Lawrence Warren I'Anson was born April 21, 1907 in Portsmouth, Virginia. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from William & Mary in 1928 and his LL.B. at the University of Virginia in 1931. Admitted to the bar in 1931, he began practice in Portsmouth the same year. From 1938 to 1941, he was Commonwealth's Attorney for the city of Portsmouth and, in 1941, became judge of the Hustings Court there. Judge I'Anson remained in that position until he was elected to the Supreme Court of Appeals on September 3, 1958. When Chief Justice Harold Snead retired in 1974, Justice I'Anson became Chief Justice of the Court. He remained on the Court until he resigned on January 1, 1981.
Justice I'Anson received an honorary LL. D. from William & Mary in 1964. He was a member of Order of the Coif, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Alpha Delta, Phi Kappa Alpha and Omicron Delta Kappa. He was the former Director of the American Judicature Society, former Chairman of the National Conference of' Chief Justices, member of the Board of Directors of the National Center for State Courts. Justice I'Anson also received the American Judicature Society's Lincoln Harley Award in 1973 and the University of Virginia Sesquicentennial Award in 1969. Justice I'Anson died December 17, 1990.