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Justice Mims Receives VBA Walker Award of Merit

Thursday, July 25, 2019   (0 Comments)
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The Virginia Bar Association recognized a long span of accomplishments by Justice William C. Mims with the association’s Walker Award of Merit. The high honor for exceptional leadership within the bar was presented at a banquet during the VBA’s 129th Summer Meeting in Hot Springs, Virginia, July 19.

Justice William C. Mims gives remarks upon receiving the Walker Award of Merit“Mims is one of the few Virginians ever to serve in the House of Delegates, the Senate of Virginia, as Attorney General of Virginia and on the Supreme Court of Virginia,” Benjamin Leigh, a VBA board member and former law partner of Mims, said in introducing the honoree. Mims also chaired the Virginia Code Commission and Virginia Housing Commission and spearheaded energy regulation reform and mental health reform in the legislature.

The justice joined the VBA in 2001 and has long been a supporter of its initiatives. He has served on its Committee on Special Issues of National & State Importance think tank since 2010, and has promoted the statewide Legal Food Frenzy, a friendly competition among legal offices to raise funds to stock food banks. The Frenzy concept has since been adopted by several other states.

The justice also has backed projects that enhance wellness in the legal community, including as a presenter on the topic in an educational session during the Summer Meeting.

Wellness issues long have been embraced by the VBA, which worked to launch the Lawyers Helping Lawyers program. The justice recently was instrumental in working with the legislature and Governor’s Office to secure sustainable funds and rebrand Lawyers Helping Lawyers to the Virginia Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program.

“Bill, your example allows us to strike down stigma, embrace difficult discussions and redouble our efforts to look after those in need and often hardest to reach,” Leigh said.

“I am grateful for this honor,” Mims said. “My experience in the VBA has been one of the highlights of my career. Beginning with service on the Boyd-Graves Conference and continuing by working with the Young Lawyers Division as the Legal Food Frenzy was instituted, I enjoyed being a part of this organization.

“But it was during my term on the Board of Governors that I truly realized the extraordinary work of the VBA.” Mims mentioned several VBA presidents and other giants in the profession in Virginia. “They taught me much, and my respect for them is great.”

About the award

The Walker Award of Merit is named for the late John L. Walker and the late John L. Walker Jr., longtime partners in the firm now known as Woods Rogers. Both also were VBA presidents, as was their son and grandson, John L. Walker III, said VBA President Richard E. Garriott Jr., who joined Leigh in bestowing the honor.

The previous 17 recipients include E. Tazewell Ellett, David Craig Landin, Allen C. Goolsby and Thomas E. Spahn. The VBA presented its first Walker Award of Merit in 1990.

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