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Henry W. McLaughlin

Henry W. McLaughlin


Commitment to representing legal aid clients


Central Virginia Legal Aid Society
101 West Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23220
(804) 200-6048

E-mail address

BA, Princeton University
LL.B, University of Virginia

Who was your most important mentor and how did he/she impact your career?

Alma Marie Barlow, executive president of the Richmond Tenants Organization. She taught me that differences are important and should be respected, but that those things that bring us together are more important. She changed the way I’ve interacted with clients.

What do you consider your biggest personal accomplishment and why?

Work at legal aid for 31 years. The War on Poverty is a tragedy, but legal aid is positioned at an optimistic part of that; those of us who are privileged to be legal aid lawyers can make a difference for our individual clients.

What is the best bit of advice you ever received?

My professor on corporations at University of Virginia Law School (a course in which I got the equivalent of a D) said in class one day that he never used a form in all of his law practice. I still find that hard to believe, but it taught me not to be bound to forms.

How do you achieve a balance between your professional life and your personal life?

I have an incredible wife.

If you hadn’t become a lawyer, what field would you have entered?


What is your favorite book or movie and why?

War and Peace by Tolstoy. His breadth of description of the human condition is awesome.

What are two facts about you that most people, including your closest friends, may not know?

(1) Because my eyes don’t coordinate completely, when I was a junior in high school, an optometrist predicted I wouldn’t be able to complete college.

(2) In 1963 I was arrested for kidnapping. I was a reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch and got too close to the story. The presumed victim, a young girl, had run away from home and pretended to be a victim of kidnapping. When the police saw no kidnappers except my cousin and me, they arrested us, took us off in handcuffs and released us five minutes later.