Aerial photograph of the Immaculate Conception Chapel

Elizabeth A. McClanahan '84

Justice, Supreme Court of Virginia

Justice Elizabeth A. McClanahan ’84Elizabeth McClanahan sits as a justice on the Supreme Court of Virginia. She officially joined the court in 2011, when she received a 12-year term.

Justice McClanahan had served on the Virginia Court of Appeals since 2003, and was in her second term in that post when she was elected to the Supreme Court.

She previously served as Virginia's chief deputy attorney general under Republican Jerry Kilgore and was a partner in the Abingdon, Virginia, law firm of Penn, Stuart & Eskridge. She has also served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Energy and Mineral Law Foundation and has been designated an honorary trustee.

A recognized national authority on oil and gas issues, she has published numerous articles on the subject. "Without my legal education at the University of Dayton, I couldn't have done any of this," Justice McClanahan said.

That, combined with her work on the UD Law Review, positioned her for the El Paso Natural Gas Law Fellowship for the Natural Resources Law Center at the University of Colorado School of Law. Through the fellowship, she wrote a well-timed paper on ownership of coalbed methane gas. The paper, published in the Oklahoma Law Review, led to speaking engagements around the country and white papers for the Environmental Protection Agency.

In her volunteer public service life, Justice McClanahan has served as vice rector of the College of William and Mary in Virginia, is the past chairwoman of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, and was chairwoman of the Taskforce on Governance Issues for the Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Higher Education. Judge McClanahan has also received numerous awards for her outstanding community service, including the YWCA Tribute to Women Award for Volunteer Community Service, the Virginia's Cooperative Extension's William Skelton Extension Leadership Award, the Virginia Oil & Gas Association's David M. Young Award, the Radford University Heritage Award, Bridgewater College Outstanding Service Award, Virginia 4-H Foundation Alumni Award, and she was listed among Virginia Business's Legal Elite in 2001 and 2002.