Taylor Reveley, president of William & Mary, was recently honored with the William R. Rakes Leadership in Education Award from the Virginia State Bar Section on the Education of Lawyers in Virginia. Reveley received the award at a reception on June 13 during the Virginia State Bar (VSB) conference in Virginia Beach.
The award was established in 2012 to honor former VSB president and founder of the Education Section, William R. Rakes, a senior partner with the Roanoke, Va., firm of Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore. It recognizes an individual who has demonstrated exceptional leadership and vision in developing and implementing innovative concepts to improve and enhance the state of legal education, and in advancing relationships and professionalism among members of the academy, the bench, and the bar in Virginia.
According to event emcee A. Benjamin Spencer, a professor of law at Washington & Lee University School of Law, Reveley’s long-standing and dedicated efforts in the field of legal education made him a natural for the award.
Spencer cited Reveley’s work helping organize the first Conclave of Education of Lawyers in Virginia in 1992, which led to his chairing the VSB’s section of the Education of Lawyers in Virginia, the first such committee among the nation’s bar associations.
Spencer also praised Reveley’s service as dean of William & Mary Law School from 1998-2008, and as president of the College of William & Mary. In addition, he lauded the time Reveley devotes to various school and foundation governing boards.
“He is indeed a worthy recipient of this award,” Spencer said.
Thanking friends and colleagues, Reveley was quick to turn praise back to the man whose name graces the award.
“Bill Rakes is really a citizen lawyer in the grand tradition,” he said. “Thus it is a real privilege and a real honor to receive this year’s Rakes Award for Leadership in Education.”
Reveley went on to share his thoughts about the current state of the law profession and the challenges it faces.
“The education of lawyers is a crucial element in our profession’s road to renewal,” he said. “I’m talking about education that begins in law school and then continues throughout our careers, an education that’s an undertaking in which law professors, the practicing bar, and judges all have roles to play.”
Reveley concluded by reminding friends and colleagues that the legal profession is as much a calling as it is a living.
“By a calling, I really do mean an opportunity for us to make a difference for the better in the lives of other people and in the lives of important institutions, and to make this difference with little or no regard for being paid,” Reveley said. “We lawyers can do an enormous amount of good along the way, and while traveling that path we can find great satisfaction."