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Robert Grey ‘76L to receive ABA Spirit of Excellence Award

Washington and Lee alumnus and trustee emeritus Robert J. Grey will be honored next year with the Spirit of Excellence Award from the American Bar Association’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession.

The ABA panel will present the award at a Feb. 7 ceremony at the ABA midyear meeting in Houston.

The Spirit of Excellence Award celebrates the efforts and accomplishments of lawyers who work to promote a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession, according to the ABA.

“Robert Grey has not only blazed the trail for equal participation for all attorneys, but today, through his guidance of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, he remains ever diligent to establishing more paths for full inclusion of the legal profession,” said F. John Garza, chair of the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession.

Grey was the first African-American to serve as chair of the ABA’s House of Delegates. He was elected president of the ABA in 2004. Grey devoted his yearlong term to creating better justice through better juries. The American Jury Project modernized and consolidated varying sets of juror standards into a single model document that reflects the demands of contemporary trials. Additionally, Grey worked to review, unify and update ABA programs to increase diversity in the legal profession, to advance the ABA’s international rule of law efforts and to safeguard the profession’s independence.

Throughout his ABA career, Grey was active in strategic planning and increasing diversity in the profession. From 1992-1995 Grey chaired the Commission on Opportunities for Minorities in the Profession. Grey serves currently on the board of directors of the Legal Services Corporation. He was nominated by President Barack Obama in 2009.

A partner in the Richmond, Va., office of Hunton & Williams, Grey’s practice has focused on administrative matters before state and federal agencies, mediation and dispute resolution, and legislative representation of clients. He came to Hunton & Williams from the law firm LeClair Ryan, where he was a partner. Prior to that he had co-founded the firm of Grey & Wesley, and then joined Mays & Valentine. He also received several gubernatorial appointments, including chair of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, vice chair of the Virginia Public Building Authority and member of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Board of Visitors.

In addition to his volunteer leadership within the ABA, Grey has chaired the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Richmond Partnership and Youth Matters and was president of the Richmond Crusade for Voters.

Grey earned his J.D. from Washington and Lee University in 1976, and his B.S. from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1973.

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