Virginia State Bar

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General Practice

A Section of the Virginia State Bar.

Section News and Information

June 3, 2019

John Randolph Nelson Receives Tradition of Excellence Award

Lynchburg lawyer John Randolph “Randy” Nelson has been awarded the General Practice Section’s Tradition of Excellence Award. The award recognizes a Virginia lawyer who “embodies the highest tradition of personal and professional excellence in Virginia, enhances the image and esteem of attorneys in the commonwealth, and has devoted significant amounts of time, efforts, and/or funds to activities that benefit their community.”

In his nomination, David Neumeyer, executive director of the Virginia Legal Aid Society, noted that Nelson “truly embodies the award’s promotion of personal and professional excellence.” 

Debby Hudgins, Virginia Legal Aid Society pro bono coordinator, stated that Nelson was one of the original lawyers to volunteer when the VLAS was founded in 1991, and that he has closed over 30 cases for them. Says Hudgins, “Randy has made house calls for clients that were home-bound and defended a VLAS client in a jury trial that took more than fifty hours.”

In addition to his private law practice in Lynchburg and his volunteer efforts for the VLAS, Nelson has donated his time to the Lynchburg Lifesaving Crew, the Lynchburg Historical Foundation, Interfaith Outreach, and the Lynchburg Community Loan Fund. 

His leadership roles include positions at the Virginia State Bar, the Lynchburg Bar Association, and on the Lynchburg City Council. Lynchburg Vice Mayor MaryJane Tousignant Dolan states that Randy “presents with the utmost sense of integrity, honor, civility, and well researched and thought out reasoning when stating his case as pertains to challenges on issues facing the city.”

Nelson also served for 28 years as a special justice in the 24th Judicial Circuit. A graduate of Randolph Macon College and the University of Richmond Law School, Nelson once served as a police officer in Virginia Beach as part of the Law Student-Police Program. 

Nelson is married to Karen Nelson, a Lynchburg elementary school principal, and is the father of four grown children. He will be presented his award on June 15 at the Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach.