Helped develop externship for Washington and Lee law students, and “The Law Rules” program for Roanoke Valley middle-schoolers
Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore LLP
10 Franklin Road, SE
Roanoke, VA 24011
BA, Hampden-Sydney College
JD, Washington and Lee University
Who was your most important mentor and how did that mentor impact your career?
My mother and father taught me the value of education, and that hard work doing good things for the right reasons can make the world a better place. My professors at Hampden-Sydney College taught me the value of being a good man and good citizen. Washington and Lee Law School taught me that being a lawyer isn’t only about providing legal services to clients, it is the practice of service to others. My partners at Gentry Locke have taught me so much, which can only be repaid by doing the same for younger lawyers.
What do you consider your biggest personal accomplishment and why?
Marrying way above myself
What is the best bit of advice you ever received?
My father, who sells machines, said of me becoming a lawyer, “If they (clients) don’t like
you, they won’t ask you to do their work,” and “if you don’t meet them where they do their work, you won’t get it.” Very good advice. It is all about relationships.
How do you achieve a balance between your professional life and your personal life?
Balance is something to strive for. Attaining it is a challenge, so priorities matter. My family comes first. I enjoy being a lawyer, serving clients and being managing partner of the firm. Staying actively involved in community, civic and bar-related efforts is also very important to me. In my spare time, I like to fish, hunt birds, paint and play golf Staying busy is easy, getting things done is hard.
If you hadn’t become a lawyer, what field would you have entered?
Probably teaching. The VBA Rule of Law Project has confirmed my interest in interacting with students. Lawyers as teachers can have an amazingly positive impact on young people. That excites me, and the VBA Rule of Law Project gives me the opportunity, along with other volunteer lawyers and judges, to make a difference.
What is your favorite book or movie and why?
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Atticus, to me, is the paradigm citizen, gentleman, father and lawyer. The book continues to teach me lessons I need to know.
What are two facts about you that most people, including your closest friends, may not know?
I am shy; too shy, in fact, to tell you the second one.