The Richmond Bar Association has selected McGuireWoods partner
George Keith Martin and deputy general counsel
Barbara Ann Williams for its prestigious Hill-Tucker Public Service Award and Hunter W. Martin
Professionalism Award, respectively. The RBA will honor Martin and Williams
on Oct. 29, 2020.
The Hill-Tucker Public Service Award is presented annually to a bar member
for conspicuous public service beyond the practice of law. The Hunter W.
Martin Professionalism Award recognizes members whose careers exemplify the
conduct and high ideals embodied in the bar’s Principles of
Martin is the managing partner of McGuireWoods’ Richmond office, where he
focuses his practice on construction, commercial real estate, real estate
finance and local government law.
A bar member nominating Martin wrote, “George has served his community and
the Commonwealth in so many capacities. Most notable was his extraordinary
leadership as rector of his alma mater, the University of Virginia. He led
the board with courage, character, and commitment during a time of
controversy and transition.”
In 2011, Martin was appointed to the University of Virginia board of
visitors by Gov. Bob McDonnell and in 2013 became the first
African-American to serve as the rector. Martin currently serves on UVa’s
Miller Center Governing Council, Jefferson Scholars Foundation board and
School of Architecture Foundation board.
A tireless advocate for diversity and inclusion, Martin last year served on
the executive committee that helped organize programs for the
Commemoration of the First African Landing in Hampton, Virginia, where the first enslaved African men and women were
brought to the English colonies 400 years earlier. He also served on the
400 Years of African American History Commission.
As McGuireWoods’ deputy general counsel, Williams advises the firm on
professional conduct and risk management matters. She helps develop firm
policies and procedures that foster compliance with the Rules of
Professional Conduct, applicable laws and regulations in every jurisdiction
where McGuireWoods has an office, as well as client requirements.
As bar counsel for the Virginia State Bar, Williams managed the bar’s
investigation and prosecution of attorney misconduct cases and was the
spokesperson for the attorney disciplinary system. She also handled
attorney misconduct and impairment matters, and helped clear a backlog of
While she served as bar counsel, the Virginia State Bar proposed
significant changes to the procedures for disciplining, suspending and
disbarring attorneys, which the Supreme Court of Virginia adopted. Chief
among the rule changes were opening district committee hearings to the
public to afford new transparency to bar proceedings, new procedures for
dealing with impaired attorneys and a process for administratively
suspending attorneys who refused to cooperate with misconduct
At the end of her tenure as bar counsel, Virginia Lawyers Helping Lawyers
awarded Williams its North Star Award for her early recognition of the
increased incidence of mental health issues among lawyers and other legal
professionals in Virginia and the need to find more effective ways to
address those issues. She subsequently joined the Lawyers Helping Lawyers
board of directors and served two terms as president of the nonprofit
organization. She remains actively engaged in wellness issues.
In nominating Williams, one bar member wrote, “Barbara’s philosophy and
efforts changed fundamentally the concept of lawyer discipline by going
beyond accountability and enforcement of the rules, but also addressing the
causes of lawyer misconduct with empathy and compassion while striving to
protect clients and the public. Her contributions are immeasurable.”