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.

Vandeventer Black Wins Large Firm (Per Capita) Category in 2018 Virginia Legal Food Frenzy
/ Firm News
Vandeventer Black LLP was the top finisher in Virginia in the Large Firm (per capita) category during the 12th annual Legal Food Frenzy. The Firm raised over $15,000 for the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia as well as contributed volunteer hours and non-perishable food.  This is Vandeventer Black’s second consecutive year ...
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Vandeventer Black Recognized as a Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year
/ Firm News
Vandeventer Black LLP was recognized as Law Firm of the Year (Large Practice) by the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia (LASEV) as part of their Pro Bono Celebration & Recognition Program. The firm was selected for its outstanding contribution of time and resources which provided access to legal services ...
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Thomas Chappell Joins Vandeventer Black’s Maritime Law Department
Vandeventer Black LLP is pleased to announce the addition of W. Thomas Chappell to the firm’s Maritime & Admiralty Law department as an associate attorney. Chappell will focus on maritime-related services, contracts and matters. He will work principally in the firm’s Norfolk office. “Thomas is a great addition to the ...
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We’ve Been Sued! We Need to Sue! What to Expect When Your Association Goes to General District Court
Community associations are not immune from being sued or having to file suit.  Community associations frequently are in court for issues such as the collection of unpaid assessments from residents, disputes with contractors, and covenant and rule enforcement. Many of these disputes are handled in the general district court of ...
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Supreme Court Of Virginia Now Requires Votes Of Two Writ Panel Members To Grant An Appeal
Recently, the Supreme Court of Virginia decided to change its practice regarding the requirements for granting a petition for appeal to create a seemingly higher threshold. A party who wishes to appeal a lower court decision to the Supreme Court of Virginia typically may not take the appeal directly before ...
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Virginia Law Provides Avenue To Save Imperfectly-Executed Wills
It could be a family’s nightmare.  A deceased relative tried to make his or her will, but it was improperly executed.  Therefore, the relative’s estate will be distributed pursuant to an old will or, if there is no other will, the intestate laws of the Commonwealth.  Such a result could ...
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