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ATTORNEY PROFILE

James B. Rixey, III

Office Location: Norfolk, VA.

  • Practice Areas

  • Education

    • B.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    • J.D., Campbell University
    • M.B.A., Campbell University
  • Jurisdiction Licensed

    • Virginia
  • Professional & Community Activities

    • Norfolk and Portsmouth Bar Association
    • Virginia Bar Association
    • American Bar Association
    • Hampton Roads Association for Commercial Real Estate
    • Virginia Bar Association/YMCA Model Judiciary Program, Attorney Advisor
    • ODU Launch Entrepreneurial Business Start-Up Program, Speaker on Business Entities
    • Downtown Norfolk Council – Downtown 100
    • Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce – tHRive Young Professionals
  • Notable Accomplishments

    • Virginia Business, “Legal Elite” – Young Lawyer [under 40] (2015-present)

Jay is a partner in the Norfolk office of Vandeventer Black LLP, and concentrates his practice on general corporate matters and commercial transactions.

Jay’s corporate practice includes advising businesses on a variety of organizational and corporate matters, including business formation, preparation and review of operating agreements and other corporate documents, and contract review and negotiation.

Jay’s commercial transactions practice includes experience in the acquisition, development, financing, sale, and leasing of commercial property. Jay represents small and medium sized businesses of all types, including developers, lenders, landlords, and tenants in a variety of commercial real estate transactions.

Jay has strong local ties to the area, having grown up in Virginia Beach. He received his B.A. in History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a minor in Social & Economic Justice. He received his J.D. from the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University, and his MBA from the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business at Campbell University.

  • Representative Matters:

  • News

    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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    Vandeventer Black Attorneys Recognized as 2018 Legal Elite
    / Firm News
    Virginia Business Magazine recently released its Virginia Business ‘Legal Elite’ winner’s list for 2018, which includes  Vandeventer Black attorneys. Every year, the magazine partners with the Virginia Bar Association to grant this award to attorneys nominated by their peers for this recognition. The attorneys selected are: Alternative Dispute Resolution: William ...
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    Twenty-two Vandeventer Black Attorneys 2016 Legal Elite Finalists
    / Firm News
    Annually, Virginia Business Magazine partners with the Virginia Bar Association to grant the ‘Legal Elite Awards’. For 2016, twenty-two Vandeventer Black attorneys were selected for this recognition. Lawyers are nominated by their peers for each category. “Our legal team puts in their heart and soul to ensure the well-being of ...
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  • Articles

    Federal Aviation Administration Finalizes Rules For Commercial Use Of Drones
    / Litigation
    [DISPLAY_ULTIMATE_PLUS] LAW TIPS Authored by Attorney Jay Rixey, jrixey@vanblacklaw.com, 757-446-8600 The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently finalized the first operational rules, to be effective on August 29, 2016, governing the routine commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), also known as drones. The new regulations – codified at Part ...
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    Virginia Becomes First State to Formally Regulate Fantasy Sports
    Authored by Jay Rixey On March 7, 2016, Governor McAuliffe signed into law the Fantasy Contests Act (the “Act”), making Virginia the first state to formally regulate daily fantasy sports websites such as DraftKings and FanDuel. The Act distinguishes these daily fantasy sports websites from illegal gambling sites, and outlines ...
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    Virginia’s New Crowdfunding Law
    / Corporate & Business
    Authored by attorney Jay Rixey A new Virginia code amendment, effective as of July 1, 2015, makes it easier for small Virginia companies to raise capital by allowing companies to raise up to $2 million through crowdfunding. The amendment, codified at Virginia Code §13.1-514(21), creates an exemption from the more ...
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Adam S. Rafal

Office Location: Norfolk, VA.

  • Practice Areas

  • Education

    • B.S., Vanderbilt University
    • J.D.,  Marshall-Wythe School of Law, College of William & Mary
  • Jurisdiction Licensed

    • Virginia
  • Professional & Community Activities

    • Virginia Bar Association – Section on Workers’ Compensation
    • American Bar Association – Section on Workers’ Compensation
    • Norfolk and Portsmouth Bar Association – Section on Workers’ Compensation
    • Virginia State Bar Association – Section on Workers’ Compensation
    • Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys – Section on Workers’ Compensation
    • Norfolk & Portsmouth Bar Association
  • Notable Accomplishments

    • Listed in Best Lawyers in America®: Workers’ Compensation Law-Employers (2015-present)
    • Virginia Business “Legal Elite”: Labor & Employment Law (2008, 2013)
    • Coastal Virginia Magazine, “Top Lawyers ” – Workers’ Compensation (2016-present)
    • Thomson Reuters, “Virginia Super Lawyers” (2008-09)

Adam is a partner with Vandeventer Black in the firm’s Norfolk office and concentrates his practice in Workers’ Compensation Defense and Labor & Employment Law. He primarily works with insurance carriers and self-insured employers defending workers’ compensation claims filed pursuant to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

He has litigated multiple claims before the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, Court of Appeals, Department of Labor and the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs. Adam also works with risk managers, human resource professionals and executives on preventive strategies. He is a frequent lecturer on Workers’ Compensation issues. Some of Adam’s notable engagements include representing some of the region’s largest insurance carriers, mutual associations and third party administrators.

Adam is admitted to practice in Virginia, the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He is a member of the Norfolk & Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Virginia and American Bar Associations (Labor & Employment and Workers’ Compensation Sections), as well as the Virginia State Bar and the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys. He is past Chair of the Virginia Association of Defense Attorney’s Workers’ Compensation Section and served a three year term on the organization’s Board of Directors as the Tidewater Regional Director. Adam is actively involved in firm management.

  • Representative Matters:

  • News

    Vandeventer Black Attorneys Listed as ‘The Best Lawyers in America’ of 2019
    / Firm News
    Best Lawyers®, a respected publication that ranks attorneys based on peer review, recently announced ‘The Best Lawyers in America’ list (2019 Edition). Attorneys from Vandeventer Black LLP, were selected to receive this prestigious recognition in one or more categories. The recognized attorneys are: Norfolk, VA Christopher Ambrosio: Business Organizations (including ...
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    Twenty-two Vandeventer Black Attorneys Recognized as Top Lawyers
    / Firm News
    Twenty-two attorneys from Norfolk-based business and litigation law firm Vandeventer Black have been awarded Coastal Virginia’s Top Lawyers of 2017-2018 by Coastal Virginia Magazine and CoVa Biz Magazine. Candidates for this award are selected by their peers and nominated for exemplifying excellence in their specialty. The lawyers being recognized are: ...
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    27 Vandeventer Black Attorneys Named ‘The Best Lawyers in America’ of 2018
    / Firm News
    Best Lawyers®, a respected publication that ranks attorneys based on peer review, recently announced ‘The Best Lawyers in America’ list (2018 Edition). Attorneys from the law offices of Vandeventer Black LLP, were selected to receive this prestigious recognition in one or more categories. The recognized attorneys are: Admiralty and Maritime ...
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  • Articles

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Edward J. Powers

  • Practice Areas

  • Education

    • B.A., History, Virginia Polytechnic Institute
    • B.A., Political Science/International Studies, Virginia Polytechnic Institute
    • J.D., T.C. Williams School of Law, University of Richmond
  • Jurisdiction Licensed

    • New York
    • North Carolina
    • Virginia
  • Professional & Community Activities

    • Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference
    • Maritime Law Association of the United States, Board of Directors (2011-14); Committee on Practice & Procedure, Chair (2011-15); Subcommittee On Maritime Liens & Mortgages, Chair (2001-11); Nominating Committee (2015-19); Officer (2020)
    • Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute
    • Virginia Maritime Association
    • Virginia Railroad Association
    • American Maritime Cases, Associate Editor
    • American Bar Association
  • Notable Accomplishments

    • International Who’s Who of Maritime Lawyers
    • Listed in Best Lawyers in America®: Admiralty and Maritime Law (2008-present)
    • Best Lawyers in America® “Lawyer of the Year” for Admiralty and Maritime Law (2014, 2018, 2019)
    • Virginia Business, “Legal Elite”
    • Thompson Reuters, “Virginia Super Lawyers” (2010-present)
    • Coastal Virginia Magazine, “Top Lawyers” – Aviation, Maritime and Transportation Law (2016-present); Personal Injury (2021-present)

Ed is a partner with Vandeventer Black and a past member of the Firm’s Executive Board.  He concentrates his practice in transportation law with a focus on the representation of ship owners, charterers, and their underwriters, including domestic and international insurance companies and P&I Clubs. Ed also has significant experience in railroad casualty litigation, having represented one of the largest Class I railroads in North America.

After receiving two Bachelor of Arts degrees from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Ed received a Juris Doctor from the University of Richmond School of Law, where he was Associate Editor of the Law Review.  Upon graduation from law school, Ed spent a year as a law clerk for a United States District Judge in Norfolk, Virginia, before joining Vandeventer Black.

A seasoned litigator with experience in international arbitration and litigation, Ed has represented clients throughout the United States in courts and arbitration tribunals on a broad spectrum of matters, including maritime collisions, personal injury defense, cargo claims, maritime liens, and contract disputes.  He has participated in numerous casualty and port state control investigations ranging from pollution incidents to occupational safety issues.

Ed is licensed by the Bars of New York, North Carolina and Virginia.  He is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the First, Second, Fourth, Ninth and D.C. Circuits, as well as the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York, the Eastern and Middle Districts of North Carolina, and the Eastern District of Virginia.

Ed is active in many professional organizations, including the Maritime Law Association of the United States, for which he served as a member of the Board of Directors, the Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute, the Virginia Maritime Association, and the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference.  He also serves as an associate editor for American Maritime Cases. 

Ed is a multiple recipient of Best Lawyers in America® “Norfolk Lawyer of the Year” for Admiralty and Maritime Law, and he is recognized in Virginia Business Magazine’s “Legal Elite” and the International Who’s Who of Maritime Lawyers.

  • Representative Matters:

  • News

    Vandeventer Black Attorneys Selected for the 2020 Virginia Super Lawyers List
    / Firm News
    Vandeventer Black attorneys were selected to be included on the 2020 Virginia Super Lawyers list by Thompson Reuters. This renowned rating service considers attorneys from over 70 different practice areas that are nominated based on professional accomplishments and peer recognition. Attorneys from the Norfolk and Richmond offices received the Super ...
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    Vandeventer Black Attorneys Recognized as 2020 Top Lawyers of Coastal Virginia
    / Firm News
    Several attorneys from the Norfolk-based business and litigation law firm, Vandeventer Black, have been recognized as Top Lawyers of Coastal Virginia for 2020. This distinction is a peer-rated nomination given to those lawyers who exemplify excellence in their specialty. The twenty-five recognized attorneys are: Appellate Law             Dustin M. Paul ...
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    Vandeventer Black Announces its 2019 Executive Board
    / Firm News
    Vandeventer Black LLP is pleased to announce its 2019 Executive Board. Partners Deborah M. Casey and James R. Harvey were re-elected, and partners Edward J. Powers, Mark S. Brennan, Sr., and Michael L. Sterling (Managing Partner) continue to serve as members. “We thank our partners Debbie and Jim for their ...
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  • Articles

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Anita O. Poston

Office Location: Norfolk, VA.

  • Practice Areas

  • Education

    • B.A. (with honors), University of Maryland
    • J.D., Marshall-Wythe School of Law, College of William & Mary
  • Jurisdiction Licensed

    • Virginia
  • Professional & Community Activities

    • Virginia Board of Bar Examiners (1990-present)
    • Towne Bank – Norfolk Division, Chair, Board of Directors
    • Virginia Bar Association, (President 2000)
    • Virginia Capitol Foundation, Board of Directors
    • Virginia State Bar
    • Hampton Roads Educational Telecommunications Association – Board of Directors (1992-2012); Chairman (2002-04)
    • Norfolk Portsmouth Bar Association, (President 1999)
    • American Bar Association
    • ODU Community Development Corporation, Board of Directors
    • Virginia Women Attorneys Association
    • American Inns of Court, member emeritus
    • United Way of South Hampton Roads Foundation (2004-13); Board of Trustees, Chairman (2009-10)
    • CIVIC Leadership Institute, Alum
    • Airports Council International-North America, Legal Committee
    • American Association of Airport Executives
    • Norfolk Hospital Authority, Board of Directors (Chair 2014-16)
    • Tidewater Estate Planning Council
    • College of William & Mary – Board of Visitors (2003-11)
    • College of William & Mary Law School Foundation – Board of Trustees
    • Virginia Senate – Ethics Advisory Panel
    • Norfolk Botanical Garden – Board of Directors
    • College of William & Mary – Real Estate Foundation, Board of Directors
    • Lake Taylor Transitional Care Hospital Foundation – Board of Directors
    • Lutheran Family Services of Virginia, Board of Directors (2012-16)
  • Notable Accomplishments

    • College of William and Mary School of Law, Citizen-Lawyer Award (2001)
    • Hampton Roads Community Foundation, Barron F. Black Community Builder Award (2007)
    • Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, Humanitarian Award (2008)
    • NPBA Eggleston I’Anson Award
    • Order of the Coif
    • Professional Woman of Hampton Roads Award (1992)
    • Best Lawyers in America® – Norfolk Health Care Law, “Lawyer of the Year” (2013)
    • Best Lawyers in America®- Corporate Law (2009-18); Personal Injury Litigation-Defendants (2011-18)
    • Virginia Lawyers Weekly, Influential Women of Virginia (2009)
    • YWCA Outstanding Woman Award (1999)
    • Virginia Law Foundation, Fellow
    • American Bar Association, Fellow
    • Inside Business, Women in Business Achievement Award (2003)
    • Coastal Virginia Magazine, “Top Lawyers” – Attorneys for Non-Profit (2016-present); Wills, Trust and Estates (2021-present)
    • Virginia Business, “Legal Elite” (2016-17)
    • Thomson Reuters, “Virginia Super Lawyers” (2006-12)
    • Virginia Lawyers Weekly, “Hall of Fame” (2018)
    • “Virginia Living’s Women in the Law” (2017-18)

Anita Poston is a senior partner in the Norfolk, Virginia office of Vandeventer Black LLP. Her practice is concentrated in Business law with a focus on transportation, healthcare, surety defense and estate planning and administration. She is General Counsel for the Norfolk Airport Authority and the Chesapeake Airport Authority. Other clients include insurance and bonding companies, a multi-specialty physician practice, several ambulatory surgery centers, and a college real estate foundation, as well as numerous businesses and business owners.

Ms. Poston is widely known and respected by judges, clients and her colleagues at the bar as a leader of the legal profession. She frequently utilizes the experiences with these organizations to benefit clients. She is past president of the Virginia Bar Association as well as the Norfolk and Portsmouth Bar Association. She is also a member of the Virginia State Bar, the American Bar Association, and the Virginia Women Attorneys Association. She is the president of the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners; she was appointed to that Board by the Virginia Supreme Court in 1990. Ms. Poston was appointed by the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia as a chair and member of several federal magistrate selection commissions. She also served as a Substitute Judge in the Norfolk General District Courts for five years.

In addition to these law-related activities, Ms. Poston is involved with many civic and business-related organizations. She is currently the chair of the board of TowneBank-Norfolk. She also serves on the boards of the Norfolk Hospital Authority, the Norfolk Botanical Garden, Inc., the Lake Taylor Transitional Care Hospital Foundation, the E3 School, and both the Real Estate Foundation and Law School Foundation of the College of William & Mary.

Ms. Poston is a past member of the Board of Directors of the YWCA, the Virginia Capitol Foundation, Greater Norfolk Corporation, Forward Hampton Roads, the Old Dominion University Community Development Corporation, Governor’s School for the Arts, Starbase Atlantis, Learning Bridge Academy, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Tidewater, Tidewater Legal Aid Society, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, ACCESS Scholarship Foundation, UnitedWay of South Hampton Roads Foundation (Board Chairman 2009-2010), Hampton Roads Educational Telecommunications Association, also known as WHRO (Board Chairman 2002-2004), and Lutheran Family Services of Virginia.

Ms. Poston is known for her leadership of local and state educational institutions. She was appointed by Governor Charles Robb to the State Board of the Virginia Community College System which she chaired in 1989. She was appointed by Governor Mark Warner to the Board of Visitors of the College of William & Mary in 2003, and reappointed in 2007 by Governor Tim Kaine. She served as a member of the Norfolk School Board for twelve years and as chair for four years.

Ms. Poston has been recognized by a number of organizations for her legal abilities, community service, and leadership. She was awarded the Eggleston-l’Anson Professionalism Award, its highest honor, by the Norfolk and Portsmouth Bar Association. She was the 1992 recipient of the Professional Woman of Hampton Roads Award and the 2001 recipient of the Citizen Lawyer Award from the William and Mary School of Law. She was recognized in 2008 with the Humanitarian Award by the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities and by the William and Mary Law School with the Order of the Coif. In 2009, she received the Influential Women of Virginia Award, the Outstanding Woman of Hampton Roads Award by the YWCA, and the Community Builder Award from the Hampton Roads Community Foundation (formerly the Norfolk Foundation). She has been recognized by selection to the Virginia Law Fellows and the ABA Law Foundation Fellows. Ms. Poston has also been recognized among The Best Lawyers in America and Virginia Legal Elite.

Ms. Poston received her undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland and her law degree from the College of William and Mary where she was a member of the William & Mary Law Review. She is the mother of three children and is married to the Honorable Charles E. Poston, Retired Judge of the Norfolk Circuit Court.

Mrs. Poston’s legal experience is extensive. She has successfully guided her clients through both litigation, sophisticated business transactions, and planning for their futures.

As General Counsel for the Norfolk Airport Authority and the Chesapeake Airport Authority, Ms. Poston has negotiated and drafted a multitude of contracts including concessions agreements; real estate contracts, easements and deeds; leases; architect, engineer and construction contracts; fixed base operation agreements; and employment agreements. She has also represented the airport in litigation involving wildlife, off-airport parking fees, accidents and First Amendment issues.  

  • Representative Matters

    • Representation of individual physicians & other healthcare providers and physicians groups in business, personnel, and reimbursement issues.
    • Preparation, negotiation, termination of physician employment contracts.
    • Representation of physicians and other providers in administrative licensure issues and medical staff proceedings.
    • Preparation, review, and negotiation of contracts with vendors, consultants, third-party payors, including insurers.
    • Serving as issuer and borrower counsel on multi-million dollar tax-exempt bond transactions.
    • Providing guidance about the Freedom of Information Act and public procurement laws.
    • Planning and administering moderate and large estates; serving as co-trustee on several large trusts and executor of numerous estates.
    • Establishment of various business entities including retail, manufacturing and professional organizations.
    • Negotiation and preparation of governance documents for business entities, including shareholder agreements, buy-sell agreements, by-laws, operating agreements and charters.
    • Representing businesses and individuals in a broad civil practice.
  • News

    Vandeventer Black Attorneys Recognized as Top Lawyers of Coastal Virginia
    / Firm News
    Several attorneys from the Norfolk-based business and litigation law firm, Vandeventer Black, have been awarded as Coastal Virginia’s Top Lawyers for 2019 by Coastal Virginia Magazine and CoVa Biz Magazine. “We are proud of our attorneys for receiving this distinction as it is a solely peer-rated nomination given to those ...
    Read More
    Vandeventer Black Attorneys Recognized as 2018 Legal Elite
    / Firm News
    Virginia Business Magazine recently released its Virginia Business ‘Legal Elite’ winner’s list for 2018, which includes  Vandeventer Black attorneys. Every year, the magazine partners with the Virginia Bar Association to grant this award to attorneys nominated by their peers for this recognition. The attorneys selected are: Alternative Dispute Resolution: William ...
    Read More
    Vandeventer Black Attorneys Listed as ‘The Best Lawyers in America’ of 2019
    / Firm News
    Best Lawyers®, a respected publication that ranks attorneys based on peer review, recently announced ‘The Best Lawyers in America’ list (2019 Edition). Attorneys from Vandeventer Black LLP, were selected to receive this prestigious recognition in one or more categories. The recognized attorneys are: Norfolk, VA Christopher Ambrosio: Business Organizations (including ...
    Read More
  • Articles

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Michael D. Pierce

Office Location: Norfolk, VA.

