Robert E. Shoun, one of Virginia’s most respected and influential family law attorneys, died of unknown causes on July 22, 2015. He was 75 years old.
There was an unpretentious quality about Mr. Shoun that reflected his roots growing up on a small farm in southern Virginia. He excelled in academic and extracurricular pursuits as early as high school, when he was elected Mr. Future Business Leader of America for Virginia, and representing Virginia, finished second in the nation’s annual spelling competition. Mr. Shoun was a self-described “sports fanatic,” starting back in his days as a 10-year-old Little Leaguer and high school baseball and basketball letterman. Such experiences spurred his love for the Boston Red Sox, Washington Redskins (season ticket holder since 1967), and Duke Blue Devils basketball, as well as what his friends describe as an encyclopedic knowledge of sports history and trivia.
Mr. Shoun attended Randolph-Macon College, where he excelled academically (Phi Beta Kappa) and in a multitude of extracurricular activities, including two years serving as president of the college’s largest national fraternity. He proceeded then to Duke University Law School, on full academic scholarship, and following law school volunteered for a three-year tour of duty as a Captain in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps (“JAGC”). That included a year in Vietnam, where he alternately prosecuted and defended general court martials and authored a weekly article in Pacific Stars and Stripes on federal tax law.
Following his JAGC tour, Mr. Shoun accepted a position with a small but prominent Northern Virginia law firm, which introduced him to family law and to civil jury trial practice. In the latter, Mr. Shoun served as lead counsel in more than 40 jury trials. Thereafter, ambitious but “scared beyond belief,” he launched his own solo law practice devoted to family law. Over the years he transitioned from solo practitioner to senior partner of the firm ShounBach, one of largest family law firms in the Commonwealth. Mr. Shoun’s clients over the years included high-profile corporate executives, national political figures, celebrated sports icons, and scores of business entrepreneurs.
Mr. Shoun authored scores of published family law articles and conducted more than 120 continuing legal education seminars for attorneys and judges throughout Virginia. Mr. Shoun was first invited by the Virginia Supreme Court in 1990 to appear as a lecturer on domestic relations case law at the annual Virginia Judicial Conference, an invitation which was repeated and accepted by Mr. Shoun for 17 consecutive years.
He has been described as the “gold standard” for which all practitioners should strive to become and a class act that embodied the spirit of civility at the highest professional level.
Countless lawyers often sought out his time for advice and guidance which he generously provided. He had a superb sense of the legal ability of younger lawyers; hence his firm has and will continue to carry on his legacy.
Mr. Shoun said in an interview that he loved family law because it offered him the privilege to help each client though the most emotionally complex period of his or her life. He further went on to say that he believed he was good at that.
Robert Shoun is survived by his wife, Debbie Shoun, his sister, Martha L. Stout, and three children, Kathryn, Michael and Robert.
Services will be held Thursday July 30, 2015 at 1 p.m., at the Centreville United Methodist Church located at 6400 Old Centreville Road, Centreville, VA 20121. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Dunn-Chadwick Fellowship c/o Legal Services of Northern Virginia, 4080 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax Virginia 22030, in memory of Robert E. Shoun. Donations can also be made via the LSNV website indicating it is for the Dunn-Chadwick Fellowship in memory of Robert E. Shoun.