An alumnus became the 100th Supreme Court justice in Virginia earlier this month, propelling him to the state’s highest court.
The Virginia General Assembly elected William Mims, a graduate of the GW Law School and a former Virginia attorney general, to the Court. He will serve for 12 years in the position.
Mims received a master’s of laws degree from GW, and said GW’s programs prepared him well for his career both as a Virginia State Senator and now one of seven justices on Virginia’s Supreme Court.
“I was very thankful that GW has an excellent night program,” Mims said in an interview with The Hatchet. “Many law students either have to work to pay for education or they are pursuing law to become better at the career they’ve chosen. I really appreciated the fact that I could go to law school at night and during the summer at GW. The professors, who are among the best anywhere in the country, taught both night and day courses.”
Mims said one of the greatest things he took away from GW Law School was a greater knowledge of the Constitution.
“I really learned an enormous amount about the constitutional protections that are given to the accused in a criminal case, for example the right to counsel,” Mims said. “I appreciated the perspective I received.”
He added that one class in particular, a conflicts of law class, taught him knowledge and skill that aided him the most during his professional career.
“The analytical rigor that I learned in that class really has helped me as a legislator, attorney general, and now as a judge,” said Mims, who served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1992 to 1997 and the Senate from 1998 to 2005. Most recently he served as deputy attorney general under now Governor of Virginia Bob McDonnell, and assumed the attorney general position when McDonnell vacated the position to campaign.
Mims encouraged students interested in law to pursue the career.
“Being a lawyer is generally a satisfying career, one that is financially rewarding, but even more so the work that most lawyers do makes a difference,” Mims said. “Lawyers are able to change the status quo.they are able to help people. There is a great deal of satisfaction from working with someone who has a significant need, and being able to help fulfill that need.”