2014 Virginia Legal Elite – Appellate Law
Robert B. “Chip” Delano Jr.
Sands Anderson PC, Richmond
Other legal specialties: Tort and insurance coverage litigation with a significant portion of his practice devoted to the defense of life, health, disability and ERISA litigation
Education: Bachelor’s degree and law degree (Order of the Coif), College of William & Mary
Spouse: Mary Ann Delano
Children: Philip, 25; John, 22
Hobbies or pastimes: Lifelong adult volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America with active participation in Scouting activities such as camping, backpacking and fishing
First job as a lawyer: Law clerk to Justice W. Carrington Thompson of the Supreme Court of Virginia and U.S. District Judge Jackson L. Kiser of the Western District of Virginia. “Working under these learned jurists provided me with valuable insight on how appeals are handled in Virginia’s highest appellate court and in the wide variety of civil and criminal litigation that comes before a federal District Court.”
Fan of: William & Mary Tribe
Favorite vacation spot: Northern Neck
Recently read books: “The Feud: The Hatfields & the McCoys, The True Story” by Dean King and “Hot Dogs and Cocktails: When FDR Met King George VI at Hyde Park on Hudson” by Peter Conradi
Career mentor: My longtime law partner and colleague Albert Marcellus Orgain IV
How is appellate law different from other legal specialties?
Appellate law is different from other legal specialties because it gives the attorney the opportunity to help shape the law while handling cases being appealed from the trial court to the appellate court. The appellate attorney’s work may potentially have wide-ranging precedential effects beyond the immediate case to other cases in the future presenting similar facts or that specific point of law.
What was your most memorable case?
My most memorable appellate case to date was my first state appeal, the 1990 case of Zysk v. Zysk, in which the Supreme Court of Virginia unanimously ruled that a woman who had allegedly contracted genital herpes during consensual, premarital sexual intercourse with her husband-to-be was prohibited from later suing him for personal injuries because the very illegal act in which she participated in violation of Virginia’s criminal fornication statute produced the injuries of which she complained. The Zysk case gained local and national notoriety as an excerpt of the oral argument was televised on the local evening news and the court’s published opinion was lampooned in Playboy.