Maybe it’s because he comes from a family of doctors, or maybe it’s because he graduated from William & Mary Law School, but Kyle Elliott feels a sense of duty when he gets up and goes to work. Elliott fully embodies the idea of the “citizen lawyer,” someone who deeply understands the law and uses this knowledge to lead his community forward.
“I was lucky enough to get my first job out of law school with the Richmond City attorney’s office,” says Elliott. “I really wanted to be in the courtroom and
try cases and defend people’s rights.”
Elliott transitioned from the world of civil litigation into private practice, helping small businesses navigate employment laws. In January 2022, he became in-house counsel for the Virginia Community Healthcare Association (VCHA), an organization he worked closely with while in private practice. The VCHA represents health centers around the state, making sure they can provide quality primary healthcare to all patients regardless of their ability to pay.
“In many parts of the state these community health centers are the only providers of primary care,” says Elliott. “They are truly a safety net for people.”
Moving out of the fast-paced world of business law has allowed Elliott time to devote to organizations that align with his values. He serves on a board
of commissioners for the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA), helping to administer public housing through federal grants; is on the
board of Read to Them, a nonprofit that promotes childhood literacy; and served as the Museum District Association president at a critical juncture.
Also, Elliott and his neighbors were in the thick of the action during the pandemic and civil unrest in the summer of 2020. “It was a compelling time to
be president,” says Elliott. “As one of the youngest, if not the youngest ever president of MDA, and the first ever Black president, I felt the need to say, ‘This is why people are marching.’ I’m not going to condemn them for expressing the view that Black lives matter— we need to recognize that.’”
It was only natural when, in 2021, the citizen lawyer ran for the Virginia House of Delegates on a platform of fully funding public schools, providing access to primary health care and affordable housing. “It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, and also the most rewarding,” says Elliott.
Although he did not win his seat, Elliott says he feels confident he can accomplish much in his current position. “Where I am now, I really can connect
all of the things I’m passionate about—health care, housing, education—even though I’m not doing it from an elected seat, I’m still doing it,” he says.
And if the right opportunity to run for office again presented itself ?
“I wouldn’t say no,” he says.