of the Campbell-Wallace MTM Service Award
September 30, 2011
Bill Irvin was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1950, and has spent his life in the greater Richmond area.
He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1973 with a BS degree in Commerce, majoring in accounting. After working in his father’s accounting firm during the summers, he determined that he did not want to be an accountant.
In 1976, Bill earned his law degree from the University of Richmond’s T. C. Williams School of Law, where he served on the Law Review. He received his LLM in taxation from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary in l980. He also took courses at the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond.
After 18 years with a mid size law firm in downtown Richmond, of which he was a founding partner and head of their Taxation and Estate Planning Division, in 2002 Bill decided to form his own law firm in which he could have more flexibility in following his passion, helping people who are marginalized and with little hope of having anyone stepping up to be their advocate. This would enable him to determine the amount of cases and hours of pro bono work he would do without having to explain to his partners.
Bill’s practice encompasses all areas of commercial and corporate representation. He also maintains an active income tax planning and estate planning practice for individuals and couples to preserve holdings for future generations.
Since 1976, Bill has served as a member of the Tax and Business Law sections of both the American Bar Association and the Virginia Bar Association. He currently serves as a member of the Estate Planning Council of Richmond and the University of Richmond Estate Planning Advisory Council, and is a past member of the Chartered Life Underwriters, Richmond Chapter.
Bill has lectured extensively on a variety of topics. He has taught a course on real estate syndications at the T. C. Williams School of Law, and on tax shelters in the Chartered Life Underwriters program. Recent seminar topics include Shareholder Litigation, Successor Liability, Tax-Exempt Organizations, and Ethics.
Bill has served his community in a variety of causes. He has served for nearly 30 years on the Board of Directors for the Friends Association for Children – one of Richmond’s oldest charitable organizations devoted to the care of children now in its second century of service. More than once he has been called upon to chair their board and has twice been the recipient of their distinguished service award. He has also held key positions on school boards and civic associations and helped coach a high school debate team.
In 1973, Bill married Pamela Brown, his high school sweetheart. They have two children. Dr. Billy Irvin, an oncologist and hematologist, practices medicine and is deeply involved in breast cancer research at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill. Billy and Suzanne are the parents of Bill and Pamela’s only grandchild, Liam.
Julie, their daughter, is a second year student at the College of William and Mary’s Marshall-Wythe School of Law after several years of teaching high school and college English. She and Colin, her husband, currently live in Williamsburg.
In 1993, when the relationship between his church and his pastor began to sour, Bill stepped forth as a strong advocate for his pastor. He exemplified the meaning of Jesus’ term “paraclete.”
Following those stormy days of transition in 1993 and 1994, his pastor shared with Bill a dream that began to grow with conviction in his heart. The ministry would reach out to ministers and their families who were being beaten up and often discarded. It would be a ministry that would help them not only experience healing, but grow strong at the broken places. The ministry would focus on prevention, as well as reclaiming them for ministry. Bill used his legal expertise to help shape the dream and to help structure it in such a way as to involve many people from various walks of life, especially professionals with specific skills. Bill did and continues to do MTM’s legal work pro bono. With the aid of those recruited for the first board of trustees, along with help from many who joined the dream’s growing movement, the dream was transformed into reality.
As MTM celebrates its 17th anniversary, the MTM Board of Trustees can feel a sense of satisfaction in realizing that 1,001 ministers/spouses have participated in one of the 101 Healthy Transitions Wellness Retreats for Ministers and Spouses held in eleven states. The participants have come from 34 states plus Canada and the Bahamas and have represented 37 denominational affiliations.
While helping to develop MTM, Bill was also involved with another group starting a new church. Trinity Church, Baptist, was small, but was a group of people on a meaningful venture of faith who were also committed to the MTM mission and ministry.
Trinity Church was unique in its involvement in the community and in ministry to marginalized people. Through Bill’s legal expertise, during the first ten years the church helped raise money for several individuals who were going through bone marrow transplantation who otherwise might have been unable to receive transplant treatment.
Bill led in the purchase of property for the church in 1997 that would also include an office for MTM. Bill noted that the property was highly marketable and could later be sold at a profit enabling the church to have the equity to buy or build an adequate building. That dream reached fruition this year, 2011.
A few years after purchasing Trinity Church’s first property a block away from here, Bill suggested the possibility of making the church’s debt a ministry. A retired missionary, one of Bill’s clients and a close friend, explained that with interest rates dropping, earnings from his savings simply were not enough for him to support himself.
Bill developed a plan enabling Trinity Church to pay off its loan from the denomination and sell the debt to this missionary and some others facing the same fate, increasing their quality of life by doubling the percent of interest they received from their investments and at the same time reducing the church’s interest rate by 20 percent. These people’s investments were secured by the value of the property.
Bill’s life has been a life of vision, compassion, and an eagerness to think outside the box. He has a strong commitment to social justice. And his innovative spirit and willingness to risk have distinguished him in whatever group he finds himself. That compassion caused him to fly to Alabama for the funeral of his pastor’s son thus ministering to them during their time of need.
The MTM Executive Committee believes that it is most appropriate that William J. Irvin be the recipient of the first Campbell-Wallace MTM Service Award. Service above self to those in need has become a way of life for Bill and his family.