The Virginia Bar Association Recognizes G. Michael Pace, Jr. With Highest Honor
Pace, founder of the Rule of Law Project, receives Gerald L. Baliles Distinguished Service Award
Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore, LLP is pleased to announce G. Michael Pace, Jr., has been recognized by The Virginia Bar Association (VBA) as the recipient of its Gerald L. Baliles Distinguished Service Award. Pace, managing partner of Gentry Locke Rakes and Moore until December 31, 2012, and the 2008 president of the VBA, received the honor at the VBA’s 2013 Annual Meeting in Williamsburg, Va. from Jan. 24-26. The award recognizes exceptional service and contributions to the bar and public at large.
Pace is recognized for his exceptional work in creating the Virginia Law Foundation/Virginia Bar Association Rule of Law Project (www.ruleoflaw-vba.org), which educates middle school students about the importance of the rule of law as the foundation for equality, justice, fairness and stability in all civil societies, particularly in America. The Project has become a national and international model for rule of law education, which led to the creation of the Center for Teaching the Rule of Law located at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia.
“It is with great pride that we pay tribute to Mike with the Association’s highest honor,” said Hugh M. Fain, III, president of the VBA. “His work to create and establish the Virginia Law Foundation/Virginia Bar Association Rule of Law Project is a contribution that will continue to impact the bar and the public now and for years to come. His dedication and service to transform and improve upon the way the rule of law is taught exemplifies the meaning of the service award.”
The signature feature of the Rule of Law Project is partnering judges, lawyers, and teachers to teach middle and high school students the importance of the rule of law as the basis of the rights and freedoms we enjoy so they will become active and engaged citizens as adults.
The World Justice Project featured the Rule of Law Project at the World Justice Forum II in Vienna, Austria, in 2009, and again in at the World Justice Forum III in Barcelona, Spain, in 2011. The American Bar Association Commission on Civic Education has designated the Rule of Law Project as a “best practices” program for adoption by other state bar associations. Dr. Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction, has also recommended the Project for all public schools in Virginia. The Rule of Law Project is already in almost half of Virginia’s 136 public school divisions and an increasing number of private schools, and will be introduced in other states beginning next year.
Pace will join a distinguished list of individuals who have previously received the service award, including former United States Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr. and former Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justices Harry L. Carrico and Leroy R. Hassell, Jr.
Pace served The Virginia Bar Association as its president in 2008 and has been a board member of the Virginia Law Foundation. Virginia Lawyers Weekly has named him one of 28 “Leaders in the Law: Statewide” and he recently was named 2013 “Roanoke Lawyer of the Year” in Real Estate and Corporate Law by Best Lawyers and U.S. News. Pace has been listed with Virginia Super Lawyers since 2003 and named to Best Lawyers in America.
In addition to his work with the Rule of Law Project, Pace serves on the boards of LEAD Virginia, the Business Leadership Fund, the Business Council, the Roanoke Regional Partnership, SunTrust Advisory Board, and other civic and charitable boards. He is a trustee of Hampden-Sydney College and a past president of the Hampden-Sydney College Alumni Association. He serves as an adjunct professor at Roanoke College and Washington and Lee University School of Law, where he founded a practicum for third year law students that is now implemented statewide.
Pace is a member of The Virginia Bar Association (2008 president), the Virginia State Bar, the Roanoke Bar Association (2000-2001 president), the American Bar Association, the National Conference of Bar Presidents, and a member and a fellow of the Virginia Law Foundation. He is also a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and the Roanoke Law Foundation. Pace is a member of the National Council for the Social Studies, the Virginia Council for the Social Studies, and the Virginia Consortium of Social Studies Specialists and College Educators.
The image above is courtesy of The Virginia Bar Association