  • Practice Areas

  • Education

    • B.A., Christopher Newport University
    • J.D., Regent University School of Law
  • Judicial Clerkship

    • Newport News Circuit Court
  • Jurisdiction Licensed

    • Virginia
  • Professional & Community Activities

    • Executive Committee of the South Hampton Roads Bar Association – President
    • Virginia State Bar, Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Board, Member
    • Virginia Bar Association
    • Old Dominion Bar Association
    • Norfolk and Portsmouth Bar Association
    • Society for Human Resource Management, Hampton Roads Chapter
    • American Bar Association
    • St. Mary’s Home, Home Board, Member
    • City of Norfolk Grievance Panel, Chair
  • Notable Accomplishments

    • South Hampton Roads Bar Association, “Member of the Year” (2017)
    • South Hampton Roads Bar Association, “Young Lawyer of the Year” (2018)
    • Virginia Lawyers Weekly, “Up & Coming Lawyer” (2018)
    • Old Dominion Bar Association, “President’s Award” (2019)
    • Coastal Virginia Magazine, “Top Lawyers” – Labor Employment (2019-present)
    • Virginia Business “Legal Elite” (2020-present)

Michael is an associate with the firm.  His practice includes matters involving labor and employment lawworkers’ compensation insurance defensemaritime law, and general litigation.  He defends lawsuits in both state and federal courts.  His detail-oriented writing and research make him an asset to all clients, whether they are embroiled in intense litigation or seeking guidance on compliance and regulatory issues. 

In employment litigation matters, Michael has represented employers in discrimination actions brought under the ADA, ADEA, FMLA, Title VII, and the Equal Pay Act.  He has made several successful appearances before the EEOC, disputing and overcoming charges filed by disgruntled former and current employees.  He also has defended companies in wage and hour disputes brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  In addition, Michael has experience representing employers and insurance companies in workers’ compensation matters, having successfully briefed and argued matters before the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission.  He has also researched and briefed traditional labor law matters pending before the National Labor Relations Board. For clients seeking to resolve matters outside of court, Michael likewise has experience mediating claims to settlement. 

In his role as legal counselor, Michael advises clients in developing and implementing various workplace policies including leave policies, compensation schemes, and progressive discipline systems.  He also assists clients in drafting, revising, and updating employee handbooks.  For employers in the hiring phase, Michael has experience drafting and reviewing employment agreements with various provisions including enforceable non-compete clauses, confidentiality provisions, and mediation and arbitration clauses.  Michael also can provide guidance in drafting job descriptions and conducting the hiring process in an efficient and effective manner without running afoul of any federal or state restrictions.

Michael also serves as an adjunct professor at Hampton University, teaching an undergraduate legal writing course to pre-law students. In this capacity, Michael not only works to ensure students learn how to communicate complex legal rules and theories clearly, but he also candidly exposes students to the realities of day-to-day life in modern law practice. 

Michael is the President of the South Hampton Roads Bar Association and is also a member of the Virginia, Old Dominion, and Norfolk & Portsmouth Bar Associations.  In May 2018, he was appointed to the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Board by the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Michael received his J.D. from Regent University School of Law. During law school, he served as a federal judicial intern to the Honorable Raymond A. Jackson and the Honorable Henry E. Hudson.  After graduating, Michael completed a judicial clerkship with the Newport News Circuit Court where he performed extensive legal research and writing for the Honorable David F. Pugh, the Honorable Timothy S. Fisher, and the Honorable Gary A. Mills. 

Prior to attending law school, Michael earned his B.A. in Political Science from Christopher Newport University.  He later completed Regent University’s Career Switcher program and was awarded his Virginia teaching license.  Afterward, he spent time teaching government and economics at an urban high school in Norfolk.

In the professional field, Michael values the opportunity to serve with tenacity, efficiency, and excellence. When not working, he enjoys spending time with his lovely wife, Teneisha, and their five exceptional children: Micah, David, Arianna, Ian and Jaxon. 

  • Representative Matters

    • Represented tow truck company and second chaired successful mediation and resolution of six-figure sex discrimination, retaliation, and equal pay suit raised by former employee. (Pollyanna Scott v. Western Branch Diesel, Inc., Case No. 4:17-CV-00174-BO, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina)
    • Served as local counsel in federal district court to national credit card printing company and second chaired successful mediation and resolution of six-figure sex and race discrimination suit raised by former employee. (Vernette Baldwin v. First Data Resources, Inc., Case No. 2:17-cv-542, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia)
    • Represented residential homeowners in contract dispute against unlicensed contractor and construction company and obtained judgment in favor of homeowners after circuit court bench trial. (Thomas Clyburn, et al. v. J.I.T. Builders, Inc., et al, Case No. CL19-690, Norfolk Circuit Court)
    • Represented condominium association in contract dispute against unit owner and obtained five-figure judgment in favor of the association after circuit court bench trial.(Hardesty House Condo. Owners Assoc. v. Melissa Shorty, Case Nos. CL19-6938 and CL19-6940, Norfolk Circuit Court)
    • Represented construction company, insurance company, and surety bond company against painting subcontractor and successfully briefed and argued demurrer dismissing breach of contract suit based on painting subcontractor’s failure to satisfy conditions precedent to litigation. (Blue Ridge Painting Contractors, Inc. v. Oyster Point Constr. Co., et al., Case No. CL1704255M-03, Newport News Circuit Court)
  • News

    Vandeventer Black’s Pierce New President of the South Hampton Roads Bar Association
    / Firm News
    Vandeventer Black attorney Michael D. Pierce is the new President of the South Hampton Roads Bar Association (SHRBA). The SHRBA is the minority bar association for the Hampton Roads area, and its membership includes lawyers from all seven cities and practitioners in the Richmond area. The association helps its members ...
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    Vandeventer Black Attorneys Named 2020 Virginia Super Lawyers ‘Rising Stars’
    / Firm News
    Vandeventer Black is pleased to announce that six attorneys are among the 2020 Virginia Super Lawyers Rising Stars list. The Rising Star designation is given to the top up-and-coming lawyers who are 40-years-old or younger, or who have been practicing for ten years or less. The selected attorneys are: Jennifer ...
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    Vandeventer Black Attorneys Recognized as 2020 Top Lawyers of Coastal Virginia
    / Firm News
    Several attorneys from the Norfolk-based business and litigation law firm, Vandeventer Black, have been recognized as Top Lawyers of Coastal Virginia for 2020. This distinction is a peer-rated nomination given to those lawyers who exemplify excellence in their specialty. The twenty-five recognized attorneys are: Appellate Law             Dustin M. Paul ...
    Read More
  • Articles

    Virginia Enacts New Whistleblower Law for Private Employers
    / Labor & Employment
    Effective July 1, 2020, private employers in Virginia will have a number of new legal obligations and potential liabilities. One of these new laws is Virginia Code § 40.1-27.3, the Fraud and Abuse Whistleblower Protection Act. This new law creates several new protections for employees involved in reporting suspicious, questionable, ...
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    U.S. Department of Labor Expands Overtime Exemption for Commission-Based Employees of Retail or Service Establishments
    / Labor & Employment
    On May 18, 2020, the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a new final rule to govern the determination of whether an employer qualifies as a “retail or service” establishment for purposes of applying an overtime exemption to commission-based employees. Section 7(i) of the ...
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    Department of Labor Proposes New Rule on Joint Employment Status
    / Labor & Employment
    On April 1, 2019, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced a proposed rule revising the standard for joint employer status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Once the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register, the public will have 60 days to submit comments to DOL for review ...
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Dustin M. Paul

Office Location: Norfolk, VA.

