News and Information
June 04, 2012

Dunnaville to Receive First Diversity Conference Award

Clarence M. Dunnaville Jr. will receive the first Virginia State Bar Diversity Conference’s Achievement Award at the Virginia State Bar’s annual meeting on June 15 in Virginia Beach.  Dunnaville is being honored for setting an example of excellence that members of the Conference can emulate to meet its mission and goals by fostering, encouraging, and facilitating diversity and inclusion in the bar, the judiciary, and the legal profession.  In further honor of Dunnaville, the award will be named after him.

Dunnaville, a Richmond lawyer, has devoted his life to civil rights. He participated in demonstrations in the 1950s, volunteered with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law as a civil rights attorney in Mississippi in the 1960s, and served as the New York Executive Director of the Interracial Council for Business Opportunity, which was involved in creating minority group entrepreneurs in the 1970s.

In the early 1980s he co-founded Workshops in Business Opportunities to assist minority entrepreneurs gain business skills.  Throughout the 1980s he continued to work with minority group entrepreneurs.  In 1990, he returned to his home state of Virginia and continued to be an advocate for justice.  He joined the small law firm of Oliver W. Hill who was one of the trial lawyers in Brown v. Board of Education and engaged in numerous activities to promote access to justice and equality of opportunity.

“Clarence really is an inspiration to us all,” said Manuel A. Capsalis, a former president of the bar and past chair of the Diversity Conference. “He has and continues to work tirelessly for civil rights and to assure that all of our citizens have equal access to justice. He has always led by example.”

Dunnaville is a founding member of the Oliver White Hill Foundation which has purchased and restored Hill’s boyhood home. Upon completion of the restoration, Dunnaville formed a coalition of a law school and legal practitioners who work out of the restored home to provide legal services to the poor.

The Virginia State Bar awarded the 2009 Lewis F. Powell Jr. Pro Bono Award to Dunnaville for his work on behalf of disenfranchised individuals. This award followed the 2007 Segal-Tweed Founders Award by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law for outstanding leadership and service in the cause of equal justice.

He continues to devote a substantial amount of his time to projects relating to access to justice by the poor and on diversity causes. He is on the Board of Governors of the Virginia State Bar Diversity Conference, and as Michael HuYoung, the Chair of the Conference, acknowledges, “Clarence may be the oldest member on the Board, but he is by far the most active putting the rest of us to shame.”

Dunnaville received a bachelor’s degree from Morgan State University and a law degree from St. John’s University.

Updated: Jun 04, 2012