Suffolk native named as Hampton judge

Published 10:38 pm Tuesday, March 3, 2009

From the time he was in high school, M. Woodrow Griffin Jr. wanted to be a lawyer. He now has received one of the highest honors that can be given to a lawyer – the General Assembly appointed him to a judgeship in Hampton’s General District Court.

“I feel like it’s an opportunity to continue my legal career in a way that not only serves my community, but will provide satisfaction to me personally,” Griffin said in a phone interview Tuesday.

Griffin graduated from Suffolk High School in 1963, and went on to study at Old Dominion University. After his graduation from ODU, he spent three years in service to the U.S. Marine Corps, and from there went to law school at Memphis State (now the University of Memphis) in Tennessee.

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After graduating from law school in 1974 and passing the Tennessee bar exam, Griffin was a law clerk for a federal trial judge in Memphis for a year. That was when he decided he wanted to come home to Virginia, he said.

After passing the Virginia bar exam and serving as a law clerk to an administrative lawyer in Roanoke, Griffin became an assistant commonwealth’s attorney in Hampton. He later went into private practice in 1976, specializing in trial work, and has been there ever since.

Griffin found out he had been appointed to the judgeship on Saturday night. He is scheduled to take the bench for the first time on April 1.

“I’m honored,” he said. “I really am looking forward to it.”