News and Information
March 13, 2023

Ilona Grenadier Receives the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award

Ilona Ely Grenadier, founder of Grenadier, Duffett, Levi, Winkler & Rubin, P.C. in Alexandria, has received the Virginia State Bar Family Law Section’s highest accolade, the Betty Ann Thompson Lifetime Achievement Award, established to “recognize and honor an individual who has made a substantial contribution to the practice and administration of family law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

A 1967 graduate of the George Washington University School of Law (cum laude, Order of the Coif), Grenadier has been a trailblazer for women in the practice of law in the Commonwealth. One of the earliest women to found a law firm in Virginia, Grenadier has over 54 years of experience in family law and is responsible for drafting family law legislation that still stands today, often working together with her good friend and occasional legal adversary Betty Ann Thompson, for whom the award is named.

Listed in the Best Lawyers in America since its inception, Grenadier was nominated by Leslie Weber Hoffman of the Family Law and Mediation Center, PLC, who wrote, “Ilona was not a member of the ‘club’ by gender at birth, and she seemed to compensate by being more prepared, more determined, and more direct in her interactions with others so as to mark her spot as an attorney dedicated to gaining all that she could for her clients… Ilona set the stage for many of us who followed in her footsteps.”

Julie Curran Gerock and Katharine Maddox of Maddox & Gerock, P.C. in Falls Church seconded the nomination, writing: “Ilona is dedicated to her clients and to the families of Virginia, as well as to her profession; rich or poor, right or wrong, she stands by them with integrity and competence. She knows and understands the lines in the sand and does not cross them in her zealous efforts to represent her clients, who stem from all walks of life.”

Susan M. Butler of ShounBach in Fairfax also supported the nomination, noting: “When she began practice, we did not even have an equitable distribution statute. Divorce deals were done much more informally, often to the detriment of women clients. Ilona has never been cowed by anyone and ruffled many feathers with her insistence that deals be done after full disclosure of assets and liabilities.”

Butler also praised Grenadier’s integrity and ethical standards, writing: “If you have a handshake deal with Ilona, you have a deal.”

Grenadier is a member of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the International Academy of Family Lawyers, and the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, among others. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1962 before attending law school.

The Betty A. Thompson Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Ilona Grenadire at the 39th Annual Advanced Family Law Seminar on April 13 at The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond.

Updated: Mar 13, 2023