Sylvia Clute

What if law and justice fostered transformation?
       How can we get there?

About

Author, Attorney


     Legal System Innovator


            Social Change Agent


Education:

  • Masters of Public Administration, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
  • Juris Doctor, Boston University School of Law
  • Masters of Public Administration, University of California, Berkeley     
  • B. A., Political Science, University of Colorado 


Bar Admissions:

  • Virginia State Bar
  • United States District Court, Eastern and Western Virginia
  • Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • United States Supreme Court Bar


Honors:

  • Honored by Virginia Women Attorney's Assn. as a leader in shaping the law for the 21st century.
  • Selected as a Fellow of the Virginia Law Foundation, a distinction limited to no more than 1% of the membership of the Virginia State Bar, in recognition of the promotion of public understanding of the law, encouragement of excellence in the delivery of legal services and the improvement of the administration of just
  • Commencement Speaker, Randolph Macon Women's College,  Lynchburg, Virginia. Gave speech entitled "Will You Find a Better Way?"
  • Style Magazine, named among Richmond's Best and Brightest Attorneys.
  •  Named an Outstanding Woman of Greater Richmond in the area of Law by the Richmond YWCA.
  •  Recognized by the Virginia Commission on the Status of Women for service to women of Virginia in promoting reform of legislation affecting women
  •  Lifestyle Magazine, named as one of Richmond’s most powerful women.


I was born in 1943, near the end of World War II. It was a time in history when human depravity had reached epoch proportions. The "good people" and the "bad people" both engaged in acts of mass destruction. Hitler's regime systematized the murder of millions. The Japanese raped and plundered their way across continents. The Americans fought valiantly against tyranny, and yet they gained the ignominious distinction of being the only nation to have instantaneously incinerated hundreds of thousands of people with atomic bombs.


But this time in history was followed with leaders of a different kind, leaders whose actions distinguished them from their adversaries. Mahatma Gandhi and his followers drove the British Empire out of India without firing a single shot. Martin Luther King, Jr. led the wholesale change of U.S. laws based on race by preaching non-violent civil disobedience. Nelson Mandela changed the course of South African history by loving unconditionally while in a prison cell.


This has all happened during the span of my lifetime. It has shown me that the choices we make make a difference. Moreover, it has left no doubt in my mind that justice does not require harm to others, not even our "enemies." If we are to leave our children a better world, we must create the means to address our conflicts, not by destroying each other, but by becoming proficient at opening the portal to healing and transformation. 


How is this possible? One path that I have found is unitive justice. For the rest of my life, I will work toward making unitive justice the commonly understood definition of "justice."