Wilbur C. Hall, in whose memory the law library is named, was a figure of legendary proportions. His career as a lawyer, state legislator, orator, and public spirited citizen spanned more than 50 years. His reputation as a "lawyer's lawyer" and as "the best prepared lawyer before the bar of any court in Virginia" extended far beyond the confines of his hometown in Loudoun County.
He was elected to the Virginia General Assembly in 1918 at the age of 24 and continued to serve until 1935. He was the author or sponsor of much far-reaching legislation and was the first chairman of the Virginia Conservation Commission. He had few peers as an orator and was in constant demand as a speaker on all manner of occasions.
A 1915 graduate of the Washington and Lee School of Law, he made the University a special object of his devotion and generosity. During his lifetime, he made several sizable gifts to the law school program, including a special fund to help support the Burks Moot Court Competition and a loan fund for deserving law students.
Upon his death on August 21, 1972, at the age of 80, the bulk of his estate, amounting to more than $1.5 million, came to Washington and Lee and was assigned to the development of the law school library, a project he had long cherished.
Wilbur C. Hall received many honors, but one that he appreciated most was the honorary doctorate degree Washington and Lee bestowed upon him in 1967. "It was the happiest moment of my life," he said.