Richmond Judge to Speak at Mary Baldwin’s 157th Commencement

May 4, 1999

Kimberly B. O’Donnell, a judge of the Richmond Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, will provide the keynote address at Mary Baldwin University’s 157th commencement at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 23, on the Page Terrace of the Martha S. Grafton Library.

O’Donnell earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Mary Baldwin in 1982. She received her law degree from the University of Richmond’s T. C. Williams School of Law in 1985 and her master’s in pastoral studies from Loyola University in 1994.

Appointed to the bench in November of 1994 by the Virginia General Assembly, O’Donnell was one of the youngest juvenile court judges ever appointed in Virginia and served as the Chief Judge of the juvenile court from 1995 to1997. Prior to becoming a judge, she was a public defender and a prosecutor for various courts in the City of Richmond.

Judge O’Donnell implemented the public defender system in the Richmond Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court where she represented children for seven and one-half years. From 1991 to 1995 she served as a Governor appointee to the Virginia Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Advisory Committee. She also was a contributing author to the Virginia Lawyers Practice Handbook, Juvenile Law and Practice in Virginia.

Her dedication to the rights of children and her numerous community activities have been recognized through awards from the Virginia Women Attorney’s Association as an Outstanding Lawyer in Indigent Advocacy in Virginia (1992) and the Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association as one of the first Women of Achievement recipients in 1994.

A frequent guest speaker for a variety of organizations, O’Donnell has addressed Leadership Metro Richmond, the Society of Professional Newspaper Journalists, and the Virginia Association of Black Women Attorneys. She has also presented at the National Conference on Closed Circuit and Videotaped Testimony of Children.

O’Donnell holds membership in many professional organizations including the Education Committee for the Virginia Association of Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judges; State Federal Judicial Council; and Judicial Conference of Virginia, where she serves as the chairwoman of the Judicial Administration Committee.

She is involved with the Criminal Justice Advisory Board at Virginia Commonwealth University and has volunteered with the Goochland Correctional Center for Women as part of an Mary Baldwin support group. An adjunct faculty member at T.C. Williams School of Law, she is also a consultant for MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice.

Since 1997, she has been president of the Virginia Association of Women Judges; a member of the Virginia State Bar Professionalism Course faculty; and a member of Mary Baldwin’s Advisory Board of Visitors. That same year, she was awarded the Career Achievement Award at Mary Baldwin and, at the invitation of Congressman Bobby Scott, she offered testimony before the Congressional Subcommittee considering changes to the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Act.

While at Mary Baldwin, O’Donnell was elected to Omicron Delta Kappa, the national honor society recognizing leadership. She was chairwoman of the Honor Council, wrote a regular column for Campus Comments, and was a three-year all conference player in basketball. At the T.C. Williams School of Law, she was a member of the National Moot Court Team and graduated with honors as a member of Order of the Barrister.