June 28, 2011
George Warren Shanks of Luray Is New Virginia State Bar President
George Warren Shanks of Luray is the new president of the Virginia State Bar – the state agency that regulates Virginia’s 45,000 lawyers. He was sworn in on June 17, during the VSB Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach.
He plans to focus on encouraging mentorship of young lawyers as he travels throughout Virginia. “Every young lawyer needs a mentor,” he said. Attorneys graduate with a good education, but they need help developing their counseling skills — what he calls “the art of the possible — not just what can happen, but what is likely to happen.” They also need help learning practice management — finishing each month with money for the staff, the light bulbs, and the cleaning supplies, he said.
Shanks, who is with the law firm Miller, Earle & Shanks PLLC, began a practice in Luray thirty-four years ago after working as a legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Harry F. Byrd Jr. After helping the senator through the Watergate hearings, the resignation of a president and vice president, and the creation of the Shenandoah Wilderness Area — which Shanks now lives on the edge of — he decided a country practice was what he wanted.
“One of the things I wanted to do is get out of the office, experience the cases that came to me. If a client had a boundary line dispute, I wanted to get out and walk the boundary line,” he said. He added that he didn’t mind that there would be “a lot more Plymouths in your life than Porsches.”
A native of Wilmington, Delaware, Shanks earned an undergraduate degree from Indiana University and a law degree from Temple University. He began his legal career in Winchester before he joined Byrd’s staff in 1972.In 1986, Shanks created the award-winning Law-Related Education Project of the Page County Bar Association, which sponsors a field trip to the U.S. Supreme Court. He was named a Local Bar Leader of the Year by the VSB in 2000, and he has been an active volunteer at the agency for many years. He also is on the board of directors of Blue Ridge Legal Services.
Shanks and his wife, Janice D. Butler, have between them nine children and 11 grandchildren. They reside in Warren County.
Updated: Jun 29, 2011