The 19th edition of the Virginia Business Legal Elite shows how much public policy affects business.
For example, a tightening labor market has prompted speculation that the federal minimum wage could be raised. Kevin Martingayle, a labor lawyer who is co-founder and partner at Bischoff Martingayle in Virginia Beach, acknowledges that market forces should influence wages, “but increasing the federal minimum wage is far more political than based on economics, and these days, predicting political outcomes is nearly impossible.”
Martingayle is one of the Legal Elite attorneys profiled in the following pages. Each is a representative of the 18 legal categories covered in the list.
Begun in 2000 as a collaboration with the Virginia Bar Association, the Legal Elite this year includes 1,000 lawyers. Virginia Business annually polls more than 14,000 attorneys in the commonwealth, asking them to select from their peers the best lawyers in each practice category. This year, 1,062 lawyers submitted the names of 3,423 nominees.
Since its beginning, the number of Legal Elite categories has grown from 10 to 18. The profile subjects for each category are selected from 10 top vote getters in each group, but scores are not the sole criterion. Lawyers who have been profiled before — a group which numbers more than 245 since 2000 — are excluded.
The practices of some lawyers on Legal Elite involve not only reaction to public policy but also efforts to shape it.
David Albo, a partner with Williams Mullen in Tysons, retired from the House of Delegates last year after 24 years. He was chairman of the House Courts of Justice Committee for a dozen years.
Albo, who is profiled under the Legislative/Administrative/Regulatory category, says his political experience “helps me understand the pressures and divergent interests with which elected officials have to balance. In the end, it is always about their constituents! The best lobbyists know this, tell both sides of the story and are always honest.
“Contrary to the ‘bad rap’ legislators and lobbyists get, legislators are nice people who want to make the right decisions, and lobbyists, while still being advocates, are honest information providers,” he says.