The Virginia Bar Association (VBA) installed John L. Walker III of Richmond as its 126th president this past weekend. Walker, a partner at the Williams Mullen law firm in Richmond, is the third member of his immediate family to serve as VBA president. His father, John L. Walker Jr. of Roanoke, was VBA president in 1983, and his grandfather, John L. Walker, also of Roanoke, served in 1947-8. The new president’s term runs until the association’s next Annual Meeting, in January 2015.

Three other officers of the voluntary membership organization also began their terms when voted in by members at the organization’s annual winter meeting in Williamsburg:

  • Harry M. “Pete” Johnson III of Richmond as president-elect,
  • James P. Guy II of Richmond as chair of the Board of Governors, and
  • Thomas R. Bagby of Roanoke as immediate past president.

Virginia’s largest statewide voluntary bar group also elected Board of Governors representatives at the 124th Annual Meeting, held in Williamsburg from Jan. 23-25. These members represent the Tidewater, Capitol, Blue Ridge and Potomac regions.

About the officers

Immediate Past President Tom Bagby is president of Woods Rogers PLC in Roanoke, where he directs its labor and employment law section. Bagby concentrates on representing management on labor and employment law issues. A VBA member since 1996, he has served as chair of the VBA Labor Relations and Employment Law Section as well as chair of the VBA Board of Governors and president-elect and president of the association. He earned undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Virginia.

VBA President John Walker is a partner at the Williams Mullen law firm in Richmond. His practice focuses on business litigation. A VBA member since 1989, he served as chair of the organization’s Young Lawyers Division in 1997 and chair of the VBA Board of Governors in 2010. Walker is a past president and a Fellow of the Virginia Law Foundation and serves as chairman of the board of trustees of Collegiate School and as a trustee of the College Foundation at the University of Virginia. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia and the University of Richmond School of Law.

VBA President-elect Pete Johnson is a partner at Hunton & Williams LLP in Richmond, where he specializes in environmental litigation and trial work. A VBA member since 1989, he served as chair of the organization’s Young Lawyers Division in 1998 and as chair of the Board of Governors last year. Johnson serves as co-chair of the VBA Pro Bono Task Force and was instrumental in organizing the 2010 and 2012 Chief Justice’s Pro Bono Summits. He is a graduate of Princeton University and the University of Virginia School of Law.

Jim Guy, the VBA’s new chair of the Board of Governors, is the energy industry team leader at LeClairRyan in Richmond. He represents electric cooperatives and other companies in regulatory, transactional, corporate and legislative matters. A VBA member since 1991, he has led its Administrative Law Section and most recently served a two-year term as chair of the Law Practice Management Division. As LPMD chair, in April 2013 he convened the JDPlus Summit at the Virginia Capitol. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia and its School of Law.

These four officers and the chair of the organization’s Young Lawyers Division, or YLD, make up the voting members of the VBA Executive Committee. At the Annual Meeting, the VBA’s Young Lawyers Division installed Elaina L. Blanks (photo at left), a tax attorney with Norfolk Southern Corp. in Norfolk as chair. She succeeds Travis G. Hill, deputy secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, in Richmond. Chair-elect of the YLD is Nupur S. Bal, an associate at Batzil Stiles Butler PC in Richmond. Blanks and Bal will serve on the VBA Board of Governors.

The VBA membership also elected Cheryl L. Black as chair of the Law Practice Management Division. She is a principal of Goodman, Allen & Filetti PLLC in Richmond. A VBA member since 2008, she served as chair-elect of the LPMD the previous two years and remains active in the VBA Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law Section. As chair of the LPMD, she too will serve on the VBA Board of Governors.

Newly elected representatives to the Board of Governors are:

  • William A. Galanko of Norfolk, vice president-law at Norfolk Southern Corp., as Tidewater Region representative;
  • Michael HuYoung of Richmond, a director and shareholder of Barnes & Diehl, P.C., as Capitol Region representative;
  • C.J. Steuart Thomas III of Staunton, an attorney at Timberlake, Smith, Thomas & Moses, P.C., as Blue Ridge Region representative; and
  • Mary C. Zinsner of McLean, a partner at Troutman Sanders LLP, as Potomac Region representative.

Board service is a commitment of three years.  For details about these individuals, please see the 2014 VBA Leadership Slate.

VBA members also re-elected three special representatives to the Board of Governors for a second one-year term. They are:

  • State Sen. John S. Edwards, D-21st(City of Roanoke, Montgomery County, Roanoke County and Giles County), as legislative representative;
  • Wendy Collins Perdue, dean of the University of Richmond School of Law, as law school representative; and
  • Judge Louis R. Lerner of Hampton Circuit Court, as judicial representative.

Eight attorneys continuing their roles on the VBA Board of Governors are:

  • Cyril F. Coombs, senior counsel at Dominion Virginia Power in Richmond;
  • S. Miles Dumville, partner at Reed Smith LLP in Richmond;
  • Mark L. Esposito, an officer of PennStuart in Bristol;
  • M. Melissa Glassman, partner at McGuireWoods LLP in Tysons Corner;
  • David S. Mercer, a principal of MercerTrigiani in Alexandria;
  • Donald C. Schultz, partner at Crenshaw, Ware & Martin, P.L.C., in Norfolk;
  • Eric J. Sorenson Jr., principal at Edmunds & Williams, P.C., in Lynchburg; and
  • Lori D. Thompson, shareholder at LeClairRyan in Roanoke.

About The Virginia Bar Association 

The Virginia Bar Association (, the first statewide organization for lawyers in Virginia, is the largest voluntary bar association in the commonwealth, with 5,500 members. Its mission is to be the independent voice of the Virginia lawyer, advancing the highest ideals of the profession through advocacy and volunteer service. The VBA provides many avenues to assist members in the legal profession, ranging from educational programming, community service opportunities, and member benefits.

From its inception in 1888 to today, the VBA addresses the many facets of the practice of law and promotes programs that further the efficient and equitable administration of justice. Its members seek to improve the law, serve the people of Virginia and engage with like-minded lawyers. The association actively proposes and promotes legislative changes that are in the public interest before the Virginia General Assembly.