Justice Cleo Powell to Deliver Smith Lecture at W&L Law Her talk, "The Importance of a Legacy—What Will Yours Be?,” is scheduled for Tuesday, February 8 at 2:00 p.m. in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall.
Cleo Powell, Justice on the Supreme Court of Virginia, will deliver the annual Leslie Devan Smith, Jr. Lecture at W&L Law this month. The title of her talk is “The Importance of a Legacy—What Will Yours Be?”
The lecture is scheduled for Tuesday, February 8 at 2:00 p.m. in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall on the campus of Washington and Lee University. The event is free and open to the public.
In 2011, Powell became the first African American woman appointed to the state Supreme Court. Powell chairs the Judicial Performance Evaluation Committee and serves on the Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference of Virginia. She previously served on the Court of Appeals of Virginia as well the circuit and general district courts in Chesterfield/Colonial Heights. She began her judicial career in 1993.
Powell has been honored with numerous awards and on numerous lists, including the Library of Virginia’s Virginia Women in History; Dominion’s Strong Men & Women Excellence in Leadership; a Virginia Women Attorneys Association 2010 Leader in Diversity; Virginia Lawyers Weekly Influential Women of Virginia; Metro Richmond Women’s Bar Association Woman of the Year 2009; and the YWCA’s Outstanding Women of the Year.
The annual lecture is named in honor of Leslie Devan Smith, who graduated from the law school in 1969 and was the law school’s first African American graduate. In 2019, the Law School unveiled a new installation in Lewis Hall that celebrates Smith’s life and legacy. The display, located in the lobby outside the Millhiser Moot Court Room, tells the story of Smith’s arrival in Lexington, his many accomplishments as a student, and his all-too-short career with the U.S. Department of Justice before his tragic passing.