Reports Legal Elite

Legal Elite 2010:  Waiting for clouds to clear

Legal Elite lawyers adapt to the slowly recovering economy

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Legal Elite 2009
Legal Elite 2008
The slow recovery of the U.S. economy still is affecting Virginia’s legal profession.

Top lawyers say their firms are adjusting to the changing demands of clients trying to climb out of the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Gary D. LeClair, chairman and CEO of the Richmond-based firm LeClairRyan, says many of his business-law clients “have had to do more with less, including with their legal budgets. They are naturally asking us to be better, faster and cheaper.

“We see tremendous opportunity in responding to that request and have embraced it,” he says. “Indeed, it is at the core of our current strategy map.”

LeClair’s remarks are echoed by other lawyers profiled in the following pages as part of Virginia Business’ special report on the 2010 Legal Elite.

Since 2000, the magazine has asked lawyers throughout the state to vote for outstanding representatives of their profession in a variety of legal disciplines.

This year the magazine e-mailed electronic ballots to 11,500 lawyers. More than 1,600 participated, voting for 3,826 lawyers in 15 categories.

Lawyers were allowed to vote for others in their firm, but they also had to vote for at least as many attorneys in other firms. “Outside” votes were given greater weight than “inside” votes in arriving at a final tally for each nominee. Twenty percent of the nominees, more than 780 lawyers, made the final list.

The magazine selected representatives from the top 10 vote getters in each category for profiles. They did not necessarily receive the highest scores in their groups. Lawyers profiled in previous Legal Elite reports were not considered.

Like LeClair, another profile subject, Maryellen F. Goodlatte, expects 2011 to be a challenging year for clients in her specialty, real estate law.

“Strong and lean organizations should be poised to take advantage of opportunities that will develop,” says Goodlatte, a shareholder/officer at Glenn, Feldmann, Darby & Goodlatte in Roanoke. “Over the next year, I believe that commercial lenders will continue to tighten controls on real estate-based loans.”

But, she adds, as confidence returns to the marketplace and questions about government policy are answered, “the Virginia real estate industry will rebound.”

And as fortunes of Virginia businesses improve, so will the prospects of its best lawyers. 


Following are selected profiles and the Legal Elite 2010 winners listed by category.


ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
PROFILE:  John McCammon, The McCammon Group, Richmond
LEGAL ELITE LIST


BANKRUPTCY
PROFILE: Richard Maxwell, Woods Rogers PLC, Roanoke
LEGAL ELITE LIST


BUSINESS LAW
PROFILE: Gary LeClair, LeClairRyan, Richmond
LEGAL ELITE LIST


CIVIL LITIGATION
PROFILE: J. Jonathan Schraub, Sands Anderson PC, McLean
LEGAL ELITE LIST


CONSTRUCTION LAW
PROFILE: Courtney Paulk, Hirschler Fleischer, Richmond
LEGAL ELITE LIST


CRIMINAL LAW
PROFILE: Michael Sklaire, GreenbergTraurig, Tysons Corner
LEGAL ELITE LIST


FAMILY/DOMESTIC RELATIONS
PROFILE: George Christie, Christie, Kantor, Griffin, Smith, Shepherd & Chiusano PC, Virginia Beach
LEGAL ELITE LIST


HEALTH LAW
PROFILE: William Carey, Blankenship & Keith PC, Fairfax
LEGAL ELITE LIST


INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
PROFILE: Craig Mytelka, Williams Mullen, Virginia Beach
LEGAL ELITE LIST


LABOR/EMPLOYMENT
PROFILE: William Flanagan, Hogan Lovells US LLP, McLean
LEGAL ELITE LIST


LEGAL SERVICES/PRO BONO
PROFILE: George Hettrick, Hunton & Willians LLP, Richmond
LEGAL ELITE LIST


LEGISLATIVE/REGULATORY/ADMINISTRATIVE
PROFILE: Marina Phillips, Kaufman & Canoles PC, Norfolk
LEGAL ELITE LIST


REAL ESTATE/LAND USE
PROFILE: Maryellen Goodlatte, Glenn, Feldman, Darby & Goodlatte, Roanoke
LEGAL ELITE LIST


TAXES/ESTATES/TRUSTS
PROFILE: Ronald Aucutt, McGuireWoods LLP, McLean
LEGAL ELITE LIST


YOUNG LAWYER
PROFILE: Shantell Nashatka, Huff, Poole & Mahoney PC, Virginia Beach
LEGAL ELITE LIST


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