News and Information
April 02, 2007

Lewis F. Powell Pro Bono Award Goes to Richmond Lawyer and U.Va. Program


John M. Oakey Jr., a lawyer who has dedicated himself to pro bono work in retirement, and volunteer lawyers with the University of Virginia Law School’s Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center have been named 2007 recipients of the Lewis F. Powell Pro Bono Award by the Virginia State Bar’s Committee on Access to Legal Services.

Since Oakey’s retirement from McGuireWoods LLP, he has taken up many legal projects as a volunteer. His pro bono work has included representation of clients through the Richmond Legal Aid Housing Program; prosecuting child support cases in Richmond; representing domestic violence victims in the Richmond area; and handling court appointments in cases involving family law, insurance coverage, excess judgments and personal injury, where needy clients did not qualify for pro bono help from legal aid.

Oakey serves in the leadership of the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, the Legal Aid Justice Center and the Greater Richmond Bar Foundation. He participates in the Greater Richmond Bar Foundation’s Pro Bono Clearinghouse, which helps nonprofit corporations. And he has mentored other McGuireWoods lawyers involved in pro bono work.

Oakey was nominated for the Powell Award by W. Reilly Marchant of the Richmond Bar Association and Scott C. Oostdyk of McGuireWoods.

The nomination of the Caplin Center’s volunteer attorneys for the Powell Award was endorsed by George H. Hettrick of Hunton & Williams. Hettrick works with a program that gives U.Va. students an early introduction to public interest law by helping domestic violence victims and immigrants seeking asylum.

In his letter, Hettrick wrote: “The high level of institutional resources and support from the U.Va. Law School for pro bono and public service programs in unmatched in Virginia’s legal education."

The Powell Award, named for a former associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, recognizes dedication to pro bono legal work in Virginia. It will be presented during the VSB’s Pro Bono Conference May 17–18 at the University of Richmond.

The Virginia State Bar is a 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 it is governed by a council of lawyers elected or appointed from every judicial circuit in Virginia.

Updated: Dec 10, 2010