News and Information
April 25, 2012

Education Section Establishes Award to Honor William R. Rakes

Rakes Award 2012

William R. Rakes, of Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore, in Roanoke, has been named the first recipient of the William R. Rakes Leadership in Education Award established by the Virginia State Bar Section on the Education of Lawyers in Virginia.

Rakes was honored for his long-standing and dedicated efforts in the field of legal education. The award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated exceptional leadership and vision in developing and implementing innovative concepts to improve and enhance the state of legal education, and in enhancing relationships and professionalism among members of the academy, the bench, and the bar within the legal profession in Virginia.

Photo, above: William R. Rakes, of Gentry Locke Rakes and Moore, addressed the 20th Anniversary Conclave on the Education of Lawyers in Virginia as he received the first William R. Rakes Leadership in Education Award. Presenting Rakes with the award were (from left, rear) G. Michael Pace Jr., of Gentry Locke, A. Benjamin Spencer, of the Washington and Lee School of Law, and W. Taylor Reveley III, president of the College of William and Mary. More than seventy lawyers, educators, and judges, including the justices of the Supreme Court of Virginia, attended the two-day event in Charlottesville.

“Bill Rakes has led the charge not just in Virginia, but in the country as a whole, to enhance legal education throughout a lawyer’s career,” said R. Taylor Reveley III, president of the College of William and Mary. “To this end, he has spurred crucial collaboration among law professors, practicing lawyers, and judges. In short, Bill has made a serious, lasting difference for the better. We are all in his debt.”

“Bill Rakes is very deserving of this award,” said Karen A. Gould, executive director of the Virginia State Bar.  “His work has had a major impact on legal education, not only in the commonwealth, but across the United States.”

The award was presented April 22, 2012, at the 20th Anniversary Conclave on the Education of Lawyers in Virginia, in Charlottesville. The event was financially assisted by the Virginia Law Foundation.

Nominations will be invited annually by the Board of Governors of the Section on the Education of Lawyers. The award will be underwritten by Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore on an ongoing basis.

Rakes has enthusiastically served the bar, the judiciary, and legal education. He has been in private practice with Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore since his admission to the bar in 1963. He served as managing partner of the firm for more than twenty years.

Rakes has served as president of the Roanoke Bar Association and of the Virginia State Bar. He developed the idea of the legal education conclave, which led to the first of its kind gathering at Wintergreen in March of 1992. That conclave became the model for conclaves that have been held in a majority of states. The American Bar Association Coordinating Committee on Legal Education, of which Rakes was a member, adopted the promotion of conclaves as a project and published a “how to” manual based primarily on the Virginia model. Rakes promoted the idea and value of legal education conclaves through presentations to the National Conference of Bar Presidents, the Conference of Chief Justices, and by attendance and keynote speeches at conclaves held in other states.

He has served on the Board of Governors and in the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association and as chair of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the bar. Rakes was a co-founder and president of the Ted Dalton American Inn of Court, and co-founded and is chairman of the Board of Directors of HomeTown Bank. He is a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, the American Bar Foundation, and the Virginia Law Foundation.

He was presented with the Frank Rogers Lifetime Achievement Award by the Roanoke Bar Association in 2010. He received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Virginia.

Updated: Oct 12, 2016