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Obituary: Leigh Middleditch Jr.

Retired Charlottesville attorney Leigh Middleditch Jr. died Oct. 4. He was 92.

Born in Detroit in 1929, Mr. Middleditch earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia College of Arts & Sciences in 1951. After serving in the U.S. Navy, Mr. Middleditch returned to UVa. and graduated from the university’s law school in 1957.

Mr. Middleditch began his legal career as an associate of James H. Michael Jr. He became a partner at Battle, Neal, Harris, Minor & Williams in 1959 and joined McGuire, Woods, Battle & Boothe (now McGuireWoods) in 1972. He retired from McGuireWoods in 2018.

Among Mr. Middleditch’s accomplishments is the cofounding of what is now the Sorenson Institute for Political Leadership at UVa. in 1993. The institute, which trains leaders in political negotiation and nonpartisan cooperation, has more than 2,000 graduates, including Gov. Ralph Northam and 27 current members of the General Assembly. Middleditch remained on the institute’s executive committee until his death.

Mr. Middleditch also worked on redistricting reform, with the goal to end gerrymandering in Virginia. Among his initiatives was OneVirginia2021: Virginians for Fair Redistricting, a group he helped launch in 2013. The group’s efforts led to a successful referendum in 2020 that established an advisory commission and new redistricting rules that sought to introduce transparency to the redistricting process.

Called “the father or parent of nonpartisan redistricting in Virginia,” by fellow McGuireWoods partner Charles “Skip” Fox, Mr. Middleditch maintained an office in Richmond after retirement in order to focus on redistricting reform and other projects.

Throughout his career, Mr. Middleditch often gave back to UVa., serving as the university’s legal advisor and special counsel from 1968-1972 and as president of the Law School Alumni Association in the 1970s. Mr. Middleditch also taught in UVa.’s business school for more than three decades and at UVa.’s law school for two decades. In 2001, Mr. Middleditch helped start the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UVa.

Mr. Middleditch served on the boards of both the American Bar Association and the Virginia State Bar. From 1979-1980, he served a term as president of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Bar Association.

Mr. Middleditch is survived by his wife, Betty; his children, Katherine, Leigh and Andrew; and six grandchildren.