John Charles Thomas became the first African American Justice to sit on the Virginia Supreme Court. He was 32 years old at the time, making him the youngest person to hold a seat on the Court. In that role, he ruled on thousands of appellate matters addressing the full range of Virginia law. He retired from the Court and now is a senior partner at Hunton & Williams. He received his JD from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1975 and his BA in American Government from the University of Virginia with distinction in 1972. Justice Thomas serves on the Board of Visitors of the College of William & Mary, Board of Trustees of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, and the Appellate Rules Advisory Committee of the Commonwealth of Virginia. He is a member of the Virginia, Richmond, Old Dominion, National, International and American Bar Associations and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, College of Commercial Arbitrators, and the Virginia Law Foundation.
Justice Thomas is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Virginia, the Supreme Court of the United States, and the United States Courts of Appeal for the 4th, 6th, 9th, 10th, and 11th and D.C. Circuits. He is an AAA certified Mediator and Arbitrator and serves on the AAA Panel of Commercial Arbitrators as well as on the AAA Panel of International Arbitrators. Since June 2005, he has been a Judge of the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.
A frequent speaker and lecturer across the country and around the world, Justice Thomas has lectured at the Interim University Center in Dubrovnik, Croatia on "Enforcing Interim Arbitral Awards Under the New York Convention"; delivered the Constitutional Law Lecture at the United States Military Academy at West Point; spoken on Diversity: What Difference Does It Make at the National Consortium on Racial and Ethical Frames in the Courts; and given the "First-Day, First Year" lectures at the University of Virginia School of Law and the College of William & Mary School of Law since 1990. The Diversity Conference is honored and privileged to have retired Justice Thomas as its keynote speaker at the Inaugural Meeting of the Conference.
Also, after its Annual Meeting, the Diversity Conference in conjunction with the Virginia Women Attorneys’ Association (VWAA) will co-sponsor a reception at 4:15 p.m. in Captain’s A at the Cavalier Beach Club. All attendees are welcome to attend the Meeting and Reception.