May 03, 2022

Providence Napoleon Posthumously Awarded Dunnaville Achievement Award

Providence Ebubechi Napoleon, past chair of the Virginia State Bar Diversity Conference, has posthumously been awarded the Clarence M. Dunnaville Jr. Achievement Award. The award honors a lawyer who exemplifies “…the conference’s goal of fostering, encouraging, and facilitating diversity and inclusion in the bar, the judiciary, and the legal profession.”

Napoleon passed away on April 19, 2021, at the age of 34. In her short life, she accomplished much, touched the lives of many, and as 2015-16 chair of the Conference was a key advocate for the funding that made the Diversity Conference a fully funded component of the Bar rather than an auxiliary conference. 

At the time of her passing, the Hon. Doris Henderson Causey, former VSB president and Dunnaville Award recipient, and current judge on the Virginia Court of Appeals said, “Providence was such a beautiful person inside and out. The Virginia State Bar is forever thankful and will always remember her unwavering advocacy for the Diversity Conference. Providence made a difference and paved the way for many lawyers and future lawyers.”

After graduating from Florida International University, Napoleon received her law degree from the University of Richmond School of Law cum laude in 2011. She served as a law clerk to the Hon. Roger L. Gregory of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and the Hon. James R. Spencer of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, and as a judicial extern to the Hon. Henry E. Hudson, also of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

She practiced law at McGuire Woods in Richmond before moving to the Washington, DC office of Allen and Overy. She advised clients on complex competition issues, including business actions that may amount to a competition violation, premerger notification filings, and compliance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act.

Napoleon began her bar service as Co-director of the Oliver Hill/Samuel Tucker Pre-Law Institute, a weeklong program that introduces students to the legal profession. She was a young lawyer delegate representing Virginia to the ABA House of Delegates and to the ABA Young Lawyers Division Assembly. She was Chair of the Virginia State Bar Diversity Conference in the 2015-2016 bar year. She served on the Board of Governors for the Young Lawyers Conference from 2014-2018.

Napoleon was recognized as a rising star in the legal profession. She was named a Rising Star by The Legal 500 in 2019 and was named by Legal Bisnow’s Trending 40 as one of the top 40 lawyers under 40 in Washington, DC.

Napoleon is survived by her husband, Wendy, who in November of 2021 welcomed their daughter Emmanuella “Emma” Napoleon via surrogate. Emma’s godmother, 2016-2017 Diversity Conference Chair and Dominion Energy HR & DE&I leader Latoya Asia says of Emma, “She looks so much like her mommy and has her gentle spirit.”

The Dunnaville Award will be presented to Wendy Napoleon on June 16 at the opening reception sponsored by the Diversity Conference at the VSB Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach.