An appealing addition
The Legal Elite grows to 16 categories in its 12th year
- November 30, 2011
The Legal Elite added a new category in 2011, appellate law, in recognition of the growth of that practice area in recent years.
The new category raises the number of legal specialties covered in the annual list to 16. In compiling the Legal Elite, the magazine asks lawyers throughout the state to choose the best attorneys among their peers in each category.
One representative from each specialty is profiled on the following pages. The profile subjects are drawn from the top 10 vote getters in each group, but they are not necessarily the recipients of the highest number of votes. Previous profile subjects were not considered.
The attorney profiled for appellate law is L. Steven Emmert, a partner with the Virginia Beach firm Sykes, Bourdon, Ahern & Levy.
Emmert’s practice is devoted solely to appellate law, and he has been very active in promoting interest in that specialty. He started a website on appellate law in 2005, organized the 2008 Virginia Appellate Law Summit and founded the Virginia Bar Association’s Appellate Practice Section in 2009.
On his website, Virginia Appellate News & Analysis, Emmert offers same-day analysis of opinions from the commonwealth’s appellate courts and the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition, he offers advice with a touch of humor such as “Top 10 ways to lose an appeal.”
Emmert is passionate about appellate law because “when you try a case, you can prevent an injustice; when you take on an appeal, you can address a thousand injustices.”
Virginia Business began the Legal Elite in 2000 in collaboration with the Virginia Bar Association. Since then, the number of specialties covered by the list has grown. Likewise, the pool of voters polled for the list has increased over the years from VBA members to any licensed lawyer in the commonwealth.
This year, electronic ballots were emailed to 11,580 attorneys throughout Virginia and ballots also were available online at http://www.VirginiaBusiness.com.
In the end, the magazine received 1,483 completed ballots nominating nearly 3,900 lawyers. Of that number, 811 attorneys, roughly 20 percent, made the cut for the Legal Elite. The number of nominees and honorees on the list is higher than previous years because of the addition of the new category.