The Columns

W&L Law Presents Alumni Awards during 2017 Reunion Celebration

— by on April 11th, 2017

Several hundred Washington and Lee law school alumni and guests returned for this year’s reunion celebration, held April 7-9 in Lexington.

During the awards ceremony on Saturday, Dean Brant Hellwig announced the recipients of the Outstanding Alumnus/a Award and the Volunteer of the Year Award.

Related: Law Alumni Weekend Photo Gallery

Robert M. Couch ’78, ‘82L received the Outstanding Law Alumnus award for exceptional achievements in his career and unselfish service to his community and his alma mater.

Couch practices law with Bradley Arant in Birmingham, AL. His practice focuses on mortgage lenders and investors; affordable housing; regulatory matters involving HUD, Ginnie Mae, FHA, and other government–sponsored enterprise matters; and governmental affairs. He is Martindale-Hubbell AV preeminent rated and is listed in Best Lawyers in America, Banking and Finance Law.

Couch served as a Commissioner on the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission until September of 2014. He previously served as General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from June 2007 to November 2008. In that role, he acted as the chief legal advisor to the Secretary, Deputy Secretary and other principal staff, providing advice on federal laws, regulations and policies affecting HUD programs. Prior to his position with HUD, Couch served as President of the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae). He also served as a member of President George W. Bush’s Task Force on the Status of Puerto Rico in 2008.

Prior to his government service, Couch was President and Chief Executive Officer of New South Federal Savings Bank in Birmingham, at the time the largest thrift in Alabama. He also served as General Counsel and Chief Financial Officer of First Commercial Bancshares. An active member of the mortgage banking industry, Couch is a former Chairman and a member of the Board of Directors of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. He has also served as President of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Alabama.  Couch is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive) and a Certified Mortgage Banker (master certificate).

At W&L, Couch has served as president of the Law Council, as Chapter Law Liaison, on law lchool campaign committee, on several reunion committees, and as a host for law alumni events. His commitment to public service and to his community is apparent from the many volunteer leadership positions he has held, including serving on the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, Board of Directors and President of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Alabama, Fannie Mae Affordable Housing Advisory Council, Bipartisan Policy Center Housing Commission, Society of Certified Mortgage Bankers, Fannie Mae National Advisory Council, Board of Trustees for the Home Builders Institute, Board of Directors for the Lakeshore Foundation, Board of Directors for the Real Estate Roundtable, Thrift Industry Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Board, President and member of the Rotary Club of Birmingham, Leadership Birmingham, Chairman and member of the Planning Commission of the City of Mountain Brook, and Director for Lender Technologies.

Couch graduated cum laude from W&L in 1978. In 1982 he graduated summa cum laude from the law school where he received the John W. Davis Prize, served as Lead Articles Editor of the Law Review and inducted into Order of the Coif. After law school, Couch clerked for the Honorable John M. Wisdom for the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, and Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr.

Amy King Condaras 02L received the 2017 Volunteer of the Year Award, which recognizes those individuals who go above and beyond assisting the Law School. In the 15 years since she graduated from the Law School, Condaras has served W&L as Law Class Agent, a Law Firm Liaison, and a reunion committee member.

A native of Charleston, WV, Condaras practices law with Spilman Thomas & Battle in her hometown, where she is vice chair of the corporate department, co-chair of the banking and finance practice group, and co-chair of the public finance practice group. Condaras is recognized in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Layers for Business for Corporate/Commercial Banking & Finance, included in The Best Lawyers in America, Banking and Finance Law and Commercial Finance Law, listed in WV Super Lawyers Rising Stars for Bonds/Government Finance, recognized by WV Executive as a “Young Gun,” and was named a Next 40 under 40 winner by The State Journal.

Condaras received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with a concentration in Accounting, cum laude from the University of Richmond in 1996. Prior to attending W&L Law, she worked as an auditor for PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, in Richmond. While at W&L, Condaras was a member of the Law Review, Women’s Law Student Organization, and Phi Delta Phi. She practiced with Moore & Van Allen in Charlotte before returning to West Virginia. In 2009 Amy served as the official spokesperson and goodwill ambassador for the state of West Virginia after winning that state’s “Come Home to West Virginia” contest.

Related to:,