least 40 years. Colin Thomas Jr. joined the association in 1962.

“It is quite an honor to be speaking to you as the 130th president of The Virginia Bar Association,” the bar’s newest leader told members – including past presidents – attendees and guests at the 128th Annual Meeting of the association in Williamsburg. “Standing up here truly feels like I am standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Other 2018 officers

In addition to Thomas and Mercer, two other members also begin one-year terms as a VBA officer. Elected to leadership roles in Williamsburg were:

  • Richard E. Garriott Jr. of Pender & Coward, PC, in Virginia Beach as president-elect, and
  • Alison M. McKee of Kaufman & Canoles, P.C., in Virginia Beach as chair of the Board of Governors.

These officers and the leader of the Young Lawyers Division, or YLD, make up the voting members of the VBA Executive Committee. The YLD is a group of about 1,200 attorney members age 37 or younger or otherwise new to legal practice. The YLD members elect a chair for a one-year term.

  • Andrew B. Stockment, a shareholder with Lenhart Pettit in Charlottesville, is the YLD chair in 2018

“The VBA has lasted for 130 years because of its strong board governance. As president, I will preside,” Steuart Thomas said at the gathering, referring to new and continuing members of the VBA Board of Governors, “but you will govern. I urge you to collectively bring to bear your talent to the fullest in leading this organization in the coming years.”

New Board of Governors members

VBA members also elected four Board of Governors representatives to three-year terms. The board, with at-large and regional representatives, manages the business of the association. They are:

  • Victor O. Cardwell of Roanoke, representing the Southwest region. He is a principal with Woods Rogers PLC in Roanoke,
  • David J. Gogal of Fairfax, representing the Potomac region. He is a principal in the law firm of Blankingship & Keith, P.C.,
  • Helivi L. Holland, representing the membership at-large, is city attorney in Suffolk, and
  • Rhodes B. Ritenour of Richmond, also serving at-large, is vice president of external and regulatory affairs with the Bon Secours Richmond Health System.

The Board of Governors also appointed one new representative to advise on the VBA’s legislative interests. Starting a minimum one-year term that can be extended for up to three years is:

  • The Honorable Jennifer L. McClellan, state senator representing the 9th Senate District. This lawyer-legislator has been a VBA member since 1997.

In addition, the chair of the Law Practice Management Division and the chair-elect of the Young Lawyers Division also serve on the board. Respectively, they are:

  • R. Braxton Hill IV of Richmond, a partner in the litigation department of Christian & Barton, L.L.P. and
  • Jennifer L. Ligon of Richmond. She is an associate at Williams Mullen.

For details about these individuals, please see the 2018 VBA Leadership Slate PDF.

Continuing on the Board of Governors

Eleven other attorneys will continue their roles on the VBA Board of Governors. They are:

  • Rudene Mercer Haynes, At-Large representative (Hunton & Williams, Richmond),
  • Dean Michael V. Hernandez, Law School representative (Regent University School of Law),
  • Cynthia E. Hudson, Government Attorney representative (Office of the Attorney General of Virginia), Richmond,
  • Scott W. Kowalski, Southside representative (Petty, Livingston, Dawson & Richards, Lynchburg),
  • R. Peyton Mahaffey, At-Large representative (McCandlish & Lillard, P.C., Fairfax),
  • George Keith Martin, Capitol representative (McGuireWoods LLP, Richmond),
  • The Honorable Stephen R. McCullough, Judicial representative (justice, Supreme Court of Virginia, Richmond),
  • Richard H. Ottinger, Tidewater representative (Vandeventer Black LLP, Norfolk),
  • Michael J. Quinan (ex-officio), general counsel for the VBA (Christian & Barton, L.L.P., Richmond),
  • The Honorable Jeri Kaylene Somers, At-Large representative (judge, U.S. Civilian Board of Contract Appeals, Washington, D.C.), and
  • Cathleen P. Welsh, Blue Ridge representative (Lenhart Pettit, Harrisonburg).

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