News and Information
September 26, 2016

VSB Announces Recipient of Lewis F. Powell, Jr. Pro Bono Award

The Lewis F. Powell Jr. Pro Bono Award this year will be awarded to the Harrisonburg law firm of Hoover Penrod PLC.

Hoover Penrod, which was founded in 1935, was nominated for the award by John Whitfield, executive director of Blue Ridge Legal Services Inc., and Molly Bell, the Blue Ridge’s referral coordinator. “Hoover Penrod has--from its beginning—evidenced a deep awareness of the professional duty which lies in the words ‘for the greater good,’” Whitfield and Bell wrote. “The good works done by this firm and its members are unparalleled in the region.”

They noted that every lawyer at the firm assists with pro bono cases for Blue Ridge Legal Services. The ten lawyers have contributed more than 3,200 hours and assisted on more than 560 cases to date. They have provided more than $820,000 in value over twenty-five years. Firm lawyers also volunteer on the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Bar Association’s (HRBA) pro bono Family Law hotline.

In their nominating letter, Whitfield and Bell noted the service of several firm lawyers. Lawrence Hoover Jr. helped form what is now the Blue Ridge Legal Services in 1977. David Penrod serves as one of the HRBA team leaders for pro bono referrals and was largely responsible for organizing an attorney fund-raising campaign that has benefited Blue Ridge Legal Services for fifteen years. Grant Penrod is on the board of Blue Ridge and represented a plaintiff pro bono in a landmark payday lending case. “Not only did the outcome of this appellate case have a great impact on the legal aid client, who was awarded the return of all interest paid on the loans and received the full amount of statutory damages (more than $10,000), but it effectively declared that the payday lenders had made more than nine million illegal loans in the previous decade and established a precedent for payday lending practices that provides protection … for low-income Virginians.”

The Powell award was established by the Special Committee on Access to Legal Services of the Virginia State Bar to honor attorneys and attorney groups that have made outstanding pro bono contributions. This year’s award will be presented October 26 during the Virginia State Bar Pro Bono Conference and Celebration in Hampton.

Updated: Sep 26, 2016