|Robert "Bob" Byrne Jr.|
The award recognizes young lawyers who demonstrate dedicated service to the conference, the legal profession and the community. Byrne, who has a statewide general litigation practice with MartinWren PC in Charlottesville, Va., has been an active volunteer with YLC since 2005.
He said that YLC has about 9,000 active and associate Virginia State Bar members who are age 36 and under. To qualify for the award, members must meet a list of eligibility requirements. YLC's goal is to serve the public and meet the special interests and concerns of young and new lawyers. Conference activities include various community outreach projects.
"One of my most memorable projects is a video, currently in its final stages, that I am helping a committee put together for the Virginia Poverty Law Center," Byrne said. "The video is for kids who leave the foster care system, a transitional process which can be a nightmare. Many kids out there are moving beyond the system without the role model of a parent or a loving support network. To be able to help out this kind of situation is something that I encourage other attorneys to do—to be involved."
Byrne said that after graduating from Regent, Law Professor Lynne Marie Kohm, who is actively involved with the Virginia State Bar, helped connect him with the video project. He also cites Regent Law as inspiring him toward serving in other areas of community service.
"Three-and-a-half years ago, when my wife and I underwent a horrific tragedy, we received an amazing outpouring from the Regent community," he explained. "Several of my professors and Regent Law staff encouraged and helped me. They demanded, despite my circumstance, that I fulfill my God-given potential."
Byrne is credited with developing a program that helped strengthen the YLC Professional Development Conference in 2008, which provides training to young attorneys. He was also recognized for his contributions to the YLC's Docket Call, a quarterly newsletter distributed to all members of the organization. He has seven published articles in the newsletter, where he writes the litigation column.
Also, Byrne is very involved in his community: he is a youth basketball coach, member of the Blue Ridge Mountains Rotary Club, and recently helped establish a church in Zion Crossroads. He also served as chair of the Regent University Executive Alumni Board in 2006-2007.
The Young Lawyer of the Year award will be presented to Byrne on June 18, at the Virginia State Bar Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach.
~ By Sarah H. Dolan