News and Information
May 13, 2009

Marilynn C. Goss of Richmond Wins Tradition of Excellence Award



Judge Marilynn C. Goss of the Richmond Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court has been named the 2009 recipient of the Tradition of Excellence Award by the Virginia State Bar’s General Practice Section. The award recognizes more than a quarter century of practice representing Virginia’s indigent as an attorney for the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, before she went on the bench in 2008.

The award recognizes a lawyer who embodies the highest tradition of personal and professional excellence and who has benefitted a community and enhanced the esteem of general practice attorneys in Virginia. It will be presented by the section on June 20, 2009, at the Virginia State Bar Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach.

Goss joined the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society (CVLAS) part time in 1982 after her graduation from the University of Richmond School of Law. From 1988 until she became a judge, she “practiced what might be called ‘poverty law,’ but which is in fact a diverse general practice serving the poor in many of the same issues as other, more fortunate, clients face,” according to the nomination letter from Richmond District Judges Joi Jeter Taylor and Barbara J. Gaden.

Her cases involved wills, domestic relations, consumer issues, eviction and other landlord-tenant matters, and bankruptcy. Over the years, she “remained committed to her practice and clients while others departed for more comfortable surroundings,” according to the letter.

Goss went on to serve as managing attorney of the Legal Aid Justice Center, then returned to CVLAS as senior managing attorney.

She frequently sat as a substitute judge in general district court “because we trusted her wonderful demeanor, excellent knowledge of the law, and good judgment. As a CVLAS attorney, she also appeared frequently in our court representing clients in diverse matters, and she was a wonderful advocate and demonstrated the highest professionalism at all times,” the nomination letter stated.

In addition to her law degree, Goss has a bachelor’s degree from Marshall University. She is a native of Richmond.

She is a former president of the Old Dominion Bar Association and its Richmond chapter. She received the VSB Legal Aid Award in 2000 and in 1992 was named an Outstanding Woman of Greater Richmond by the YWCA. She also is a former member of the Virginia Bar Association Board of Governors.

Updated: May 13, 2009