2011 Legal Elite profile

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John R. Walk
Hirschler Fleischer PC

Title: Chairman of Litigation Section; member of board of directors; shareholder; and vice president
Other legal specialties: Complex commercial litigation; real estate litigation; trust and estate litigation; appellate litigation; alternative dispute resolution
Birthplace: Bluefield, W.Va.
Education: Bachelor’s degree, College of William & Mary; law degree, University of Richmond School of Law
Wife: Dr. Ellen M. Walk
Children: Sarah, 26; John Jr., 24
Hobbies: Sailing the Chesapeake Bay; playing guitar in the band Usual Suspects
First job as a lawyer: “My first and only job as a lawyer has been with Hirschler Fleischer.”
Fan of: Boston Red Sox
Favorite vacation spot: “At the helm of Jolly Mon anywhere on the Chesapeake Bay”
Recently read book: “Life” by Keith Richards
Career mentors: Everette G. “Buddy” Allen Jr. and Jay M. Weinberg

What was your most memorable civil litigation case? 
“If I had to pick one case, I would have to say the ‘C and I’ zoning litigation in the 1980s.  We represented Fairfax County in defending 300-plus consolidated suits involving 40 plaintiff law firms challenging revisions to the county’s zoning ordinance provisions on office development.  The case resulted in two Virginia Supreme Court appeals, which I argued back-to-back in the same argument session.”

Because of declines in property values, do you expect to see more appeals challenging property assessments? 
“Assessments always trail market value.  In a rising market, landowners benefit from this fact and you see properties trading above assessed value.  In a declining market, the reverse occurs.  Although many assessments are being reduced, we will continue to see a high volume of assessment appeals until the market starts rising again.” 

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