The Virginia State Bar Young Lawyers Conference will present its 2013 R. Edwin Burnette Jr. Young Lawyer of the Year Award to Christopher R. Fortier of Vienna.
The award recognizes young lawyers who demonstrate dedicated service to the conference, the legal profession, and the community. It is named in honor of Lynchburg Judge R. Edwin Burnette Jr., past president of the VSB (1993-1994) and the YLC (1985-1986). The award will be presented on June 14, 2013, at the Virginia State Bar Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach.
Fortier has been chair of the Young Lawyers Conference annual Professional Development Conference for two years and last year expanded that program from Richmond to a second location in Northern Virginia. He also has planned to expand it to Hampton Roads later this year. The Professional Development Conference provides courses in basic substantive legal skill training to Virginia lawyers.
YLC president Brian R. Charville noted that Fortier worked with attorneys at Hunton & Williams and the VSB staff to expand the program and arranged for attendees and presenters at both locations. "In his work on the PDC he has demonstrated creativity, implementing skills, and a real selflessness in service of the program and its participants."
Fortier also founded the Professional Development Series, which he envisioned in late 2012 as a vehicle for broadcasting YLC programs and other bar organizations' content throughout the bar year, one program each week. He recorded the Professional Development Conference segments and content from other bar organizations including the American Bar Association's Young Lawyer's Division and developed a schedule to air the programs. He also has worked with VSB staff to develop a website and its contents. "While the PDS is still quite new and its effects aren't yet known, there is no doubt that Chris's vision and hard work have led to the creation of a useful practice resource for the YLC's members," Charville wrote. "Chris simply has enviable abilities to brainstorm and implement programs that serve our profession well."
Fortier is a graduate of James Madison University and the Appalachian School of Law. He grew up in Poquoson and he and his wife Brittany live and practice law in Vienna.