Firm History

1883  Norfolk, Virginia, Floyd Hughes opened a solo law practice which would eventually become Vandeventer Black LLP.

1884  Francis M. Whitehurst became a partner of Mr. Hughes. The firm’s name became “Whitehurst and Hughes”, and stayed as such until 1906.

1906  Mr. Hughes resumed practice under his own name until 1912. (Although the records are not clear, it is believed that Mr. Whitehurst died or retired in 1906. His name does not appear in the list of lawyers after 1906.)

1912  Mr. Hughes was joined by a brilliant young lawyer, Mr. Braden Vandeventer, whose name is the “Vandeventer” in “Vandeventer Black”. Mr. Vandeventer had been practicing in Newport News. The firm’s name became “Hughes and Vandeventer”.

1919  John “Jack” W. Eggleston joined the firm, and shortly thereafter until 1928, the firm’s name became “Hughes, Vandeventer, and Eggleston”.

1928  The firm’s name became “Vandeventer, Eggleston, and Black”. Mr. Hughes retired, and Barron F. Black joined the firm.

1935  Mr. Eggleston became a Judge of the Supreme Court of Virginia, Virginia’s highest court, and the firm name became Vandeventer and Black, and so it remained until 1948. Justice Eggleston became a highly respected  and renowned Chief Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court.

1941  Hugh S. Meredith worked for the firm briefly as an associate before entering the Navy in which he served as the CO of a minesweeper in the Pacific during World War II. Mr. Meredith would rejoin the firm after the war.

1948  Mr. Meredith became a partner, and firm name became “Vandeventer, Black, and Meredith”.  Mr. Black chose not to place his name first even though he was the senior member of the partnership. The firm had been known for so long by its English clients as “the Vandeventer firm” that it would have been shortsighted to lose that designation.  Further, Mr. Vandeventer’s son, Braden Vandeventer, Jr., was serving in the US Army in Germany and would join the firm in 1948.

1956  Walter B. Martin, who had joined the firm in 1954 as an associate, became a partner, and the firm’s name was changed to Vandeventer, Black, Meredith & Martin. Mr. Martin went on to serve in the Virginia House of Delegates in the 1970’s.

1984 The firm moves its main office to the present location at the World Trade Center.

1991  Opened an office in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

1994  A small London office was opened to provide a platform for the firm’s representation of the London P&I Clubs.

1998  Following a trend in the legal industry, the firm’s name was shortened to “Vandeventer Black LLP” with the gracious consent of Mr. Martin and Mr. Meredith. The firm had grown to over 40 lawyers by 1998.

2000  William E. Franczek, a professional engineer who received his law degree from Syracuse University in 1982.  Franczek joined the firm back in the 1980s and served as the firm’s Managing Partner from 2000 until 2013.

2001  Opened an office in Raleigh, North Carolina.

2005  Opened an office in downtown Richmond, Virginia. Also in 2005, the firm moved its international office to its current location in Hamburg, Germany, as an affiliation with the Hamburg law firm of Ahlers and Vogel.

2006  Foundation of and initial funding for the Vandeventer Black Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that provides financial support to worthy causes in the communities where we live and practice.

2007  215 runners and walkers participated in the inaugural Carter Gunn Memorial Stressbuster 8k running race held in the sand dunes of Fort Story in Virginia Beach. The annual race benefits the Vandeventer Black Foundation’s Carter Gunn Fund, which is dedicated to fighting depression and to educating the public about mental health disease.

2018 The firm celebrates its 135th anniversary.