May 23, 2013
Darrel Tillar Mason Honored for Commitment to Civil Rights and Equal Opportunity
Darrel Tillar Mason will receive the Virginia State Bar Diversity Conference’s Clarence M. Dunnaville Jr. Achievement Award at the Virginia State Bar’s annual meeting on June 14 in Virginia Beach. Mason is being honored for fostering, encouraging, and facilitating diversity and inclusion in the bar, the judiciary, and the legal profession.
Mason, of Manakin Sabot, “Has been a champion of civil rights and equal opportunity her entire forty year professional career,” attorney Marni E. Byrum wrote in nominating her for the award. “Darrel has been a stalwart soldier in the trenches of fighting for equal rights in employment and education as well as a leader in advancing the legislative changes to protect those rights. Darrel is a credit to the legal profession and deserving of recognition by the Diversity Conference.”
In 1973, after receiving her master’s degree from Virginia Tech, Mason wrote the school’s first affirmative action plan. After receiving her law degree from the University of Virginia in 1981, Mason represented plaintiffs in a number of civil rights cases and in the 1990s began representing children with disabilities and their families.
In 2000 Mason founded the Center for Special Education Advocacy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving families of disabled children experiencing challenges in securing an appropriate education. She was appointed to the Virginia Office of Protection and Advocacy in 2010 and became chair in 2012. She is also the president of the Virginia Disability Law and Advocacy Fund which supports the work of VOPA.
In addition to her work as an advocate for disabled children, Mason has given uncounted hours of service to the legal profession in Virginia. She served on the VSB Council from 1990-96 and was reappointed in 2009 and again 2012 by the Supreme Court of Virginia. She has been a member of the Virginia Women Attorneys Association since it was founded in 1981 and has served as treasurer and president as well as editor of VWAA’s legal journal. Mason formerly served as vice president of the State Board of Education and chaired the state’s Council on the Status of Women, both gubernatorial appointments.
She has served on the VSB’s Special Committee on Lawyer Financial Responsibility, the Standing Committee on Legal Ethics, the Fee Dispute Resolution Committee, the Special Committee on Lawyer Malpractice Insurance, the board of the Senior Lawyer’s Conference, the Better Annual Meeting Committee, and the Nominations Committee.Updated: May 23, 2013