Mark S. Dray, a 1968 graduate of William & Mary Law School, was honored with the Law School Association's 2010 Citizen-Lawyer Award during the Law School's graduation ceremony on May 16. 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.
The concept of the citizen lawyer is rooted in Thomas Jefferson's original mission 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.
Kevin O'Neill '99, President of the William & Mary Law School Association presented the award.
O'Neill told Class of 2010 graduates that the Citizen-Lawyer Award is given at graduation to present to them "an exemplar of the best that a William & Mary lawyer can be" and to inspire them " to remain focused on using [their] professional skills to serve others."
O'Neill noted that Dray, a partner at Hunton & Williams, holds a J.D. and a Masters in Tax Law from the Law School. O'Neill described Dray's distinguished reputation. Dray is, he said, "generally recognized as one of the deans of that bar nationwide with expertise ranging from health savings accounts to executive compensation issues. He has served as Chairman of the ABA Employee Benefits Taxation Committee and the ABA's Joint Committee on Employee Benefits, as well as leadership positions in a number of other tax law organizations at the state, regional and national level. His expertise is well known, as Mark has been listed in every edition of The Best Lawyers in America since 1989."
In addition, according to his partners O'Neill said, Dray has devoted numerous hours of his time as a volunteer in Richmond, where he has focused his efforts on "serving up-and-coming community organizations," such as the Firehouse Theater
O'Neill told the graduates and their guests that William & Mary President Taylor Reveley, Law School Dean Davison Douglas, and Sally Kellam, the Law School's Associate Dean for Development and Alumni Affairs, all agreed that "the Law School would not be where it is today" without Dray's forty years of giving back to his alma mater through his contributions of "time, talent, and treasure." His involvement and guidance were especially critical in developing the Law School's Foundation, O'Neill noted. Additionally, he said, Dray helped raise major funding for the endowment, and spearheaded a fundraising campaign, which has, he said, "improved every aspect of the Law School."
O'Neill's concluding comments reinforced why Dray was chosen as a Citizen-Lawyer honoree: "... I leave you with the sentiments of retired tax professor and unofficial Marshall-Wythe historian John Donaldson who, when I asked about Mark Dray, put his hand on my shoulder and said simply, ‘When it comes to this law school, Mark Dray is the man.'"