  • Practice Areas

  • Education

    • B.A. Political Science, Duke University
    • J.D., Vanderbilt University
  • Jurisdiction Licensed

    • Virginia
  • Courts & Administrative Bodies

    • 4th Circuit
    • U. S. District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia
    • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Professional & Community Activities

    • Southeast Admiralty Law Association
    • Maritime Law Association of the United States
    • Hampton Roads Global Commerce Council, Board Member
    • Norfolk and Portsmouth Bar Association
    • Virginia Bar Association
    • American Bar Association
    • Federal Bar Association, Tidewater Chapter, Board Member
  • Notable Accomplishments

    • Virginia Business, “Legal Elite” Young Lawyer (under 40) (2014)
    • Coastal Virginia Magazine, “Top Lawyers” – Appellate Law (2016-present)
    • Thomson Reuters, “Virginia Super Lawyers Rising Star” (2013-present)

Dustin is a skilled litigator who finds creative solutions for his clients in Virginia state and federal courts.  He excels in using the depth and breadth of his knowledge to achieve cost-effective resolution of disputes.  Some of the nation’s most successful companies have trusted him to represent their interests throughout Virginia, at the Fourth Circuit, and at the U.S. Supreme Court.  His varied practice includes:

Transportation Litigation

Because of his representation of marine terminals, trucking companies, railroads, transportation suppliers, and an airport, Dustin appreciates the complexities of intermodal transportation.  His membership and participation in the Hampton Roads Global Commerce Council, the Transportation Lawyers Association, the Maritime Law Association, the Southeast Admiralty Law Institute, the Virginia Maritime Association, and the Virginia Bar Association Transportation Law Section allow him to keep abreast of the current legal landscape and other changes in the transportation industry.  He has authored articles in the “The Transportation Lawyer” and the “Maritime & International Trade Guide.” 

Career highlights include:

Personal Representative of Coutlakis v. [Railroad], Record No. 160277 (Va. Sup. Ct.): argued before the Supreme Court of Virginia on behalf of one of the nation’s largest railroads on a unique issue under Virginia tort law.  His oral argument audio is here. 

Bulk Juliana, Ltd., et al., v. [Fortune 500 Company], Case No. 16-26 (U.S. Sup. Ct.): was the primary author of the Brief in Opposition to a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court in a case in which the Court requested briefing from the U.S. Solicitor General.

Rabenstine v. National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, Inc. et al., Case No. 4:14-cv-78, 2015 WL 3470191 (E.D. Va. 2015): authored brief obtaining summary judgment on behalf of law enforcement officer asserting unique application of qualified immunity doctrine.

[Fortune 500 Company] v. M/V Hebei Shijiazhuang, 783 F.3d 507 (4th Cir. 2015): primary author in briefing which resulted in affirmance of a grant of summary judgment on maritime lien law issues.

Commercial Litigation
Both Virginia-based small businesses and some of the nation’s largest companies have relied upon Dustin’s advice to resolve commercial disputes.  He has an aptitude for understanding the business realities of a conflict and seeking creative resolutions in lieu of prolonged litigation.  But when litigation is the only choice, Dustin has the experience to bring the case to verdict, through appeal, and beyond. 

Career highlights include:

[General Contractor] v. Rummel, Klepper & Kahl, et. al, Case No. 18-1529 (4th Circuit):  was engaged as appellate counsel to prepare the briefing before the Court of Appeals after the trial court made an unfavorable summary judgment ruling, and then argued the case to the Fourth Circuit panel.  His oral argument audio is here.

[Car Dealership] v. Voltin, Case No. CL11-1065 (Norfolk Circuit):  Obtained more than a $800,000 verdict in a fraud case against the plaintiff’s Chief Financial Officer and defended the verdict through appeals and a bankruptcy proceeding. 

JAAAT Technical Services, LLC, v. [Fortune 1000 Defendant], Case No. 3:15-cv-00235-MHL (E.D. Va.): defended and prosecuted claims related to five government contracts in multi-state litigation, including obtaining dismissal of this case through unique jurisdictional arguments related to federal enclave jurisdiction. 

Corbin Bernsen v. [Advertising Agency], 885 F.Supp.2d 830 (Ed. Va. 2012), defended, through jury trial, an advertising company against breach of contract claims brought by Hollywood actor.

EDVA Local Counsel
Working with some of the nation’s largest firms and companies as a key resource for cases in the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA), Dustin has appeared in more than 50 cases covering a wide variety of topics including patent, antitrust, maritime, employment, and contract matters.  He has also provided advice in countless other cases for which he has not entered an appearance.  As the editor of www.edvanorfolk.com, a blog dedicated to studying and monitoring the actions of the EDVA’s District Court in Norfolk, he is well-prepared to advise counsel throughout the country on how to file, prosecute, and try cases in the “Rocket Docket.”  He also serves on the Board of the Tidewater Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.  

Career highlights include:

G.D. Searle LLC et al v. Lupin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. et al, 2:13-cv-00121-AWA-LRL: served as local counsel for an AMLAW100 firm and a generic pharmaceutical company in patent litigation regarding Celebrex®.

In Re: Zetia (Ezetimibe) Antitrust Litigation, 2:18-md-02836-RBS-DEM, in which he served as local counsel for a different AMLAW 100 firm and a different generic pharmaceutical company in patent litigation.

[Government Contractor] v. United States of America, 4:18-cv-00148-HCM-LRL, in which he served as local counsel for an AMLAW 200 firm in obtaining an emergency temporary restraining order and temporary injunction after his client was improperly denied renewal of its government contract.  

