Defense attorney Jamilah D. LeCruise of Norfolk has been awarded the 2020 R. Edwin Burnette Jr. Young Lawyer of the Year Award by the Virginia State Bar Young Lawyers Conference.
The award recognizes young lawyers who demonstrate dedicated service to the conference, the legal profession, and the community. LeCruise has served in numerous roles both at the VSB and other bar associations and is a prolific lecturer who donates much of her time to community and civic organizations.
Before opening the Law Office of J. D. LeCruise, she served as an assistant public defender for the City of Norfolk, handling hundreds of criminal cases including felonies, misdemeanors, traffic offenses, and probation violations.
Prior to that role, LeCruise worked as a magistrate attorney for the Office of Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia, where she served as a judicial officer.
Her pro bono involvement includes volunteering abroad with a human rights organization in Ghana, traveling to villages for educational programs and participating in juvenile defense during law school. LeCruise also interned at the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia where she currently serves on the board of directors, and at the Office of the Capital Defender in Richmond, assisting in the defense of individuals charged with death penalty offenses.
LeCruise is the Chair of the Norfolk Portsmouth Bar Association Young Lawyers Section and president of the South Hampton Roads Bar Association. She is also a member of the Old Dominion Bar Association and the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
She is currently serving a four-year term as the secretary of the Virginia State Board of Elections, which is a three-member board appointed by the Governor. She is also a member of the City of Norfolk Board of Zoning Appeals and a former Vice President on the corporate board of directors for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Virginia.
LeCruise is the YLC Liaison and ex-officio member for the Virginia State Bar General Practice Section, in addition to serving as co-chair for the VSB First Day in Practice Seminar. She is a two-time recipient of the YLC Significant Service Award.
LeCruise graduated with honors from the University of Richmond with a degree in political science and earned her law degree from the William & Mary School of Law.