Kathleen A. Dooley is honored with LGA's highest award, the Edward J. Finnegan Award for Distinguished Service, at LGA's Fall Conference at the Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg:


Kathleen A. Dooley

THE LGA EDWARD J. FINNEGAN AWARD FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE recognizes an individual in the Commonwealth of Virginia who has made significant contributions to local government law or the Local Government Attorneys of Virginia, Inc. The 2019 recipient, Kathleen A. Dooley, epitomizes excellence in her service to both.

            Kathleen has devoted over thirty years to local government law, serving as Assistant City Attorney for Chesapeake, Town Attorney for Blacksburg, and City Attorney for Fredericksburg, where she continues to make significant and enduring contributions to the public good. Known as the “soul of reason,” earning enormous respect from her colleagues and clients alike, she is the consummate advocate, fearless in presenting the most controversial of positions in the most agreeable manner.

            Kathleen has devoted countless hours to LGA, serving on numerous committees, most recently as chairman of an ad hoc committee on public demonstrations. While on the board of directors and as president of LGA from 2001-2002, she reinvigorated the Outreach Committee to the benefit of local government attorneys throughout the Commonwealth. In addition to her LGA contributions, Kathleen served as a board member and President of the Virginia Women Attorneys Association, member of the Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council, member of the Virginia State Bar Committee on Legal Ethics, and most recently, member of the Board of Governors of the Virginia State Bar Local Government Law Section. She has been elected a Fellow of the Virginia Law Foundation and a Local Government Fellow of the International Municipal Lawyers Association.

Kathleen’s devotion to local government law is renowned and her willingness to share her knowledge is evidenced by her participation on numerous panels focused on local government issues, including those sponsored by LGA, the Virginia State Bar, the Virginia Municipal League, the Institute for Local Officials, and several other regional and statewide organizations. Moreover, Kathleen takes special interest in mentoring interns and new attorneys and never hesitates to help her LGA colleagues find answers to thorny legal issues. Her experience, wisdom, and formidable legal reasoning make her a trustworthy authority on local government law.

            In the course of advocating for Fredericksburg, Kathleen has successfully participated in significant cases that impact local government law, including before the Fourth Circuit on the issue of governmental prayer and the Virginia Supreme Court on vested rights.

          Kathleen’s embraces life with courage, humor and zest – championing controversial causes, riding her motorcycle, playing her guitar, traveling the world, and always learning. She happily shares her life with her spouse, Mary Jo, and enjoys a host of activities with her family and friends.

          Finally, Kathleen is the exemplar of integrity and approaches life’s challenges with honesty, zeal and a determination to do the right thing. Notwithstanding her unwavering focus on the best interests of her client, Kathleen’s kindness and respect for others permeates her every endeavor. She inspires each of us by example to always do our best.

            THEREFORE, as a public commendation of her professional achievements in local government law, the legal profession, and her community, the members and board of directors of the Local Government Attorneys of Virginia, Inc., on the 25th day of October, 2019, are pleased to honor and bestow the 2019 EDWARD J. FINNEGAN AWARD FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICE upon KATHLEEN A. DOOLEY.