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The Virginia Bar Association renames award for Governor Gerald Baliles; First recipient will be Justice Elizabeth B. Lacy

The Virginia Bar Association has announced that it will change the name of its Distinguished Service Award, given by the Association “in recognition and appreciation of exceptional service and contributions to the bar and public at large,” to the Gerald L. Baliles Distinguished Service Award. The first recipient of the renamed award will be Supreme Court of Virginia Senior Justice Elizabeth B. Lacy. Governor Baliles and Justice Lacy will both be honored at the Association’s annual meeting in Williamsburg on January 18.

Included among previous recipients of the award are former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F.Powell, Jr., former U.S. Senator William B. Spong, Jr., former Virginia Chief Justice Harry L. Carrico and Baliles himself, who received the award in 2001.

“The renaming of the award for Governor Baliles and its presentation to Justice Lacy are entirely fitting,” said VBA President Glenn C. Lewis of Fairfax. “They have been not only two of the most outstanding public servants in Virginia of this generation; for many years they also have been consistently and visibly dedicated to the mission and programs of The Virginia Bar Association.” A member of the VBA for 40 years, Baliles served as the first chair of the Association’s Committee on Special Issues of National and State Importance, a blue-ribbon, multi-disciplinary panel responsible for bringing to the attention of
members of the bar and the public cutting-edge national and international developments that shape critical future legal and policy issues. More recently he forged a partnership between The Virginia Bar Association and the Virginia Historical Society to educate lawyers on the impact of Virginia’s rich history on its current legal and political climate. He is currently a member of the VBA’s Commission on Professionalism.

Baliles, now director of the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, was elected in 1985 to serve as the 65th Governor of Virginia. His tenure as governor capped a career in public service that included serving as the attorney general of Virginia (1982-85) and a member of the Virginia House of Delegates (1976-82). After leaving public office, he entered private law practice as a partner in the firm of Hunton & Williams in Richmond.

Lacy, a former member of the board of governors of the VBA, in 1985 became the first woman to serve as a judge of the Virginia State Corporation Commission. In 1989 she became the first woman to serve on the bench of the Supreme Court of Virginia. She was appointed to the latter position by Baliles during his term as governor and was in both cases subsequently elected to the
positions by the Virginia General Assembly. She served as a deputy to Baliles  when he was attorney general and had previously worked in the office of the attorney general of Texas and for the Texas Legislative Council.

Baliles serves on the corporate boards of Norfolk Southern Corporation and Shenandoah Life insurance Corporation and has served on the boards of the Greater Richmond World Affairs Council, the Greater Richmond Transportation Advocacy Board and the Richmond Symphony Council. He chaired the Commission to Ensure a Strong Competitive Airline Industry for the President and Congress and served as the editor of CCH Issues in Aviation Law and Policy. He has also served as chair of PBS and throughout most of his professional life has been at the forefront of activities related to preserving the Chesapeake Bay. Always a champion of education, he founded the Patrick County Educational Foundation and served as chairman of the Commission on
the Academic Presidency and for the Task Force on the State of the Presidency in Higher Education, for the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges.

In addition to 10 honorary degrees, Baliles holds a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and a J.D. from the University of Virginia Law School. He became the Miller Center’s fifth director in April 2006. Founded in 1975, the Miller Center is a nonpartisan public policy institution devoted to studying, examining and sharing information about American government and the presidency and promoting discourse and bipartisan consensus in issues of national and international policy.

Governor Baliles and his wife Robin reside in Charlottesville.

Lacy retired from active status on the Supreme Court of Virginia earlier this year. She is now a member of The McCammon Group, a provider of dispute resolution services based in Richmond. She is a graduate of Saint Mary’s College and the
University of Texas Law School and also holds a LL.M. from the University of Virginia School of Law. She was an adjunct professor of law at the University of Richmond from 1995-2003, holds numerous honorary degrees and is the
recipient of many awards, including the Robert R. Merhige, Jr. Outstanding Achievement Award from the John Marshall American Inn of Court and the William Green Award from the University of Richmond School of Law. In addition to extensive teaching, lecturing and presenting on a variety of legal and law-related subjects, Lacy has chaired many educational policy bodies within the bar and the judiciary, including the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and the Advisory Board, Central and Far Eastern European Law Initiative, of the American Bar Association and the Advisory Committee for the Masters in Law in the Judicial Process program at the University of Virginia. While on the Supreme Court, she chaired a task force on
gender bias in the courts and a committee on unrepresented litigants in Virginia courts.

Justice Lacy, a Richmond resident, is married to D. Patrick Lacy, Jr. They have four children and two grandchildren.

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