2022 Legal Services/Pro Bono Q&A
Chidi I. James
Blankingship & Keith PC, Fairfax
Other legal specialties: Personal injury
Education: Bachelor’s degree, Texas A&M University; law degree, George Mason University
Family: Married to Dr. Faith James, a psychologist; daughter Shonari James (singer/graduate student at The New School); son Gabriel James (senior, North Carolina A&T State University); and daughter Jordan James (junior, High Point University)
Career mentors: The Hon. Gerald B. Lee, the Hon. William T. Newman, the Hon. Stanley Klein, Peter S. Everett, Robert J. Stoney, Darwyn L. Easley, Sandra Rohrstaff and Ken Bynum
Fan of: Travel soccer, rec/travel basketball, Texas Aggies football, George Mason basketball
Most recent book read: “Lead from the Outside: How to Build Your Future and
Make Real Change,” by Stacey Abrams
You’re president-elect of the Virginia State Bar. What is your most important goal for your term? Teaching others about the role and value of the VSB, increasing the reach of the VSB, and encouraging young lawyers and minority lawyers to take more active roles in the bar. Another goal is to inspire lawyers to give more of their time and energy to pro bono services to help close the justice gap.
You’re a military reservist, and you also have been part of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. What kind of work does that entail? My role at the National Guard Bureau’s Legal Service Office consists mostly of reviewing administrative matters that are forwarded from the various state JAG offices for review and final approval by the chief of the National Guard Bureau. In my previous roles as a staff judge advocate in Washington, D.C., and Virginia, I dealt directly with commanders assisting in local policy decisions, disciplinary prosecutions and occasionally the defense of military members facing discipline.