The Greater Richmond Bar Foundation serves the public and legal profession by supporting, facilitating, and promoting the delivery of pro bono legal services through its signature Pro Bono Clearinghouse for nonprofits, the groundbreaking JusticeServer Project, the Eviction Diversion Project in the City of Richmond, our workplace initiative, the Pro Bono Promise, a partnership with Legal Aid Justice Center with the Triage Project, and by involvement in law-related educational projects that encourage public understanding of, participation in, and access to our justice system.
Board of Directors
Michael P. Goldman, Esq., President
Mike Goldman is a Partner at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP in the firm’s Mergers & Acquisitions practice group. His practice focuses on public and private mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, and other strategic transactions. Mike is the co-chair of the firm’s Richmond office Pro Bono Committee, and a member of the Virginia Bar Association’s Pro Bono Counsel. He leads GRBF’s Pro Bono Clearinghouse and Nonprofit General Counsel programs and regularly represents non-profit organizations pro bono in various corporate governance and transactional matters. He has served on both the GRBF Board and its Executive Committee for multiple terms.
Melanie A. Friend, Esq., Vice President
Melanie Friend is a Partner at CowanGates whose practice focuses on divorce, child custody and visitation, spousal support, child support, adoption, and prenuptial agreements. She is qualified as a guardian ad litem for children. Melanie is also trained to represent parties in the collaborative divorce process. Melanie is Past President of the Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association, serves on the board of the Richmond Bar Association, and a member of the Lewis F. Powell, Jr. American Inn of Court, the Richmond Bar Association, the Chesterfield County Bar Association, the Metro Richmond Family Law Bar Association, and the Family Law Section of the Virginia State Bar.
Seth A. Schaeffer, Esq., Secretary
Seth Schaeffer is a partner at McGuireWoods LLP in the firm’s Antitrust, Trade & Commercial Litigation Department. He focuses his practice primarily on consumer financial services and antitrust litigation. Seth also helps oversee the firm’s provision of pro bono legal services in connection with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Law Clinic. He has served as Chair of the Board of Trustees for St. Mary’s Episcopal School and currently is serving on the Vestry of St. Mary’s Church. Seth also Co-Chairs the St. Mary’s CARITAS outreach program, which provides temporary shelter for Richmond’s homeless population. He has served on both the GRBF Board and its Executive Committee for multiple terms.
Sharon C. Stuart, Esq., Treasurer
Sharon Choi Stuart is the founder of Stuart Law Firm, LLC, a consumer debtor bankruptcy boutique law firm. She has been practicing bankruptcy law since 2001. Sharon is admitted to the Virginia Supreme Court, the US District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia, and the US Bankruptcy Court of the Eastern District of Virginia. Sharon is part of the Richmond Bar Association/Virginia State Bar (Bankruptcy Section) and is a member and past president of the Metro Richmond Women’s Bar Association. She has been named 2015 and 2016 Legal Elite for her bankruptcy work and was honored with the Influential Women of Virginia award. Sharon has served on both the GRBF Board and its Executive Committee for multiple terms.
L. Lee Byrd, Esq., Immediate Past President
Lee Byrd is the immediate past president of Sands Anderson PC. Lee’s practice focuses on business and local government disputes and representing clients in employment, intellectual property, and environmental matters. Lee has developed a passion for representing tax-exempt organizations, both in business and litigation matters. Lee is a Fellow of the Virginia Law Foundation, a member of the Advisory Committee of UR’s Institute on Philanthropy, and host of the monthly “Captains’ Table” programs for nonprofit executives. Lee serves as Sands Anderson’s Pro Bono Partner. He has served on both the GRBF Board and its Executive Committee for multiple terms.
Hon. Catherine C. Hammond, Ret., Executive Committee
Judge Hammond retired from the Henrico Circuit Court after 16 years of judicial service. From 1994 to 1998 Judge Hammond was the Deputy Attorney General for Civil Litigation, responsible for all tort claims against the state, state employment disputes, state construction litigation, and public utility cases for rate regulation and the demutualization of Blue Cross and Blue Shield. She personally appeared on behalf of the Commonwealth in state and federal courts, trial and appellate, and at the SCC. Before her appointment by the Attorney General, she practiced commercial litigation, representing a variety of large and small businesses, banks, hospitals, physician groups, and insurers. On the bench, Judge Hammond and Judge Gary Hicks worked closely with the Henrico County Manager to improve community health by creating the first Drug Treatment Court in Henrico. Judge Hammond also was designated by the Chief Justice to hear annexation cases statewide. In Henrico, she heard all matters related to the Commissioner of Accounts, and she currently serves on the Standing Committee for Commissioners of Accounts. A lifelong volunteer, Judge Hammond was recognized by Virginia Lawyers’ Weekly among its Influential Women of Virginia and is a recipient of the MRWBA Award of Achievement. As a mediator, Judge Hammond has continued to develop her understanding of divorce and its effect on family life. Judge Hammond became Managing Director of Juridical Solutions in 2018. She has served on both the GRBF Board and its Executive Committee for multiple terms.
