Virginia Lawyers Weekly//September 10, 2019
Virginia Lawyers Weekly//September 10, 2019//
Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons next month will receive the 2019 American Inns of Court Lewis F. Powell Jr. Award for Professionalism and Ethics.
Lemons, Virginia’s 26th chief justice, served two terms as president of the American Inns of Court from 2010 to 2014. He was president of the John Marshall Inn from 2002 to 2004 and a Master of the Bench there and at the Lewis F. Powell Jr. Inn, both in Richmond.
American Inns of Court president William C. Koch Jr. will present the Powell award Oct. 26 during the American Inns of Court’s annual Celebration of Excellence at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington. Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch will host the celebration.
“Even as he has risen to lead the oldest supreme court in the United States, he has retained the values of a country lawyer,” said Kannon K. Shanmugam, a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP in Washington, who was among those nominating Lemons. “He is a role model in how a judge should conduct himself from the bench. He treats everyone he encounters with respect,” Shanmugam said in a news release.
Lemons has been the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia since 2015 where he presides over the court and also serves as the chief administrative officer managing Virginia’s judicial system.
Lemons is the 2018 recipient of the Virginia Bar Association’s Gerald L. Baliles Distinguished Service Award. Since 2007, he has been a distinguished professor of judicial studies at Washington & Lee University law school, where he teaches a course on appellate advocacy. He served on the board of directors of the Conference of Chief Justices.
Before becoming chief justice, Lemons served as a justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, having been elected by the General Assembly in 2000. He was previously a judge of the Court of Appeals of Virginia and a Richmond circuit judge, where he was a pioneer in the drug court movement. He was in private practice in Richmond before election to the bench in 1995.
Lemons received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia in 1970 and his law degree from U.Va. in 1976.
The American Inns of Court, headquartered in Alexandria, aims to advance the rule of law by encouraging a high level of professionalism through example, education, and mentoring. The organization’s membership includes more than 31,000 federal, state, and local judges; lawyers; law professors; and law students in nearly 380 chapters nationwide.