Roscoe Roberts, who has served as senior assistant attorney general and University counsel at the University of Virginia since 2014, will retire at the end of the month following a distinguished career in public service. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has appointed Timothy J. Heaphy as his successor.
Roberts has served the commonwealth for more than three decades in various legal capacities since first being named an assistant attorney general in 1981.
He previously served as legal counsel at Virginia State University, James Madison University, Christopher Newport University and George Mason University. He also was counsel in civil matters in the cities of Petersburg, Colonial Heights, Hopewell and the counties of Prince George, Dinwiddie, Surry and Charles City.
“It has been an honor and privilege to serve as University counsel for the University of Virginia and a member of the Office of the Attorney General,” Roberts said. “I have devoted my career to public service and the law, and am very fortunate to have worked with dedicated professionals at many of the commonwealth’s great institutions, including the Office of the Attorney General.”
Both Herring and UVA President James E. Ryan praised Roberts for his service to the commonwealth and UVA.
“I would like to thank Roscoe Roberts for his outstanding service to the University and to the Office of Attorney General throughout a long and distinguished career in public service,” Herring said. “Because of Roscoe’s integrity, professionalism and skill as an attorney, Tim can hit the ground running with a great team and a strong foundation.”
“The Office of University Counsel benefitted greatly from Roscoe’s leadership, vast experience and knowledge of the law,” Ryan said. “He has served the University with distinction, and we are extremely grateful for his service.”
Heaphy, a UVA alumnus and currently a partner with Hunton Andrews Kurth and a former United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, will take office Sept. 1. As University counsel, Heaphy will lead UVA’s Office of University Counsel, which is responsible for representing the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia in all legal and regulatory matters. The office provides legal counsel to the Board of Visitors, Ryan, executive officers and other administrators, faculty and staff in their official capacities. As a member of the University’s senior leadership team, Heaphy will provide strategic advice to the Board of Visitors and Ryan on a number of important issues.
“With his deep roots in Virginia, in Charlottesville and at the University of Virginia, Tim is well-positioned to help President Ryan and the Board of Visitors implement their vision, and to help the University continue to grow and thrive,” Herring said. “His experience in the private and public sectors, especially his years of service as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, give him a depth and breadth of experience that will serve the University well.”
“Tim is an outstanding attorney with a sharp mind and a long history of public service,” Ryan said. “He understands the important role the University plays in the community and nation, and his legal expertise will undoubtedly benefit both the commonwealth and UVA. I am delighted that Attorney General Herring has appointed Tim and grateful that Tim has agreed to serve in this important leadership position at his alma mater.”
Attorneys in the Office of University Counsel are appointed by the attorney general of Virginia and represent the University on legal matters affecting University operations and interests.
“I am honored to have been appointed University counsel for the University of Virginia,” Heaphy said. “UVA and Charlottesville are very special places for me and my family, and I can’t think of a better way to continue my career as a public servant in the law than to represent what I believe to be the best public university in the nation. I am grateful to Attorney General Herring for entrusting me with this responsibility, and I look forward to serving the UVA Board of Visitors, President Ryan and the University’s distinguished faculty and staff.”
Appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia in 2009, Heaphy was the chief law enforcement officer responsible for prosecuting federal crime and defending the United States in civil litigation for six years. Prior to that role, he was a partner with the law firm McGuireWoods. He served as assistant U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia and the Western District of Virginia from 1994 to 2006.
In 2017, Heaphy led a team of lawyers at Hunton & Williams who conducted an independent review of the protest events in Charlottesville last year. The report and its findings led to the development of new policies and procedures regarding how to better manage public protests while also ensuring First Amendment protections and public safety.
Heaphy is founder and board chair of The Fountain Fund, a nonprofit organization in Charlottesville that provides low-interest loans to formerly incarcerated people in Central Virginia. As a law student at UVA, he helped start a loan forgiveness program for students who entered public service work after graduation.
In 2015, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe appointed him to the Commission on Parole Review. He clerked for Judge John A. Terry of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and prior to law school served on the staff of U.S. Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware.
Heaphy earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Virginia and a law degree from the UVA School of Law.