Howard Gwynn Recognized in Virginia Lawyers Hall of Fame

Logo: Gold & Blue Star-Shaped Image with a Column in the Center and the words "Virginia Lawyers Hal of Fame" in gold and blue letters below the star.

[Newport News, VA  May 20, 2024] —  Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard E. Gwynn has been named to the Virginia Lawyer’s Hall of Fame by Virginia Lawyer’s Weekly. The Virginia Lawyers Hall of Fame honors members of Virginia’s legal community who have been practicing for 30 years or more, and have made an enduring positive contribution to the legal field. Criteria for selection include: career accomplishments, contributions to the profession, contributions to the development of the law, and efforts to increase access to justice.

Mr. Gwynn will be recognized at the Hall of Fame Ceremony, presented by Virginia Lawyers Weekly, on Thursday May 23, 2024, at The John Marshall Ballrooms in Richmond, VA. 

An article in the publication said, “Leading an office of more than 75 attorneys and staff, Howard E. Gwynn has been the elected Commonwealth’s Attorney for Newport News for 43 years. . . [H]e champions programs and community outreach to ensure fair treatment for crime victims and their families, and has mentored countless other lawyers and legal professionals.”  Fifteen attorneys who have worked for Gwynn have gone on to become judges.

Gwynn speaks to reporters
"I have always tried to hire attorneys with certain values and to create an office environment where those values will flourish: honesty, integrity, fairness, compassion, accountability, responsibility, commitment; and service. The fundamental directive that I have insisted that they follow is: 'Always do what you think is right and just.'"
Newport News Commonwealth's Attorney, Howard E. Gwynn portrait.
Howard Gwynn
Commonwealth's Attorney

Born and raised in Newport News, the fourth of five children, Howard’s early life experiences shaped his understanding of the critical need for a justice system that serves all members of the community fairly. A product of the city’s public school system, Gwynn’s educational journey at Carver High School, while it was still a racially segregated institution, underscored the profound impact of systemic inequalities. His experiences from that time fuel his lifelong dedication to fostering a fair and inclusive legal system.

Howard’s father moved here in the 1940s from rural North Carolina to work in the Shipyard. “From my father, I learned the value of hard work and of always doing your best,” said Gwynn.  His mother stayed at home and raised five kids. “From her, I learned to have compassion for others and to put others first. I have always tried to live by one of her favorite expressions: ‘The rent that you pay for the blessing of life is service,'” Gwynn added. After graduating as the the valedictorian of Carver High School, he went on to obtain an Ivy League education, with an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth University and a juris doctorate from the University of Michigan, before returning to his hometown to serve as an assistant prosecutor before his election as the Commonwealth’s Attorney in 1990.

"My biggest challenge is always to foster a work environment where all employees feel valued, respected and heard. And then find staff members who excel in that environment. I'm incredibly thankful for the team we have at the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office. I would not be successful without them."
Newport News Commonwealth's Attorney, Howard E. Gwynn portrait.
Howard Gwynn
Commonwealth's Attorney

Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney
Phone: 757-926-7443
2501 Washington Avenue, 6th Floor
Newport News, VA 23607

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Virginia FOIA Information

The Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney prosecutes criminal cases that occur within the City of Newport News, on behalf of the citizens of the Commonwealth. The elected Commonwealth’s Attorney is Mr. Howard E. Gwynn.