  • Representative Matters:

  • News

    Vandeventer Black Attorneys Named 2019 Virginia Super Lawyers ‘Rising Stars’
    / Firm News
    Vandeventer Black is pleased to announce that 5 attorneys are among the 2019 Virginia Super Lawyers Rising Stars list. The Rising Star designation is awarded to top up-and-coming lawyers who are 40-years-old or younger, or who have been practicing for ten years or less: Megan B. Caramore, Business Jennifer L ...
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    Twenty-two Vandeventer Black Attorneys Recognized as Top Lawyers
    / Firm News
    Twenty-two attorneys from Norfolk-based business and litigation law firm Vandeventer Black have been awarded Coastal Virginia’s Top Lawyers of 2017-2018 by Coastal Virginia Magazine and CoVa Biz Magazine. Candidates for this award are selected by their peers and nominated for exemplifying excellence in their specialty. The lawyers being recognized are: ...
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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 ...
    Read More
  • Articles

    Non-EDVA Opinion of the Month: Candy Sticks and the 2nd Circuit
    Intellectual Property law—be it patent, trademark, or trade dress—can sometimes center a huge financial dispute on a remarkably simple issue.  The Third Circuit reinforced that idea with its recent decision in Ezaki Glico Kabushiki Kaisha v. Lotte International America Corp. At issue was whether the Defendant could keep selling “thin, stick-shaped ...
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    Non-EDVA Opinion of the Month: Candy Sticks and the 3rd Circuit
    / Legal Alert
    Intellectual Property law—be it patent, trademark, or trade dress—can sometimes center a huge financial dispute on a remarkably simple issue.  The Third Circuit reinforced that idea with its recent decision in Ezaki Glico Kabushiki Kaisha v. Lotte International America Corp. At issue was whether the Defendant could keep selling “thin, stick-shaped ...
    Read More
    To Lawyers, “R&R” Doesn’t Only Refer to Rest and Relaxation
    / Legal Alert
    The Norfolk and Newport News divisions are blessed with three experienced and able magistrate judges.  The judicial office of magistrate judge was created by statute in 1968—more accurately, the position was created in 1968, but the title Magistrate Judge came from the Judicial Improvements Act of 1990.[1]  28 U.S. Code ...
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Kathleen W. Panagis

Office Location: Norfolk, VA., Richmond, VA.

  • Practice Areas

  • Education

    • B.A., College of William & Mary
    • J.D., Widener University School of Law
  • Judicial Clerkship

    • Law Clerk to the late Honorable David T. Stitt, Circuit Court of Virginia, Nineteenth Judicial Circuit, Fairfax, Virginia
  • Jurisdiction Licensed

    • Virginia
  • Courts & Administrative Bodies

    • U.S. Court of Appeals: Fourth Circuit
    • U.S. District Court: Eastern District of Virginia
    • U.S. Bankruptcy Court: Eastern District of Virginia
    • U.S. Bankruptcy Court: Western District of Virginia
  • Professional & Community Activities

    • Communications Committee Member, 2020-present
    • Southeastern Virginia Chapter of Community Associations Member
    • Education Subcommittee for CA Day 2018, Co-Chair Programs Committee, Co-Chair (2018-19)
  • Notable Accomplishments

    • Recipient of Committee of the Year Award for Programs Committee, December 2018
    • Recipient of Volunteer of the Year Award for the CA Day Committee for SEVA CAI, December 2017
    • Recipient of Rising Star Award for SEVA CAI, December 2016

Kathleen W. Panagis is an Of Counsel attorney with Vandeventer Black LLP and a member of the firm’s Community Associations law team. With more than a decade of experience, she serves as general counsel to homeowner and condominium associations located in Virginia. Kathleen’s representation of community associations includes transactional work, corporate governance, and litigation support. Kathleen is an active member of SEVA-CAI and serves as a member of the chapter’s Communications Committee.

EXPERIENCED COUNSEL FOR COMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS

  • Advise community association boards on day-to-day business operations, compliance with governing documents, operating procedures, meetings (including quorum, voting, and proxy issues), insurance matters, directors issues and disputes, owner disputes, real property transactions, and assessment collections.
  • Provide advice, guidance, and education to association board members on various areas of the law, including annual updates to the Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act, Virginia Condominium Act, Virginia Nonstock Corporation Act, and Virginia Common Interest Communities Act.
  • Work with and collaborate with community association boards and management team members in taking proactive steps to best protect associations’ interests.
  • Advise on repair and maintenance responsibilities of community associations.
  • Prepare comprehensive policy and administrative resolutions.
  • Experience in reviewing land records, analyzing chain of recorded documents, and researching contents of plats and plans.
  • Assist condominium associations in seeking and obtaining FHA certification and recertification, as well as VA certification.

INTERPRETATION/AMENDMENT OF GOVERNING DOCUMENTS

  • Draft and amend community associations’ declarations, bylaws, master deeds, and/or articles of incorporation.
  • Assist community associations in proceeding with proposed amendments such as attending town hall meetings with members of the community, preparing explanatory letters explaining the amendments, and preparing proxies and/or ballots for membership vote on amendments.

CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS

  • Review, draft, and negotiate contracts on behalf of community associations, including, but not limited to, professional management company contracts, service contracts with various community vendors, licensing agreements, easement agreements, and settlement and release agreements.

COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION LITIGATION, AND RULES AND COVENANTS ENFORCEMENT

  • Initiate and defendant lawsuits brought by or against homeowner or condominium associations.
  • Pursuit of injunctive relief and specific performance actions on behalf of community associations for covenants enforcement actions in both Circuit and General District Courts.
  • Litigate assessment collection cases and experience in pursuing post-judgment collection enforcement actions.

COUNSEL TO BOARDS OF DIRECTORS

  • Advise community association boards on day-to-day business operations, compliance with governing documents, operating procedures, meetings (including quorum, voting, and proxy issues), insurance matters, directors issues and disputes, owner disputes, real property transactions, and assessment collections.
  • Provide advice, guidance, and education to association board members on various areas of the law, including annual updates to the Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act, Virginia Condominium Act, Virginia Nonstock Corporation Act, and Virginia Common Interest Communities Act.
  • News

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  • Articles

    Hindsight is 2020 – A Look Back at Impact of COVID-19 on Community Associations Focuses Efforts Moving Forward
    Since March 2020, society has learned how to navigate through and adjust to many upheavals and changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is certainly true for community associations conducting business and carrying out routine operations. Looking back on what was an extraordinary year due to the pandemic provides clarity ...
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    A Quick Refresher on the Association Complaint Procedure
    In July 2020, I was slated to co-present at the Virginia Leadership Retreat (“VLR”) on a program titled It’s the Association Feud! Surveys of the Ombudsman’s Determinations of Final Adverse Decisions to Complaint, After Complaint…After Complaint. In preparation of our presentation, my co-presenter and I spent many months reviewing and ...
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    Circuit Court Upholds Rule Requiring Residents to Sign Assumption of Risk Form As a Condition to Using Certain Common Areas During the Pandemic
    A Charlottesville Circuit Court held that a rule promulgated by a Virginia property owners’ association requiring residents to sign an assumption of the risk form prior to using certain common areas was reasonable.  See Norman v. Foxchase Owners’ Assoc., Inc., Case No. CL20-1481 (Albemarle Cnty., Oct. 30, 2020).  From what ...
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Douglas M. Palais

Office Location: Richmond, VA.

