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Richard E. Garriott Jr. Becomes 131st VBA President

Tuesday, January 29, 2019   (0 Comments)
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Virginia Beach-based lawyer joins fellow VBA members in leadership roles for statewide voluntary bar organization

The Virginia Bar Association installed Richard E. Garriott Jr. as its 2019 president Saturday, Jan. 25, in Williamsburg. He handles family law and civil matters at Pender & Coward, PC, in Virginia Beach. Garriott succeeds C.J. Steuart Thomas III, a partner at TimberlakeSmith in Staunton, who assumed the office of immediate past president of the VBA.

Richard E. Garriott Jr. takes over as 131st president of the VBAGarriott is the first VBA president from Virginia Beach since Virginia’s largest and first statewide voluntary bar association was organized in 1888. His oath of office was administered by his mentor, VBA member and judge-elect Cheshire I’Anson Eveleigh, an attorney with Wolcott Rivers Gates in Virginia Beach.

"Never before has the mission of the VBA been more vital," the VBA’s 131st president told members – including past presidents – attendees and guests at the 129th Annual Meeting of the association at the Williamsburg Lodge. His address focused on the obligation of Virginia lawyers to call for the protection of the rule of law and the institutions that nourish it in light of serious threats to American democracy today. “All of us, regardless of our political philosophies, should now take on the mantle that our predecessors so willingly took up, and individually and as an association we must advocate the importance of our democratic institutions.”

Other 2019 officers

In addition to Garriott and Thomas, two other members also begin one-year terms as VBA officers. Elected to leadership roles were:

  • Alison M. McKee of Kaufman & Canoles, P.C., in Virginia Beach as president-elect, and
  • Richard H. Ottinger of Vandeventer Black LLP in Norfolk as chair of the Board of Governors.

See more about the officers below.

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 elected a new chair for a one-year term:

  • Jennifer L. Ligon, a senior associate with Williams Mullen in Richmond.

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:

  • Ryan W. Boggs of Richmond, representing the Capitol region. He is managing general counsel-litigation at Dominion Energy,
  • The Honorable Cynthia D. Kinser of Pennington Gap, representing the membership At-Large. She is a former chief justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia and is now of counsel with Kinser Law PLC,
  • Benjamin D. Leigh of Leesburg, also serving At-Large, is a principal with Atwill, Troxell & Leigh, P.C., and
  • Eric H. Monday of Martinsville, representing the Southside region. He is attorney for the City of Martinsville, a role he has served in since 2003.

The Board of Governors also appointed two new representatives to advise it on law schools and government attorney interests. Starting a one-year term that can be extended for up to three years are:

  • Henry N. Butler of Arlington, dean and professor of law and executive director of the Law & Economics Center at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, and
  • Travis G. Hill of Richmond, chief executive officer for the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority.

In addition, the chair-elect of the Young Lawyers Division also serves on the board. The YLD chose as chair-elect:

  • Madelaine Kramer of McLean, counsel at Sands Anderson, where her practice focuses on attorney and medical malpractice and product liability defense.

The Board of Governors also appointed Eric J. Sorenson Jr. as VBA general counsel, an ex-officio board role. He represents and advises companies and individuals in business, corporate, securities, banking and health care law with Woods Rogers PLC in Lynchburg.

For details about these individuals, please see the 2019 VBA Leadership Slate [PDF].

About the officers

Richard E. Garriott Jr., president of the VBA Board of Governors, handles family law and civil matters at Pender & Coward, PC, in Virginia Beach. A VBA member since 1997, he joined the Board of Governors in 2015. Before that, he was vice chair of the VBA Domestic Relations Section Council. He serves on the Virginia Family Law Coalition and is a Fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and Virginia Law Foundation. He earned a master’s degree from Ball State, and undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Richmond.

Alison M. McKee, president-elect of the VBA, practices in the Virginia Beach office of Kaufman & Canoles, P.C., where she focuses on banking and finance, commercial real estate and senior housing matters. An active VBA member since 1984, she was chair of the Young Lawyers Division in 1993. More recently, she co-chaired the VBA Business Law Section’s Third Party Legal Opinions Report Committee. She is a graduate of Boston College and the University of Virginia School of Law.

Richard H. Ottinger, the chair of the Board of Governors, concentrates his Norfolk practice in commercial litigation. A partner with Vandeventer Black LLP, he is co-chair of the firm’s government relations committee. He joined the VBA in 1997 and has led the Civil Litigation Section Council. In 2006, he accepted the Sandra P. Thompson Award for long-term service to the VBA Young Lawyers Division and in 2003 received Young Lawyer of the Year honors from the Virginia State Bar. A graduate of Boston University, he earned a J.D. from the William & Mary Law School.

C.J. Steuart Thomas III, immediate past president of the VBA, is a partner at TimberlakeSmith in Staunton. He focuses his practice on medical malpractice defense and civil litigation. He is a member of the Boyd-Graves Conference and a Fellow of the Virginia Law Foundation and the American College of Trial Lawyers. In 2017, he received the VTLA-VADA Civility and Professionalism Award. Since becoming a VBA member, he has served on the Civil Litigation Section Council. He joined the VBA board in 2014. He graduated from the University of Virginia and earned a J.D. from Washington and Lee University School of Law.

Continuing their service on the Board of Governors

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

  • Victor O. Cardwell, Southwest representative (Woods Rogers PLC, Roanoke),
  • David J. Gogal, Potomac representative (Blankingship & Keith, PC, Fairfax),
  • Rudene Mercer Haynes, At-Large representative (Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, Richmond),
  • Helivi L. Holland, At-Large representative (City attorney, Suffolk),
  • Rhodes B. Ritenour, At-Large representative (Bon Secours Health System, Richmond)
  • The Honorable Jennifer L. McClellan, Legislative representative (Virginia Senate, Richmond)
  • R. Braxton Hill IV, chair of the VBA Law Practice Management Division (Christian & Barton, L.L.P., Richmond),
  • The Honorable Stephen R. McCullough, Judicial representative (justice, Supreme Court of Virginia, 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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