Arlington lawyer Benjamin N.A. Kendrick will be nominated by the county's legislative delegation to fill the Arlington Circuit Court seat vacated last week by the elevation of Judge Charles H. Duff to the new Virginia Court of Appeals.

The five-member delegation's recommendation, which followed interviews with candidates for the post late last week, is likely to be ratified by the state legislature in a session that begins today.

The $62,700-a-year judgeship was vacated by Duff Thursday, when he joined the new 10-member appeals court.

Kendrick, 44, who received his law degree from Howard University in 1968, has tried both criminal and civil cases since he began a private practice in Arlington 16 years ago.

He is perhaps as well known for his athletic accomplishments as litigation. He is a four-time participant in the grueling Ironman World Triathalon in Hawaii, a race that combines a 2 1/2-mile ocean swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a 26.3-mile run. Last October, Kendrick finished the race in 14 1/2 hours, two hours longer than his best recorded time.

In Virginia, state judges are elected by the General Assembly, which usually ratifies the choice of the area's Democratic legislators.

In Arlington, nine persons applied for the judgeship. The nine -- three sitting judges and six lawyers -- were interviewed, ranked by a subcommittee of the Arlington County Bar Association, and then rated by bar association members.

A majority of the subcommittee members rated Kendrick "qualified," and the minority rated him "highly qualified." In the voting, Kendrick received the second highest number of "highly qualified" votes, according to Del. Warren G. Stambaugh (D-Arlington).

The Arlington delegation did not consider anyone other than the nine candidates rated by the bar, Stambaugh said.