Michael Chernau receives the the 2019 A. Robert Cherin Award for Outstanding Deputy or Assistant Local Government Attorney at LGA"s Spring Conference in Norfolk.


           The Local Government Attorneys of Virginia, Inc. proudly honors Michael S. J. Chernau with the A. Robert Cherin Award for his exemplary public service and his unwavering commitment to the highest ethical and professional principles, a commitment which enhances the image of every attorney in our organization.

           Mike has served Chesterfield County as an Assistant, Senior Assistant, and Deputy County Attorney since 1991, after beginning his well-regarded legal career in private practice. There is little that Mike has not done for Chesterfield County in his 28 years with the County Attorney’s Office. He litigates tax, condemnation, bankruptcy, civil rights, employment, and land use cases in both state and federal court and handles all related appeals. He is part of the team that represents the County’s Planning Department and the Planning Commission. He advises Chesterfield’s airport; its Economic Development program; its Parks and Recreation, Emergency Communications, Accounting, and Juvenile Detention Departments; as well as the County’s Treasurer and Commissioner of the Revenue.

           Mike is best known for his work representing the Department of Social Services – which includes overseeing the work of two other social services attorneys. He has a passion for helping our most vulnerable citizens. Mike’s expertise in, and commitment to, social services law are demonstrated by his service as a mentor to attorneys throughout the State on all legal, administrative, and advocacy aspects of protection of children and the elderly. He has been a trainer for the Virginia Institute for Social Services Training Activities and for Court Appointed Special Advocates and has presented at the UVA School of Law on the Clinical Placement Program. He was the inaugural chair of the LGA Social Services Practice Group, serving as its chair for eight years. He is the author of the LGA Handbook chapter on Social Services Law and has spoken at numerous LGA conferences. Mike received the 2008 LGA Special Projects Award for writing the amicus brief and arguing the landmark case of Lynchburg DSS v. Cook before the Virginia Supreme Court, a case which solidified the authority of social services departments in child custody disputes. Mike’s service to local and state bar and social services organizations would fill volumes.

           Mike aggressively represents his clients and does so with an unswerving fidelity to ethics and professionalism. Mike is well-known for his profound grace under fire. The greater the stress, the more unflappable Mike becomes. Mike’s reputation in this regard recently earned him membership on the Virginia State Bar’s Harry L. Carrico Professionalism Course faculty.

           Mike’s concern for the welfare of children extends outside of his professional life. He is a volunteer tutor under the YMCA Mentor Program.

Mike is devoted to his family and loves taking family trips with his wife and three daughters. As he is an avid runner and outdoorsman, these trips often involve hiking long distances and over mountains.

           THEREFORE, in recognition of his many achievements, his laudable service to our profession, and his admirable character, the Local Government Attorneys of Virginia, Inc. on this 5th day of April 2019, enthusiastically and gratefully bestows the 2019 A. Robert Cherin Award upon MICHAEL S. J. CHERNAU.