By Callie Hietala
City Attorney and Assistant City Manager Eric Monday was selected as a 2022 fellow by the Virginia Law Foundation (VLF).
The organization is, according to board president John McGavin, “the preeminent nonprofit organization in the law business in our state.”
“Nominated confidentially by their peers, Virginia Law Foundation Fellows are recognized for leadership in their practices, their communities, and the Commonwealth,” the foundation’s website states. “The Class of 2022 joins a group of more than 600 of the best and brightest legal practitioners in Virginia who are committed to the highest ideals of the law and exemplify the concept of citizen lawyer.”
The VLF will host a virtual induction ceremony for its new fellows on Jan. 26.
McGavin said the foundation does several things but “overall, the first thing we do is recognize by invitation lawyers who are preeminent in the practice of law, who are leaders in the community, and leaders in the bar.”
The idea behind the honor, he said, stems from the “traditional view of a lawyer not only working hard and succeeding, but working hard to make his or her community better, and working hard to be a leader in his or her community, and that’s what we recognize.
“It’s a high honor” to be recognized as a fellow, McGavin said, and one that “very few lawyers have,” but “there’s a responsibility that comes with it to be a leader and to continue on your good work” within the community.
McGavin said Monday and other fellows serve as ambassadors “for what’s right and just and proper,” in keeping with the spirit of the foundation, which makes charitable grants each year to support its three areas of focus—the rule of law, access to justice, and legal education.
This year, he said the VLF will provide nearly $700,000 in grants to help those in need with access to justice.
“If you’re sick or indigent or poor, or you lost your job and you need legal services, our funding is out into the community across the state of Virginia in various ways to try to help,” he said.
Monday, who has served as Martinsville’s city attorney since 2003, said he was both flattered and honored to be selected for the prestigious honor.
He said he grew up in a civic-minded household. Both of his parents, also attorneys, instilled the values of community service in him from an early age, a legacy Monday said he hopes he is passing on to his own son.
“Both of them were involved in the community, and they made it very clear to me that it was expected that if you were going into the legal profession, they felt it was also important to do things for your community,” Monday recalled. “I’ve always tried to get involved in things, and that continued after I began my legal career.”
Monday received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Virginia (UVA.) During his time there, he worked as a research specialist in Virginia’s local government at the university’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. He served as a research specialist for the Governor’s Commission on Ethics and Government, and as a Governor’s Fellow in the office of Virginia’s Attorney General.
After receiving his law degree, Monday clerked for the Honorable Jackson Kiser, Chief U.S. District Judge for Western Virginia. He then worked as an associate attorney for Young, Haskins, Mann & Gregory.
He followed in his parents’ footsteps and opened his own Martinsville-based practice in 1998. Monday worked as the County Attorney for Patrick County from 2004-2008 and began working as Martinsville’s city attorney in 2003.
In addition to his academic and professional accomplishments, Monday has continued to engage with several nonprofit, civic, and other organizations in Martinsville, Henry County, and surrounding areas.
He has served on the board of directors for many organizations, including the Patrick County’s JEB Stuart Birthplace, the Patrick County Economic Development Authority, the SPCA of Martinsville-Henry County, the Virginia Local Government Attorneys Association, the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation, and the Henry County-Martinsville Social Services Board.
He is past president of the Patrick County Chamber of Commerce, the Carlisle School Board of Trustees, and the Martinsville-Henry County Historical Society (where he still serves on the board.) He previously served as chairman of deacons at Starling Avenue Baptist Church in Martinsville, and chairman of the Henry County-Martinsville Social Services Board.
Currently, Monday sits on the Board of Governors at Chatmoss Country Club, is the Southside Virginia representative on the Board of Governors for the Virginia Bar Association, the state chancellor for the Virginia Society Sons of the American Revolution, and is on the Virginia Commission for the 250th Anniversary of the American Revolution.
“I think it’s important to do that,” Monday said of his community activities. “Martinsville and Henry County have been really good to me, and I think it’s important to give back to the community.”
The city’s mayor, Kathy Lawson, said, “we are very fortunate in Martinsville to have Eric Monday as council’s attorney, but he rises above and does so much for others in the community.
“Whether it’s researching for an organization, providing assistance for legal matters, to being a kindred soul helping someone through a challenging time, Eric does so unselfishly,” Lawson said. “I have found him to be a wealth of knowledge and willing to share his experience and expertise. He is a true professional and a loving husband and father. We are blessed to have him in our community and our city.”