  • Practice Areas

  • Education

    • A.B. (magna cum laude), Lafayette College
    • J.D., Northwestern University School of Law
  • Jurisdiction Licensed

    • Virginia
    • District of Columbia
  • Courts & Administrative Bodies

    • Supreme Court of Virginia
    • Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
    • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
    • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia
    • U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
    • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
    • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • Professional & Community Activities

    • Virginia State Bar
    • American Bar Association
    • District of Columbia Bar
    • Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business, Adjunct Professor (Insurance Law)
    • Independent Insurance Agents of Virginia, Inc., Outside General Counsel
    • Virginia Chamber of Commerce – Civil Justice Committee, Past Chair
    • Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Notes & Comments Editor (1977-78)
    • Northwestern University School of Law, Instructor of Legal Writing (1977-78)
    • Northwestern Alumni Admission Council, Member
    • Virginia Financial Services Corporation, Outside General Counsel
    • Indoor Football League, Outside General Counsel
  • Notable Accomplishments

    • Martindale-Hubbell® AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating
    • Listed in Best Lawyers in America®: Insurance Law (2007-present); Securities/Capital Markets Law (2010-present); Litigation-Securities (2011-present)
    • Thomson Reuters, “Virginia Super Lawyers” – Securities Litigation (2006-present)
    • Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Notes & Comments Editor (1977-78)
    • Northwestern University School of Law, Instructor of Legal Writing (1977-78)
    • Virginia Business, “Legal Elite” (2011-12)
    • Independent Insurance Agents of Virginia, Commonwealth Award (2019)

Doug is a seasoned trial lawyer and counselor with nearly 40 years of experience.  Doug concentrates his practice in Professional Liability; Errors & Omissions Defense of Insurance and Securities Professionals; Directors & Officers Liability Defense; Securities Litigation and Arbitration; Insurance Coverage and Defense;  Legal Malpractice Defense and Financial Institutions and Securities.

For decades, he has concentrated on defending a wide range of claims against professionals, including insurance licensees, attorneys and securities professionals.  His practice includes the representation of insurance agents and agencies; law firms; securities broker-dealers, registered investment advisers and individual securities brokers.  Doug is regularly listed in The Best Lawyers in America in the fields of Insurance, Securities Litigation, and Capital Markets.  He has also been recognized as a Virginia “Super Lawyer” in  the field of Insurance and Securities Litigation.

He has tried dozens of jury trials, bench trials and arbitrations in Virginia and in other jurisdictions.  In addition to trying cases in courts and before arbitration panels, Doug has extensive appellate experience in Virginia and in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. A long-time member of the Virginia State Bar and the District of Columbia Bar, Doug has also handled cases in North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado.  He has also served as lead counsel to institutional and individual defendants in major multi-district cases involving insurer insolvencies and alleged securities fraud.

Doug’s practice includes handling regulatory issues before federal and state regulators, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Financial Institution Regulatory Authority and a host of state securities and insurance regulators.  He is a 1978 graduate of Northwestern University School of Law, where he was Notes & Comments Editor of the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology and an Instructor in Legal Writing.

  • Representative Matters:

  • News

    Richmond Attorney’s Selected for Inclusion on the 2019 Virginia Super Lawyers List
    / Construction, Firm News
    Vandeventer Black attorney was selected to be included on the 2019 Virginia Super Lawyers list by Thompson Reuters. This renowned rating service considers attorneys from over 70 different practice areas that are nominated based on professional accomplishments and peer recognition. Douglas M. Palais, Securities Litigation Other awarding bodies have recognized ...
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    Vandeventer Black Attorneys Listed as ‘The Best Lawyers in America’ of 2019
    / Firm News
    Best Lawyers®, a respected publication that ranks attorneys based on peer review, recently announced ‘The Best Lawyers in America’ list (2019 Edition). Attorneys from Vandeventer Black LLP, were selected to receive this prestigious recognition in one or more categories. The recognized attorneys are: Norfolk, VA Christopher Ambrosio: Business Organizations (including ...
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    27 Vandeventer Black Attorneys Named ‘The Best Lawyers in America’ of 2018
    / Firm News
    Best Lawyers®, a respected publication that ranks attorneys based on peer review, recently announced ‘The Best Lawyers in America’ list (2018 Edition). Attorneys from the law offices of Vandeventer Black LLP, were selected to receive this prestigious recognition in one or more categories. The recognized attorneys are: Admiralty and Maritime ...
    Read More
  • Articles

    Agency Agreements
    Authored by Douglas M. Palais Agreements between insurers and their appointed agents set forth the actual authority, as opposed to the apparent authority, of the agents. While commission schedules often change with some regularity, there are other portions of these agreements that agents should monitor on a regular basis. This article ...
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    The Trouble with Certificates
    Authored by attorney Douglas M. Palais Even though issuing certificates is an important part of the service that you provide to your customers, from an E & O standpoint, they must be handled with extreme care.  The following points are not comprehensive, but demonstrate a few of the specific risks ...
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    Are Cyber Attacks an Act of “War” within the Meaning of Liability Policies?
    Authored by attorney Douglas M. Palais This question cannot be answered definitively at this time, but should be considered carefully by all insurance professionals. Typical CGL policies exclude acts of terrorism and acts of war. In the past, it was relatively easy to define “war” as hostile military actions by ...
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Richard Ottinger

Office Location: Norfolk, VA.

  • Practice Areas

  • Education

    • B.A., Boston University
    • J.D., College of William & Mary School of Law
    • Sorenson Institute of Political Leadership
  • Jurisdiction Licensed

    • Virginia
  • Professional & Community Activities

    • Norfolk Economic Development Authority, Director
    • The Virginia Bar Association; President (2021); Board of Governors, Chair (2019); Civil Litigation Section, Chair (2013-2015)
    • Maritime Law Association, Proctor in Admiralty
    • Transportation Lawyers Association
    • Tidewater Motor Truck Association, Counsel
    • Downtown Norfolk Council, Board Member
    • American Bar Association
    • Federal Bar Association
  • Notable Accomplishments

    • Virginia Lawyers Weekly, “Leaders in the Law” (2020)
    • Virginia Business, “Virginia 500 – The Power List” (2020)
    • Virginia State Bar’s R. Edwin Burnette Jr. Young Lawyer of the Year award
    • Norfolk & Portsmouth Bar Association’s Walter E. Hoffman Community Service Award
    • Virginia Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Sandra P. Thompson Award for outstanding and long-term service
    • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® – Admiralty and Maritime Law (2013-present)
    • Coastal Virginia Magazine, “Top Lawyers” – Civil Trial & Commercial Litigation (2016-present)
    • Virginia Business, Legal Elite (2004, 2006-09, 2012, 2014, 2020-present)
    • Thomson Reuters, “Virginia Super Lawyers” (2011-12, 2019); “Virginia Rising Star” (2007-09)

Focusing on resolving business disputes, Richard concentrates his law practice on commercial litigation, including intellectual property disputes, tort defense, transportation and maritime litigation, and complex trusts and estates disputes. Richard is a member of the Firm’s Executive Board and works on a broad variety of governmental matters.

