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ALEXANDRIA, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Donald W. Lemons has been selected to receive the prestigious 2019 American Inns of Court Lewis F. Powell Jr. Award for Professionalism and Ethics. William C. Koch Jr., president of the American Inns of Court, will present the award during the American Inns of Court’s annual Celebration of Excellence at the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, D.C., on October 26, 2019. Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch will host the celebration.

Lemons has been the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia since 2015 where he not only presides over the court, but serves as the chief administrative officer managing Virginia’s judicial system. “Even as he has risen to lead the oldest supreme court in the United States, he has retained the values of a country lawyer,” says Kannon K. Shanmugam, a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP in Washington, D.C., who was among those nominating Lemons. “He is a role model in how a judge should conduct himself from the bench. He treats everyone he encounters with respect.”

Lemons served two terms as president of the American Inns of Court from 2010 to 2014. He was president of the John Marshall Inn from 2002 to 2004 and a Master of the Bench there and at the Lewis F. Powell Jr. Inn, both in Richmond. In 2008, the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple in London named him an honorary master of the bench in appreciation for his part in recognizing the inn’s role in founding Jamestown and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Since 2007, Lemons has been a distinguished professor of judicial studies at Washington and Lee University School of Law, where he teaches a course on appellate advocacy. He served on the board of directors of the Conference of Chief Justices. He is the 2018 recipient of the Virginia Bar Association’s Gerald L. Baliles Distinguished Service Award.

Before becoming chief justice, Lemons served as a justice on the Supreme Court of Virginia, having been elected by Virginia’s General Assembly in 2000. He was previously a judge on the Court of Appeals of Virginia and a judge on the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond, where he was a pioneer in the drug court movement.

Lemons received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia in 1970 and his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1976.

The American Inns of Court, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, inspires the legal community to advance the rule of law by achieving the highest level of professionalism through example, education, and mentoring. The organization’s membership includes more than 31,000 federal, state, and local judges; lawyers; law professors; and law students in nearly 380 chapters nationwide. More information is available at


American Inns of Court

Cindy Dennis

Awards & Scholarships Coordinator

(571) 319-4703

[email protected]