News and Information
August 06, 2007

August 6, 2007: Virginia State Bar President on the Death of Oliver White Hill

Oliver White Hill epitomized the best of Virginia lawyers, Howard W. Martin Jr., president of the Virginia State Bar, said today. Hill, who died yesterday at age 100, practiced law in Richmond for 60 years. “Oliver Hill had great faith in the rule of law and dedicated his life to insuring that it applied to Americans of color,? Martin said. “He relentlessly and brilliantly faced down injustice and oppression, employing the tools of scholarship, reasoned and tempered argument, consummate civility, and sound legal strategy.

“Because of his work, America came closer to the ideal espoused in our Declaration of Independence, that all are created equal.


“He stood at the summit of attorneys who work amid hostility with unrelenting courtesy, ready humor, and refusal to succumb to anger.

Martin said that Hill worked on a national stage but remained a man of his community and the commonwealth. At the Virginia State Bar, Hill lent his name to the pro bono award given annually to an outstanding law student. “Even at the end of his life when he was in fragile health, he often attended the award ceremonies and extended his thanks to the young lawyers who seek to emulate his work,? Martin said.

“As Virginians, we are all better for the richness left by this most distinguished and dignified of souls,? Martin said.

The Virginia State Bar is the government agency that regulates the legal profession and promotes the administration of justice in the commonwealth. It is an agency of the Supreme Court of Virginia. It is supported through the licensing dues paid by all Virginia lawyers, and governed by a council of lawyers elected or appointed from every judicial circuit in Virginia.

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Updated: Jun 13, 2011