EDVA Norfolk Local Counsel

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EDVA Norfolk Local Counsel


There is a reason counsel in some of the region’s most complicated cases trust Vandeventer Black LLP with their local counsel needs. Our firm has been helping lawyers prosecute and defend their cases before the U.S. District Court in Norfolk for more than 135 years since our firm’s founder started giving advice to London solicitors on local admiralty cases.  Although our lawyers spend most of their time representing their own clients before the Court, our attorneys continue to maintain a robust practice of providing advice on cases before the six judges who sit in the Norfolk/Newport News Divisions of the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA).

The EDVA has earned the title of “Rocket Docket” for having the fastest civil docket in the country.  The rules in place that create that speed can also create significant problems for the unwary.  Our local rules require a lawyer admitted in the District to appear at all hearings and to sign all pleadings.

We view the role of local counsel as more than a signature or a warm body.  We pride ourselves on being familiar with the peculiar rules and practices of the judges in the Newport News and Norfolk Divisions, and focus on helping out-of-town counsel navigate the nuances of these rules and practices.  Our experience representing our own clients before the Court allows us the keen insight to provide real value in the local counsel rule.


Richard Ottinger, Dustin Paul, and Jenny Eaton have collectively appeared as counsel in more than 200 cases in the Norfolk and Newport News District Courts.  They have appeared as local counsel in patent, antitrust, maritime, tort, employment, and contract claims assisting some of the nation’s largest firms and most successful companies.

Richard H. Ottinger

Richard is a trusted local counsel for large national corporations involved in litigation in the Newport News and Norfolk divisions of the EDVA. He has more than twenty years’ experience litigating before the Court, and that experience combined with his leadership roles in the Virginia Bar Association make him well-known to the Court.  For more information about Richard’s representative matters, click here.

Dustin M. Paul

Dustin has an eye for procedure and how to utilize the exceptions to the commonly known rules to the benefit of his clients. His extensive appellate practice helps inform his ability to preserve key issues at the trial court and shapes his insights on dispositive motion practice. For examples of Dustin’s creative strategies and approaches to legal issues, click here.


If you have a matter pending before these courts, we encourage you to review some of our EDVA-specific publications:

Non-EDVA Opinion of the Month: Candy Sticks and the 2nd Circuit
Dustin M. Paul
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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Dustin M. Paul
As a special Halloween Treat, we look at a recent Motion to Dismiss ruling by Judge Doumar. The facts are colorful.  An unidentified SeaWorld employee, dressed as a clown, was working at the Howl-O-Scream event at Busch Gardens in 2018.  He intentionally startled Plaintiff while she was using a set ...
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Dustin M. Paul
I spend a lot of time handling cases on or near the waterfront.  One recent opinion caught my eye.  Judge Jackson ruled on a Motion to Dismiss concerning an oyster farm and distribution business.  The individual defendants were the founders of the corporate defendant—Wharf Oyster Company, LLC.  The Plaintiff was ...
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