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Marra Named Legal Aid Award Winner

Christine E. Marra, a family and housing law attorney with the Virginia Poverty Law Center in Richmond, will receive the 2014 Virginia Legal Aid Award from the Virginia State Bar’s Access to Legal Services Committee.

The award recognizes lawyers employed by legal aid societies licensed by the VSB. Recipients are chosen for their advocacy, quality of service, and impact beyond their service area.

Marra began her legal career working with a legal aid program in the coalfields of Southwest Virginia. She was hired by the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society in Richmond, where she worked for thirteen years as a family and housing law attorney for the urban poor. In 2004 she joined the Virginia Poverty Law Center, which provides legal aid training and public policy advocacy.

In nominating Marra, John E. Whitfield, executive director of Blue Ridge Legal Services Inc., said that Marra has done outstanding work leading the legal aid community’s advocacy in the areas of family law, children’s rights, and housing issues.

State Sen. George L. Barker wrote: “For twenty-two years, (Marra) has worked to provide legal assistance to those who most need it and can least afford it.… I turn to her for counsel on issues related to poverty, housing discrimination, and access to education.”

A nominating letter signed by seven members of the Virginia Poverty Law Center noted that Marra “has provided direct representation and legislative and regulatory advocacy on issues such as foster care, adoption, domestic violence, divorce, child support, public benefits and low-income housing. Her vigilance and persistence have led to reforms that make a measurable difference in the lives of Virginians who face hard times.”

Marra graduated from the University of Virginia in 1988 and earned her law degree from the University of Richmond in 1991.

The award will be presented during the VSB’s Annual Meeting June 13 in Virginia Beach.

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