Brent M. Timberlake, Esq., Executive Committee
Brent Timberlake is Vice President and Chief Counsel of Capital One’s Card Litigation, Subpoena, and Intake Teams. Brent serves as Immediate Past President of the Legal Information Network for Cancer Board of Directors and is actively involved in a number of pro bono organizations and efforts in the Richmond area. He has served on both the GRBF Board and its Executive Committee for multiple terms.
Cyril F. Coombs, Esq.
Cyril Coombs served as Assistant General Counsel for Dominion Resources Services, Inc., a subsidiary of Dominion Resources Inc., a fully integrated Fortune 500 energy company with a presence in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and West regions of the U.S. He joined the Company in 1999 until his retirement in 2020 and was a member of the Company’s Law Department, working in the Litigation, Labor & Employment Group and currently serves as the Law Department’s Pro Bono Liaison. He has served on both the Board of GRBF and its Executive Committee for multiple terms.
Heather G. Williams
Heather Williams is a Director in the international financial consulting firm Protiviti. Heather is a CPA, Certified Insolvency and Restructuring Advisor (CIRA), and Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF). As a financial advisor, Heather represents the interests of debtors, creditors, and other parties-in-interest in bankruptcy cases and litigation related thereto. She has served both on the GRBF Board and its Executive Committee for multiple terms.
Daniel G. Bloor, Esq.
Dan Bloor is Associate General Counsel for CarMax and Director of its Store Operations Litigation Team, which manages all of CarMax’s consumer and business litigation. Dan initiated and has lead the CarMax legal department’s pro bono efforts and sits on the department’s pro bono committee.
Annette Cousins is a Senior Program Manager at The Community Foundation, where she works with nonprofits to strengthen their organizational and governance practices to better serve the Greater Richmond community. She is Board President at the Neighborhood Resource Center of Greater Fulton and a previous Chair of the Board for Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Karl A. Doss, Esq.
Karl is the Deputy Director of the Legal Services Corporation of Virginia and previously served as Director of Access to Legal Services at the Virginia State Bar for four years. His professional experience also includes positions as the Director of Training and Professional Development with the National Legal Aid & Defender Association in Washington, DC, the Director of Training and Attorney Certification with the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission, the Director of the Department of Judicial Programs with the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia, and as a Deputy Public Defender in the Office of the Norfolk Public Defender. Karl serves as a member of the Virginia Access to Justice Commission and is co-chair of the Commission’s Pro Bono Coordinating Consortium.
Mahlon G. Funk, Jr., Esq.
Bud previously served as chair of Hirschler’s highly-regarded trial practice. He has been blessed with more than 40 years of wonderful opportunities to serve deserving clients in federal and state courts in Virginia and nationwide, the Southern District of New York, and the Virginia Supreme Court. He has represented clients in matters as diverse as securities litigation and arbitration, products liability, medical and professional malpractice, catastrophic personal/brain injury, wrongful death, employment law, estate, and trust litigation, land use litigation, savings and loan institution failures, law firm and physician practice group split-ups, public utility regulatory proceedings, tax litigation, shareholder oppression/corporate governance matters, state agency professional licensing hearings and white-collar crime. These matters have often involved very substantial monetary amounts at issue.
Christopher E. Gatewood, Esq.
Chris Gatewood is a partner at Threshold Counsel, PC, working with corporate, intellectual property, startup, and high-growth legal matters, for solo founders and for large multi-nationals. Chris is also a founder of Name Warden, Resounding.co, Legull, and the 804ork cookbook series.
Erin S. Whaley, Esq.
Erin Whaley is a partner at Troutman Pepper where she represents healthcare providers, payers, and health IT vendors on the full spectrum of legal issues they confront on a daily basis. Erin serves as the Pro Bono Partner for Troutman Pepper’s Richmond office where she encourages and coordinates office-wide participation in pro bono efforts. She is also the Chairperson of the Rural Education Foundation Board of Trustees and serves on the Board of Directors of the Preemie Parent Alliance.
Henry I. Willett III, Esq.
Henry Willett is a litigation partner Christian & Barton. He represents clients in litigation involving healthcare-related matters, the enforcement of non-compete and non-solicitation agreements, intellectual property matters, products liability claims, business and construction disputes, professional malpractice claims, and financial services disputes. He is a member of the Virginia State Bar Council, a past chair of the Litigation Section of the Bar Association of the City of Richmond, and chair of his firm’s Associate Training and Evaluation Committee.
