Rupen Shah, the Indian American judge of Virginia was honored with the Clarence M. Dunnaville Jr. Award by Virginia State Bar at the 80th annual meeting in Virginia Beach on June 15.
According to an earlier News India Times report, the award is given to a state lawyer who sets an example exemplifying the goal of encouraging diversity and inclusion in the bar, the judiciary, and the legal profession.
Shah was running three restaurants and a newspaper route in Staunton when his wife, Shruti, encouraged him to follow his passion and attend law school.
According to a press release, he graduated from Syracuse University Law School and went to work as a prosecutor in Augusta County, where he worked for 20 years.
In 2017, Shah was elected by the General Assembly to be the district judge for the 25th district, becoming the first Indian American on the bench in the commonwealth.
Shah has also served as the chair of the VSB Diversity Conference and oversaw the Millennium Diversity Initiative, he has personally created and endowed a fund for The Valley’s Children’s Advocacy Center that counsels and assists children who have been victims of sexual crimes, according to a press release.
“He exemplifies excellence in promoting and working for diversity and ‘serving the underserved.’ As a role model, Judge Shah lights the way for young people to see the possibilities,” Edward L. Weiner of Weiner Spivey & Miller in Fairfax wrote in a statement when he nominated Shah for the award.