Virginia State Bar

An agency of the Supreme Court of Virginia

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Education of Lawyers

A Section of the Virginia State Bar.

William R. Rakes Leadership in Education Award

The Section on the Education of Lawyers in Virginia has established an award to honor William R. Rakes of Gentry Locke for his longstanding and dedicated efforts in the field of legal education, both in Virginia and nationally. The inaugural award was presented to Mr. Rakes in conjunction with the 20th Anniversary Conclave on the Education of Lawyers in Virginia sponsored by the Virginia State Bar’s Section on the Education of Lawyers in April 2012.


The award recognizes a lawyer in good standing in Virginia from the bench, the practicing bar or the academy who has:

(1) 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; and 

(2) made a significant contribution (a) to improving legal education in Virginia, both in law school and throughout a lawyer’s career; and (b) to enhancing communication, cooperation and meaningful collaboration among the three constituencies of the legal profession. 

Nomination Process

Nomination Form (pdf)

Nominations will be invited annually by the Section on the Education of Lawyers. A selection committee appointed by the section’s board of governors will meet annually to discuss possible nominations. The selection committee will include five members: at least three members of the Section on the Education of Lawyers, with one each from the bench, the practicing bar and the academy, including the chair of the section; and, at least one former award winner. The award may only be made from time to time at the discretion of the selection committee.

When a nominee is selected, the award will be presented at a special event to include a reception for the honoree and his/her family, friends and colleagues; past award recipients; and special guests. Gentry Locke will continue to underwrite the award and the special event to honor award recipients on an ongoing basis.

Please submit the nomination form above, together with a nomination letter describing specifically the manner in which your nominee meets the criteria established for the award. Nominations should be addressed to David H. Spratt, section chair, and submitted to the Virginia State Bar. Nominations for 2023 are due by December 2, 2022.

For questions about the nomination process, please contact the Mallory Ralston, liaison to the section, Virginia State Bar: or (804) 775-0514.

2022 Recipient – A. Benjamin Spencer - June 17, 2022
2020 Recipient – Jeannie P. Dahnk - June 16, 2021
2019 Recipient – Thomas A. Edmonds - June 14, 2019
2018 Recipient – Stephen A. Isaacs - June 15, 2018
2017 Recipient – James E. Moliterno - June 2017
2016 Recipient – Hon. Donald W. Lemons - June 17, 2016
2015 Recipient – Retired Magistrate Judge B. Waugh Crigler - June 18, 2015
2014 Recipient – Hon. Elizabeth B. Lacy - June 12, 2014
2013 Recipient – W. Taylor Reveley III – June 13, 2013
2012 Inaugural Recipient – William R. Rakes - April 22, 2012