Thomas R. Frantz, a graduate of William & Mary Law School and the College of William & Mary, was given the 2009 Citizen-Lawyer Award by the William & Mary Law School Association during the Law School's graduation ceremony on May 17. The award is given annually to a graduate or friend of the Law School who stands squarely in the Jeffersonian tradition of outstanding citizenship and leadership.
Kevin O'Neill '99, president of the Law School Association and partner at Patton Boggs in Washington, DC, presented the award to Frantz commending him as a "truly outstanding example of what it means to love the law, serve your community and give back to our alma mater."
He said Frantz is "one of the few people who can claim to have three different degrees from William & Mary," a B.A., earned in 1970; a J.D., earned in 1973; and a master's degree in taxation, earned in 1981. He is currently president and chief operating officer of Williams Mullen, said O'Neill, and his name is found on the rosters of the leading attorneys in the state and nation.
O'Neill enumerated the many community and nonprofit organizations that have benefitted from Frantz's contributions, including, among others, the Hampton Roads Partnership, the Hampton Roads Sports Facility Authority, the Virginia Beach Foundation, Virginia Beach Vision, the Virginia Aquarium, and the Eastern Virginia Medical School. He is past president of the Hampton Roads Tax Forum and a director of William & Mary's long-running Tax Conference. In 2004 he was recognized as the First Citizen of Virginia Beach and also served as King Neptune for the Virginia Beach Neptune Festival.
Frantz's support of his alma mater has been equally impressive, said O'Neill. He has served on the committees for his 25th and 35th reunions, served as an advisor to the Mason School of Business, and is a long-time member of the Law School's Dean's Council.
The concept of the citizen lawyer is rooted in Thomas Jefferson's original mission for the law school that he created in 1779 at the College of William & Mary. Jefferson and the man he recruited to establish the school, his mentor George Wythe, wanted students not only to be skilled practitioners of the law, but also leaders for the common good of their communities, states and nation.