Oil on canvas, 25 x 30 in., by Claiborne Gregory, 2001
Born 1949 in Washington, D.C.
First elected by the General Assembly on March 8, 2000 to a 12-year term beginning March 16, 2000, filling the vacancy created by the retirement of A. Christian Compton. Expiration of current term: March 16, 2023, subject to reaching mandatory retirement age of 73.
Elected chief justice on August 18, 2014 to a four-year term beginning January 1, 2015, filling the vacancy created by the retirement of Cynthia D. Kinser. He stepped down as chief justice effective December 31, 2021.
University of Virginia, B.A., 1970
University of Virginia, J.D., 1976
Other judicial service:
Commissioner in chancery, Henrico County, Virginia, 1988-1995
Substitute judge, General District Court and Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, Henrico County, Virginia, 1994-1995
Judge, Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, 1995-1998
Judge, Court of Appeals of Virginia, 1998-2000
Probation officer, Fairfax County Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court, 1971-1973
Assistant dean and assistant professor of law, University of Virginia School of Law, 1976-1978
Private practice of law in Richmond, Virginia, 1978-1995
A.L. Philpott Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Richmond School of Law, 1998-2000
Distinguished Professor of Judicial Studies, Washington and Lee University School of Law, 2007-present
President, American Inns of Court, 2010-2014
Honorary Bencher, Middle Temple, Inns of Court, London
Recipient, 2021 Harry L. Carrico Outstanding Career Service Award
First elected, Journal of the Senate, 2000 Regular Session, 1747; sworn in on March 16, 2000, 259 Va., v; Jeff E. Schapiro, “Lemons Voted to Virginia High Court,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, March 9, 2000, A-6; birth, education, and career, biographical file, Virginia State Law Library; born in Washington, D.C., listing for Durrette, Irvin, Lemons, & Bradshaw, P.C., in Martindale-Hubble Law Directory, (Summit, NJ: Martindale-Hubble, Inc.), 1993.
“The Hon. Donald W. Lemons Receives 2022 Carrico Professionalism Award,” VSB News, April 26, 2022.
Supreme Court of Virginia. (2022 May 18). The Honorable Donald W. Lemons is recipient of 2021 Harry L. Carrico Outstanding Career Services Award [press release]. This is awarded by the Judicial Council of Virginia.