Meet Our Keynote: Justin Whitmel Earley

We are so excited to have Justin Whitmel Earley serve as our keynote at this year's conference. Justin joined the Common Good RVA Planning Team a few years ago and has proven himself to be an asset. Always thoughtful, always humble, always ready to ask the hard questions, Justin helps keep us authentic and on our toes. Some of you might already be familiar with Justin through his work in town as an attorney; his website,; or through his upcoming book, The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction. But in case you aren't familiar with Justin, we wanted to formally "introduce" him to you. We hope you'll take a moment to read about him—and go ahead and start thinking of questions you'd like to ask him when he's with us next month.

(Image and bio courtesy of Justin Whitmel Earley, )

(Image and bio courtesy of Justin Whitmel Earley,

So let's get to know Justin with a quick Q&A...

How did you end up in Richmond? Friends. During law school, my wife, Lauren, and I decided we’d rather move for friends and try to find a job than move for a job and try to find friends. We’ve never regretted that.

What do you do when you're not writing books or preparing to be our keynotespeaker? Between 9 and 5: forming, funding, or selling a company as a business lawyer with Gammon & Grange, P.C. If on a date night: hatching some new plan with Lauren over appetizers at the RVA restaurant of her choice. If on a Friday night: talking some new idea over on a front porch with friends. If by myself: either weight training or baking tartine-style sourdough bread.

What's your favorite place to hang out in town? For personal reading or writing: Saison Market. For hanging out with friends: Saison Market. For just grabbing a quick burger, beer, or chicken biscuit: Saison Market. (I guess I like variety.)

Where can we find you on a typical Saturday? Saturdays are for hanging with our four boys, so some rotation of Sugar Shack, riding bikes on Belle Isle, taking them to Sky Zone, or chopping things down in the woods on my best friend Steve’s land.

What book is currently on your nightstand? Perhaps strangely, I don’t keep books on my nightstand—just water (multiple glasses that aggregate...). But on my desk right now as I write is The World Beyond Your Head by our fellow Richmonder Matthew Crawford (a remarkable book which I go back to over and over) and the one that I’m looking forward to reading next: Twelve Lies that Hold America Captive by Jonathan Walton, a fellow IVPress author.

Who is a fellow Richmonder you'd like to know better? Why? I think I’d have to say the above-mentioned Matthew Crawford. He has been a key source for my reading in recent years. Plus, I like riding motorcycles (even though I sold mine) and he knows how to work on them. But I think we share a passion for how habits of attention don’t just shape personal lives and work, but our understanding of political and community formation. I love people who can track the small things to the big issues, and he’s great at that.

You can follow Justin on Twitter (@thecommonrule) and on Instagram (@justinwhitmelearley).


Tickets for Common Good RVA  2019: Habits for the Common Good are currently on sale for $15. The price goes up to $20 on March 1st. We hope to see you on March 16th!