W. Thomas Chappell

Office Location: Norfolk, VA.

  • B.A. (magna cum laude), College of William & Mary (Government, Economics), 2011
  • J.D.  (magna cum laude, Order of the Coif), University of Richmond School of Law, 2014
Judicial Clerkship
  • Justice S. Bernard Goodwyn, Supreme Court of Virginia, 2014-16
Professional & Community Activities
  • Norfolk-Portsmouth Bar Association
  • Chesapeake Bar Association
  • Virginia Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Community Association Institute, Southeastern Virginia Chapter
  • Virginia Community Association Institute Legislative Action Committee
  • James Kent American Inn of Court
Notable Accomplishments
  • Best Lawyers: Ones To Watch – Appellate Practice (2021-22)
  • Virginia Business, “Legal Elite-Young Lawyers” (2019-present)
  • Virginia Lawyers Weekly, “Up & Coming Lawyer” (2019)

Thomas helps his clients accomplish their goals and solve problems.  While he has diverse experience in a variety of civil litigation areas, his practice focuses on appellate advocacy, trust and estates litigation, land use litigation, collections and representing community associations.

Thomas has an active appellate litigation practice and has represented clients before the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, the Court of Appeals of Virginia, the Supreme Court of Virginia, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  Prior to joining Vandeventer Black, Thomas served as a judicial law clerk for Justice S. Bernard Goodwyn of the Supreme Court of Virginia and as an extern for Judge Roger L. Gregory of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. 


In addition to his appellate practice, Thomas represents client in diverse areas of civil litigation.  Thomas frequently handles trust and estates litigation matters.  He also represents clients in land use disputes.  He has experience representing clients before local Boards of Zoning Appeals.  He also handles collections matters on general district and circuit courts.

Thomas regularly appears on behalf of community associations in courts throughout Hampton Roads.  Thomas frequently presents on diverse legal topics to community association industry groups.  He is actively involved in the Southeastern Virginia Chapter of the Community Association Institute, and is a member of Virginia’s state-wide Community Association Institute’s Legislative Action Committee, which advocates on behalf of community associations in the General Assembly.

Thomas attended the College of William & Mary, where he majored in Government and Economics and received a B.A. (magna cum laude).  He attended the University of Richmond School of Law and earned a J.D. (magna cum laude).  He was a John Marshall Scholar, a member of the University of Richmond Law Review and named to the Order of the Coif and the McNeill Law Society.  He was also an executive board member of the law school’s Christian Law Fellowship.

Outside of the office, Thomas plays volleyball and is an avid William & Mary sports fan.

Chappell Appointed to the Community Associations Institute’s Virginia Legislative Action Committee
/ Firm News
The Virginia Legislative Action Committee (VALAC) of the Community Associations Institute (CAI) recently appointed Vandeventer Black attorney, W. Thomas Chappell, to serve on its committee as a representative of the Southeastern Virginia Chapter of CAI. “I am excited to be part of this great committee that includes so many experienced ...
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Twenty-two Vandeventer Black Attorneys Selected as 2019 Legal Elite
/ Firm News
Twenty-Two Vandeventer Black attorneys are being recognized as ‘Legal Elite’ for 2019 by Virginia Business Magazine. The magazine partners with the Virginia Bar Association every year to grant this award to attorneys nominated by their peers for this recognition. The selected attorneys are: Christopher Ambrosio – Business Law Anne Bibeau ...
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Thomas Chappell Named Up & Coming Lawyer for 2019
/ Firm News
Vandeventer Black LLP attorney W. Thomas Chappell was recently recognized by Virginia Lawyers Weekly as one of the ‘Up & Coming Lawyers’ of 2019. According to the publication, this award is given to attorneys with less than 10 years in their practice who are establishing “a name for themselves, go ...
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2020 Legislative Changes Affecting Virginia Community Associations
The 2020 legislative session was notable for a few reasons.  First, the Democrats held the majority of seats in both houses of the General Assembly for the first time in recent history.  Second, the legislature also took action to address the impacts of COVID-19, which has affected virtually every aspect ...
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The Impact Of Coronavirus On Virginia Community Associations – FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions The information in this article is for general information about the topics discussed and is not legal or tax advice. Nor does any exchange of information associated with this article in any way establish an attorney-client relationship. Which Executive Orders Impact Community Associations and What Do The ...
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COVID-19 Legislative Update: Community Association Boards May Meet Virtually During State of Emergency
On April 22, 2020, the Virginia General Assembly approved two budget amendments recommended by Governor Northam that allow boards of directors of property owners’ associations and condominium unit owners’ associations to meet virtually when the Governor has declared a state of emergency. They will be effective once the Governor signs ...
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