Virginia Supreme Court Justice Cynthia D. Kinser, a longtime member of the Appalachian School of Law's Board of Trustees, will become the court's new chief justice next year.
Kinser has served on ASL's board since 2006, and she has frequently spoken at the school, said Dean Wes Shinn. She delivered the first-ever professionalism pledge to new students in 2009, an event that has become the kick-off to the school year for incoming classes.
Kinser "continues to provide an important role model for our female students in this region," Shinn said. "ASL thanks Kinser for her leadership in our community and for the profession."
Leroy R. Hassell Sr. will complete an eight-year run as chief justice on Jan. 31. When Kinser takes over the position, she will become the first woman to lead the court. She is currently the only woman on the court.
Kinser has deep roots in Southwest Virginia. She is a native of Lee County, where she was elected commonwealth attorney in 1979. She also served as a magistrate judge for the Western District of Virginia beginning in 1990.
Former Gov. George Allen, a fellow ASL board member, named Kinser to the state Supreme Court in 1997. Kinser and Allen have clerked for U.S. District Judge Glen Williams, an ASL board member who last year donated a personal collection to the school's law library.