Richard is an experienced litigator in both state and federal court, including all stages of litigation: discovery, motions, trial, and appeal.

As first chair, he has tried numerous cases to judges and juries. His clients range from international manufacturing companies to small professional partnerships. He currently practices before the Virginia state trial and appellate courts as well as the federal trial and appellate courts of Virginia. He regularly appears in the U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Virginia and frequently acts as local counsel in high profile patent and anti-trust cases.

Richard is the President of the Virginia Bar Association for 2021.  Richard was recently included in Virginia Lawyers Weekly’s list of Leaders in the Law for 2020 for outstanding contributions to the practice of law in Virginia, significant achievements through the practice of law, leadership in improving the justice system and important contributions to Virginia’s legal community.  Richard was also listed in Virginia Business’ “Virginia 500 – The Power List” for 2020.  Earlier in his career, Richard received the Virginia State Bar’s prestigious R. Edwin Burnette Jr. Young Lawyer of the Year award, the Norfolk & Portsmouth Bar Association’s Walter E. Hoffman Community Service Award, and the Virginia Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Sandra P. Thompson Award for outstanding and long-term service.

  • News

    28 Attorneys Named to 2021 Best Lawyers® list
    / Firm News
    Vandeventer Black LLP is pleased to announce that 28 attorneys have been included in the 2021 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Since first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers has published their list for over three decades, earning the respect ...
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    Vandeventer Black Attorneys Selected for the 2020 Virginia Super Lawyers List
    / Firm News
    Vandeventer Black attorneys were selected to be included on the 2020 Virginia Super Lawyers list by Thompson Reuters. This renowned rating service considers attorneys from over 70 different practice areas that are nominated based on professional accomplishments and peer recognition. Attorneys from the Norfolk and Richmond offices received the Super ...
    Read More
    Vandeventer Black Attorneys Recognized as 2020 Top Lawyers of Coastal Virginia
    / Firm News
    Several attorneys from the Norfolk-based business and litigation law firm, Vandeventer Black, have been recognized as Top Lawyers of Coastal Virginia for 2020. This distinction is a peer-rated nomination given to those lawyers who exemplify excellence in their specialty. The twenty-five recognized attorneys are: Appellate Law             Dustin M. Paul ...
    Read More
  • Articles

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Robert L. O’Donnell

Office Location: Norfolk, VA.

  • Practice Areas

  • Education

    • B.S. (summa cum laude), Spring Hill College J.D.,
    • University of Virginia
  • Jurisdiction Licensed

    • Virginia
  • Professional & Community Activities

    • American Bar Association
    • Marshall-Wythe Law School, Mary Hinz Scholarship Selection Committee
    • Norfolk and Portsmouth Bar Association
  • Notable Accomplishments

    • United States Marine Corps, Captain
    • Martindale-Hubbell® AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating
    • Norfolk and Portsmouth Bar Association, Eggleston/l’Anson Professionalism Award (2013)
    • Thomson Reuters, ” Virginia Super Lawyers” (2007)
    • Listed in Best Lawyers in America®: Commercial Litigation (2010-present)
    • Virginia Business, “Legal Elite” (2013, 2015-present)

Senior partner, Robert O’Donnell has been with Vandeventer Black since he joined the firm in 1975. His practice focuses on litigation. Bob has been representing defendants in asbestos personal injury and wrongful death cases since 1980. He has appeared in state and federal courts in Virginia. Additionally, he has been involved in numerous other types of litigation, including: commercial disputes, toxic torts, and products liability.

Bob has also handled a number of significant matters on behalf of plaintiffs. He derives satisfaction from helping individuals deal with particularly difficult situations. He represented the family of a second year law student who was killed following her summer clerkship with Vandeventer Black. The case resulted in a substantial settlement which the family chose to use to endow scholarships in her name at her undergraduate university and at her law school. Bob has served on the selection committee for recipients of the scholarship since it was endowed in 1986.

In 2013, the Norfolk Portsmouth Bar Association recognized Bob’s contributions to the legal profession by awarding him the Eggleston/I’Anson Professionalism Award.

Bob is currently the Chairman of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee and is actively involved in representing civilian and military pro bono clients. Vandeventer Black received the Law Firm of the Year – Large Practice Award presented by the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia (LASEV) in 2017 under Bob’s leadership.

Bob was involved in firm management for many years, and aided in the firm’s transition from a single location firm with 12 attorneys to the multi-office and multi-state organization it is today.

  • News

    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 ...
    Read More
    27 Vandeventer Black Attorneys Named ‘The Best Lawyers in America’ of 2018
    / Firm News
    Best Lawyers®, a respected publication that ranks attorneys based on peer review, recently announced ‘The Best Lawyers in America’ list (2018 Edition). Attorneys from the law offices of Vandeventer Black LLP, were selected to receive this prestigious recognition in one or more categories. The recognized attorneys are: Admiralty and Maritime ...
    Read More
    Twenty-two Vandeventer Black Attorneys 2016 Legal Elite Finalists
    / Firm News
    Annually, Virginia Business Magazine partners with the Virginia Bar Association to grant the ‘Legal Elite Awards’. For 2016, twenty-two Vandeventer Black attorneys were selected for this recognition. Lawyers are nominated by their peers for each category. “Our legal team puts in their heart and soul to ensure the well-being of ...
    Read More
  • Articles

    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 ...
    Read More
    27 Vandeventer Black Attorneys Named ‘The Best Lawyers in America’ of 2018
    / Firm News
    Best Lawyers®, a respected publication that ranks attorneys based on peer review, recently announced ‘The Best Lawyers in America’ list (2018 Edition). Attorneys from the law offices of Vandeventer Black LLP, were selected to receive this prestigious recognition in one or more categories. The recognized attorneys are: Admiralty and Maritime ...
    Read More
    Twenty-two Vandeventer Black Attorneys 2016 Legal Elite Finalists
    / Firm News
    Annually, Virginia Business Magazine partners with the Virginia Bar Association to grant the ‘Legal Elite Awards’. For 2016, twenty-two Vandeventer Black attorneys were selected for this recognition. Lawyers are nominated by their peers for each category. “Our legal team puts in their heart and soul to ensure the well-being of ...
    Read More

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