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E. Tazewell Ellett Is Latest Walker Award of Merit Recipient

Friday, February 22, 2019   (0 Comments)
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The Virginia Bar Association honored E. Tazewell Ellett with the Walker Award of Merit in appreciation and recognition of his exceptional leadership within the bar.

William Van Buren III introduces the Walker Award of Merit recipientThe VBA’s president in 2004, Ellett also served as the founder and first chair of the VBA Transportation Law Section, the chair of the VBA Membership Committee and a leader in the VBA’s Young Lawyers Section (now the Young Lawyers Division). Additionally, he served as the VBA’s delegate to the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates for nine years and organized the Annual Past Presidents Dinner, “an event which continues to bind many of us to the association and reinforces its mission among some of its most steadfast supporters,” said William R. Van Buren III, another past president, who introduced Ellett at the VBA’s 129th Annual Meeting.

William Van Buren (left) congratulates E. Tazewell Ellett at the 129th Annual Meeting of the VBA in 2019“As I reflect on why we all choose to be members of the VBA, … for me, it is even more about the opportunity to work with and come to know fellow professionals whom we admire and respect, with the faint hope that maybe, just maybe, we’ll emerge from that experience a better version of ourselves,” Van Buren said. “For so many of us, Ted Ellett has had just that measure of influence.”

Van Buren recounted that Ellett’s great-grandfather, Francis H. McGuire, was involved in the founding of the VBA. He said that Ellett’s engagement in the VBA as a young lawyer was the spark for Ellett’s lifelong commitment to public service projects and Bar work.

E. Tazewell Ellett addresses the banquet crowd upon receiving the Walker Award of MeritIn accepting the honor, Ellett said, “I always have felt that when we become lawyers we make a solemn pledge to step back and set aside our own selfish interests in favor of serving the interests of others. … Tonight, I want to endorse another avenue [of such service to others] — one that I have found to be remarkably effective in preparing and enabling us to serve others as practicing lawyers, officers of the court, and citizen-lawyers, while at the same time providing us immense personal and professional satisfaction. And that avenue is service to the organized bar. There is no better example of this than in The Virginia Bar Association.  

“Whether our individual passion is serving our clients better through the improvement of our substantive law knowledge and practice skills, engaging in pro bono publico legal work to help those in need, improving the law and the administration of justice, serving on the boards of charitable organizations, or serving in elective office, the VBA has something valuable to provide to each of us — and each of us has something valuable to provide to the VBA.

“My professional life has been greatly enriched by my participation in the activities of this association,” Ellett added. He accepted the award “with two important understandings: first, there are many other Virginia lawyers who are equally deserving. … I accept this award on their behalf; and second, rather than my receiving an award and recognition for any contributions I may have made in this association, instead I should be thanking each and every one of you … for the honor and privilege … of serving alongside of you in The Virginia Bar Association.”

Previous recipients of the Walker Award of Merit include David Craig Landin, Betty A. Thompson, Hugh M. Fain III, W. David Harless and Thomas E. Spahn. It is named for the late John L. Walker and the late John L. Walker Jr., both of whom were longtime partners in the firm now known as Woods Rogers. Both men served as presidents of the VBA, as has their grandson and son John L. Walker III, an attorney with Williams Mullen.

Find information on the other VBA and Young Lawyers Division award recipients at the VBA Annual Meeting in News items on the VBA home page.


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