News and Information
March 13, 2008

Family Law Attorney Edward D. Barnes Recognized for Lifetime Achievement


Edward D. Barnes, a family lawyer in Chesterfield and the founding chair of the National Center for Family Law at the University of Richmond, has been named the 2008 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by the Virginia State Bar’s Family Law Section.

The award recognizes persons who have demonstrated excellence and integrity and have made a substantial contribution to the practice of family law in Virginia.  The 2008 award will be presented during the section’s annual Family Law Seminar on April 25, 2008, in Richmond.

Attorneys who nominated Barnes for the award emphasized his contributions to continuing legal education and to his alma mater, the University of Richmond School of Law. That service was recognized by the school in 2006, when it gave him its Alumni Award.

Nominations also praised his professional leadership through the VSB Family Law Section, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and the Metro Richmond Family Law Bar Association.  He also is a fellow of the London-based International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. He has been a lawyer for almost 37 years.

Barnes’s partner, Lawrence D. Diehl, singled out the formation of the National Family Law Center as a crowning achievement. Barnes developed the concept with Rodney A. Smolla, then of UR and now dean of the law school at Washington and Lee University. Barnes made a significant financial commitment to the center’s funding. He now serves as chair of its board of directors, made up of Virginia and national leaders in family law.  

“This is a mammoth undertaking with national significance reaching beyond ‘the administration of family law in the Commonwealth of Virginia,’” wrote attorney Donald K. Butler of Richmond.

The national center hosted its debut conference in September 2007. The center will conduct research, participate in development of public policy and law that affect families, and provide clinical experience to UR students and legal services on family law issues to low-income people in the Richmond area. Starting in September 2008, UR law students can opt for a certification in family law through the center.

Barnes is founder and chief executive officer of law firm Barnes & Diehl PC. He received a bachelor’s degree from East Carolina University in 1966 and a law degree from UR in 1972. He was a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 1966 to 1969.

Updated: Mar 13, 2008