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Nea recognized with pro bono award

G. Andrew Nea Jr., pro bono partner at Williams Mullen in Richmond, has been named the 2018 recipient of the Virginia State Bar’s Lewis F. Powell Jr. Pro Bono Award.

Nea created the pro bono committee at Williams Mullen and has single-handedly crafted policies that institutionalize pro bono service there, according to a VSB announcement. Technically retired for a number of years, Nea receives no salary from the firm but devotes nearly full-time hours to pro bono service.

“Pro bono at Williams Mullen begins and ends with Andy Nea,” said firm partner Benjamin Pace.

In 2017, Nea organized and attended 29 wills clinics, serving 531 clients, Pace estimated. More than 150 attorneys and 79 law students participated. So far in 2018, Nea has organized and attended 16 wills clinics, serving 335 clients.

His focus on seniors’ issues brought an endorsement from Thelma Bland Watson, the executive director of Senior Connections, who estimates the value of Nea’s pro bono services at more than $800,000. Through Nea’s Senior Law Day program, more than 450 low income seniors a year receive assistance with the provision of wills, powers of attorney and advance health care directives. “This is priceless,” Watson said.

Beth Browning, Client Services Attorney for CancerLINC, which makes volunteer legal services available to cancer patients, praised Nea for his help creating and participating in their life planning workshops. Nea trains other lawyers for the workshops and takes on individual cases himself. “Andy works tirelessly to help people get the legal documents they need,” she said. “And he’s able to answer questions and explain the process more clearly and thoroughly than anyone I know. Anyone who works with him or his team is guaranteed a wonderful experience.”

“His level of professionalism is above reproach and his generosity most certainly comes from the heart,” says Karen Stanley, the CEO of CARITAS, where Nea also offers free wills clinics. Nea “gives of his time freely and without judgment to an underserved community.”

Nea also serves as a de facto “general counsel” to a number of local nonprofits, like Boy Scouts, Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity and Homeward.

“It has been my great honor to learn pro bono from Andy,” Pace said. “And he sets a sterling example for all Virginia attorneys in terms of pro bono and community involvement.”

The Powell Award was established by the VSB’s Special Committee on Access to Legal Services to honor attorneys and attorney groups that have made outstanding pro bono contributions. This year’s award will be presented Oct. 17 during the Virginia State Bar Pro Bono Conference and Celebration in Norfolk.