January 14, 2008 —The Virginia Bar Association has renamed its Distinguished Service Award in honor of Gov. Gerald L. Baliles, director of the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, and will present the first renamed award to Supreme Court of Virginia Senior Justice Elizabeth B. Lacy at its annual meeting in Williamsburg on Friday, Jan. 18.
In a news release distributed by the VBA, the organization's president, Glenn C. Lewis of Fairfax, said, "The renaming of the award for Governor Baliles and its presentation to Justice Lacy are entirely fitting. They have been not only two of the most outstanding public servants in Virginia of this generation; for many years they also have been consistently and visibly dedicated to the mission and programs of The Virginia Bar Association."
Previous recipients of the VBA's Distinguished Service Award are former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr., former U.S. Senator William B. Spong Jr., former Virginia Chief Justice Harry L. Carrico and Baliles himself, who received the award in 2001.
Baliles has been a member of the VBA for 40 years. He was the first chair of the VBA's Committee on Special Issues of National and State Importance, "a blue-ribbon, multi-disciplinary panel responsible for bringing to the attention of members of the bar and the public cutting-edge national and international developments that shape critical future legal and policy issues." He is currently a member of the VBA's Commission on Professionalism.
Baliles was the 65th governor of Virginia. He also served as attorney general of Virginia (1982-85) and was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1976 through 1982. After leaving public office, he entered private law practice as a partner in the firm of Hunton & Williams in Richmond.
During his term as governor, Baliles appointed Lacy to become the first woman to serve on the bench of the Supreme Court of Virginia. She served as a deputy to Baliles when he was attorney general and had previously worked in the office of the attorney general of Texas and for the Texas Legislative Council.
Lacy retired from active status on the Supreme Court of Virginia earlier this year. She is now a member of The McCammon Group, a provider of dispute resolution services based in Richmond. She is a graduate of Saint Mary's College and the University of Texas Law School and also holds a LL.M. from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Baliles holds a bachelor's degree from Wesleyan University and a J.D. from the University of Virginia Law School. He became the Miller Center's fifth director in April 2006. Founded in 1975, the Miller Center is a nonpartisan public policy institution. The Miller Center's mission is to research, reflect and report on issues of national importance to the governance of the United States, with special attention to the central role and history of the presidency.