Taylor D. Brewer, Esq.
Taylor D. Brewer is an attorney at Moran Reeves Conn, where she focuses her practice on the defense of hospitals, physicians, nurses, nursing homes, dentists, and other health care providers. Her work includes medical malpractice defense and administrative matters including state board licensing and credentials. Taylor represents Moran Reeves Conn on Firms In Service Richmond and is the firm’s pro bono contact. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys and is a member of Reveille United Methodist Church.
Hon. Melvin R. Hughes, Ret.
Judge Hughes retired from the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond with over 33 years of judicial experience. First serving as a Judge of the General District Court, Manchester Division, he joined the Circuit Bench in 1984. On the Circuit Court, Judge Hughes heard only civil cases. He was well known for his depth of experience in Virginia law, Virginia procedure, and evidence. Judge Hughes has presided over thousands of jury trials, including personal injury, business, commercial, and medical malpractice. The Chief Justice appointed Judge Hughes to the Committee on Virginia Model Jury Instructions which updates jury instructions as new cases are decided each year. Before his election to the bench, Judge Hughes was in private practice specializing in personal injury and domestic relations. He was a founding member of the Richmond firm of Chambliss, Cunningham, Hughes, and Macbeth. In addition to mediating and sitting by designation, Judge Hughes enjoys his cattle farm in Palmyra.
Sarah B. Warner, Esq.
When Virginia small businesses seek loans in order to grow, they often wind up receiving capital guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Much of Sarah Warner’s practice is representing lenders that make these SBA-backed loans. She assists financial institutions both inside Virginia and outside of the Commonwealth doing business here in navigating the SBA’s voluminous loan requirements.
In addition, Sarah also represents individuals and institutions buying commercial and residential real estate throughout Virginia and North Carolina, both states where she is licensed to practice. Prior to law school, Sarah spent four years at the American Bar Association’s Central and East European Law Initiative, focusing on legal development programs in Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. During that time, she helped create a law school exchange program between U.S. and Balkan law schools.
Sarah lives in Richmond with her husband and two daughters. An avid dog lover, you can sometimes find her rescue dog, Aida, providing legal support from the floor of Sarah’s office. You can also find Sarah running the roads and riverside trails of RVA.
Mary E. Davis, Esq.
Mary Elizabeth “Betsy” Davis is a partner in the Labor and Employment Group of Whitfield Taylor Preston. She focuses her practice on advising management in all areas of labor and employment law. She works across industries ranging from health care and higher education to manufacturing and golf to understand the particular needs of her clients in these industries. She regularly represents employers in state and federal courts in the areas of discrimination, fair labor standards, family and medical leave, wrongful discharge, covenants not to compete, breaches of employment contracts, as well as other state and federal employment issues. She counsels and represents clients in defense of EEOC charges and DOL investigations.
Betsy uses her litigation experience to counsel clients with a goal of eliminating risk and placing the client in the best position should litigation arise. She provides advice and management training to raise awareness and ensure compliance with employment laws. She routinely reviews and develops employee policies, handbooks, offer letters, employment contracts, separation agreements, and other related documents. She is frequently contacted by clients to assist in handling difficult termination and hiring issues, as well as sensitive matters involving restrictive covenants and trade secrets.
Ami Kim, J.D., Executive Director
Ami Kim comes to GRBF from VPM, where she led digital media strategy as part of the station’s leadership team. Ami is a recovering lawyer, with experience in private practice at Sands Anderson and as part of Capital One’s General Counsel Department. She hopes to use her nonprofit operational expertise and passion for innovation and process optimization to help GRBF expand its reach and influence in Central Virginia and beyond. Ami lives with her husband, 3 young adult kids, and 2 neurotic dogs in Midlothian, and she enjoys photography and singing with the choir of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.
Shane Harper, Director of Administration & Programs
Shane Harper has a background in client services, relationship management, administration, business operations, and strategic planning. He is a public relations/communications major and business administration associate. He is a member of the James River Outdoor Coalition and Friends of Pump House. Shane also works with several local nonprofits in the Richmond and Southwest Virginia areas focusing on feeding the hungry, mentoring individuals impacted by substance abuse, homelessness, and incarceration, as well as outdoor trail and river cleanup.
Hannah Brechlin, Eviction Diversion Program Manager
Hannah Brechlin has a background in justice reform, client advocacy, and volunteer coordination. She is a former paralegal and social worker and is currently pursuing a Master of Social Work with a concentration in administration and policy practice. Throughout her career, she has worked with several Richmond nonprofits leading cognitive-behavioral therapy groups, providing individual client services, overseeing programs and special events, and maintaining community partnerships. Hannah is passionate about community and volunteer engagement and hopes to continue challenging social injustice through her work with the Greater Richmond Bar Foundation.