Tim Heaphy named as U.Va.’s top lawyer

The former U.S. attorney led an independent review that described the University Police Department's response to the white supremacist torchlit march at U.Va. as 'woefully inadequate'


Former U.S. Attorney Tim Heaphy was tasked with leading an independent review of how officials responded to the white supremacist events in Charlottesville in the summer of 2017. Pictured: Heaphy speaking at a press conference in December 2017.  

Geremia Di Maro | Cavalier Daily

The attorney who led a third-party critical review of the law enforcement response to last summer’s white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville will soon become U.Va.’s top lawyer.  

Former U.S. Attorney Tim Heaphy will replace retiring University Counsel Roscoe Roberts at the end of the month, according to a press release issued Thursday. 

The University Counsel — appointed by Virginia’s attorney general — is responsible for representing the University in its legal affairs and providing legal advice for the University’s administration, faculty and staff.

Heaphy, a University alumnus, is currently a partner at Hunton Andrews Kurth and is described on the firm’s website as the chair of its white collar defense and internal investigations practice. 

Heaphy’s report, which was commissioned by the City of Charlottesville, criticized the University Police Department’s response to torch-carrying white supremacists on the Lawn on Aug. 11, 2017 as “woefully inadequate." The review also looked at the responses to last summer’s Ku Klux Klan rally in the city and the violent Unite the Right rally. 

According to the release, Heaphy’s report and its findings led to the development of new policies to determine “how to better manage public protests while also ensuring First Amendment protections and public safety.”

For instance, the City of Charlottesville adopted an ordinance to amend the permitting process for demonstrations and special events, while the University adopted policies — based on suggestions from the Dean’s Working Group — to require permits for “unaffiliated persons” to gather on Grounds. 

Heaphy wrote in an email to The Cavalier Daily he’s looking forward to working at the University and helping the community recover from the rallies. 

“I know the community continues to heal from the events of last August and that the University implemented new policies and procedures enhancing the safety and security of the community,” Heaphy said. “I look forward to contributing to that healing and helping the University emerge stronger in the months ahead.”

Roberts, a former assistant attorney general, began his term as University Counsel in 2014. 

“Tim is an outstanding attorney with a sharp mind and a long history of public service,” University President Jim Ryan said in the release. “He understands the important role the University plays in the community and nation, and his legal expertise will undoubtedly benefit both the commonwealth and UVA.”

This article was updated with additional information about the independent review, to clarify what the University’s release said about the report and to include a statement from Heaphy.

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