A long-serving attorney who has given thousands of hours to pro bono clients is this year’s recipient of the Virginia State Bar’s Lewis F. Powell Jr. Pro Bono Award.
Richmond attorney Lonnie “Chip” D. Nunley III will accept the award from the bar’s Standing Committee on Access to Legal Services at the Virginia Pro Bono Conference later this month.
“I am deeply honored to receive this award, especially given that it is named for Justice Powell, who did so much to improve access to justice for low-income people,” Nunley said in a statement to Virginia Lawyers Weekly. “I am doubly honored to be included among the previous winners of this award, many of whom have been my role models and mentors, and I appreciate the unending support that Hunton Andrews Kurth has provided me for pro bono during my 37 years at the firm.”
Nunley has been the partner in charge of Hunton Andrews Kurth’s George H. Hettrick Church Hill pro bono office since 2015 and is a longtime member of the firm’s pro bono committee. Under his leadership, he has led more than 60,000 pro bono hours dedicated by Richmond attorneys and has personally given more than 5,000 pro bono hours in the last decade.
Throughout his career, Nunley has worked towards efforts to improve access to justice for Virginians. He is a member of the Virginia Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission and formerly chaired the VSB Standing Committee on Access to Legal Services. He is also a past president and current member of the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society’s Board of Directors.
Nunley has earned accolades throughout his career for his pro bono service. He received the Richmond Bar Association’s Pro Bono Publico Award in 1990 in recognition of his work on the bar’s model pro bono housing and domestic law program, and the Greater Richmond Bar Foundation further recognized him with the George Hettrick Award to honor his work representing tenants in a Northside apartment complex in Richmond.
In 2020, Nunley was again honored by the Richmond Bar Association with the John C. Kenny Pro Bono Award for outstanding achievements in pro bono service. That same year, Virginia Lawyers Weekly named Nunley as a member of the Virginia Lawyers Hall of Fame.
Nunley has been with Hunton Andrews Kurth for more than 35 years, where he represents clients dealing with complex civil litigation and regulatory matters. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law.
Nunley recognized legal aid lawyers as the profession’s “true heroes” and urged attorneys to get involved with pro bono work.
“I would urge all lawyers to find time in their busy schedules to do pro bono work (remember Rule of Professional Conduct 1.6). As I have learned, no matter how much pro bono work you do, you always get more out of pro bono than it gets out of you,” he told Virginia Lawyers Weekly.
First awarded in 1991, the Lewis F. Powell Jr. Pro Bono Award honors attorneys and attorney groups who have made outstanding pro bono contributions. Nunley received the award following community nomination backed by hundreds of annual pro bono hours, according to the VSB.