MANAGING PARTNER, RICHMOND OFFICE, WILLIAMS MULLEN, RICHMOND
In his 22-year career with Williams Mullen, the state’s third-largest law firm, Aghdami has focused on high-net-worth individuals and families, middle-market business owners, institutional fiduciaries and charitable entities. An expert in wealth transfer tax and business succession, he has published numerous articles on private-wealth law. He became managing partner at the firm’s Richmond office in 2015.
A graduate of Wake Forest University School of Law and Georgetown University Law Center, where he received a Master of Laws degree in tax, Aghdami is a member of the Southern Federal Tax Institute board and has held leadership positions in numerous professional organizations, including the Virginia Bar Association’s wills, trusts and estates section, of which he was chairman from 2011 to 2013. He has been the state chairman and southeast region chairman for the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and serves on the board of directors of the Mutual Assurance Society of Virginia, a mutual property and casualty insurance company.
He has also sat on boards for the Medical College of Virginia Foundation, Venture Richmond and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Foundation.
FAVORITE SPORTS TEAM: University of Virginia men’s basketball
VICTOR O. CARDWELL
PRINCIPAL AND CHAIRMAN, WOODS ROGERS PLC, ROANOKE
As co-chairman of the firm’s labor and employment law section, Cardwell focuses on diversity, the Fair Labor Standards Act and labor/management relations, including union-organizing campaigns and union-avoidance techniques, as well as workplace violence. President-elect of the Virginia Bar Association, Cardwell is chairman of Woods Rogers’ board, president-elect of the Virginia Bar Association Board of Governors and a member of the Virginia State Bar board that organizes its annual diversity conference.
A graduate of the University of Virginia and the Washington and Lee University School of Law, Cardwell counsels the Bradley Free Clinic and is on the board for the Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges. In 2019, he received the Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major for Social Justice Award from the Roanoke chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
In an interview with Virginia Business last year, Cardwell said that structural and cultural racism is a “historical impediment … so ingrained in our culture that to have a fair conversation, we must look at the health care, housing, educational and judicial systems.”
FAVORITE APP: Duolingo; I am over 300 days taking my Spanish lessons. I am not good, but I can understand and speak more than I could.
SENIOR PARTNER AND FORMER CHAIRMAN, McGUIREWOODS LLP, RICHMOND
The former longtime chairman of Virginia’s largest law firm, Cullen is senior partner in the government investigations and white-collar litigation department. He counsels corporate executives, boards of directors, elected officials (such as former Vice President Mike Pence) and the heads of major nonprofit institutions on sensitive matters often involving national security.
Cullen’s government roots run deep. He served as Virginia’s attorney general from 1997 to 1998 and was U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia during President George H.W. Bush’s administration. He was on President George W. Bush’s legal team during the 2000 Florida recount, served as special counsel to then-U.S. Sen. Paul Trible during the Iran-Contra investigation and was on the staff of U.S. Rep. M. Caldwell Butler during the Watergate investigation.
He also was one of the attorneys advising Virginia Military Institute during a state-ordered investigation into alleged systemic racism at the college, but in early 2021, VMI switched firms.
A graduate of Furman University in South Carolina and the University of Richmond School of Law, Cullen is admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court bar and was behind the institution of McGuireWoods Consulting, the firm’s public affairs arm.
CALVIN W. ‘WOODY’ FOWLER JR.
CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, WILLIAMS MULLEN, RICHMOND
Admitted to the commonwealth bar in 1987, Fowler specializes in business litigation. Serving as chairman, president and CEO of the state’s third-largest law firm since 2015, he has represented a variety of institutional clients, including universities, health care systems, insurance companies, nursing homes and assisted living facilities. He’s one of just 20 attorneys who have been included in Virginia Business’ Legal Elite each year since the project began in 2000. This year, he was named Richmond Lawyer of the Year for Litigation, Banking and Finance by Best Lawyers. Chambers USA ranks him as an eminent practitioner.
The University of Virginia alum serves on the boards of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.
With seven offices, including five in Virginia, Williams Mullen reported $148 million in 2020 revenue.
RECENT READ: “My American Journey,” by Colin Powell with Joseph E. Persico
THOMAS R. FRANTZ
CHAIRMAN EMERITUS AND PARTNER, WILLIAMS MULLEN, VIRGINIA BEACH
In Frantz’s 47 years at Williams Mullen, he has served as the firm’s chairman, CEO and president, all while advising multinational corporations, handling major mergers and acquisitions, and lecturing on tax and corporate law at local universities and national professional associations.
Chair of the GO Virginia Region 5 Council, he has served on numerous community boards, including the Hampton Roads Community Foundation and the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce.
Frantz also sits on the board of Miller Energy Inc. and Virginia Beach-based DroneUp, an aerial drone solutions company in which Walmart recently invested and for which Frantz served as an adviser.
A William & Mary graduate with three degrees, he sat on W&M’s board of visitors for nine years and also serves on its Real Estate Foundation board. The retired U.S. Army captain also was King Neptune XXIII at the Virginia Beach Neptune Festival in 1996.
BEVERAGE OF CHOICE: California cabernet
RECENT READ: “A Gambling Man,” by David Baldacci
WHAT I WOULD CHANGE ABOUT VIRGINIA: More focus on strengthening its regions.
RISA L. GOLUBOFF
DEAN, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA SCHOOL OF LAW, CHARLOTTESVILLE
The 12th dean of the University of Virginia School of Law is also its first female dean. Goluboff assumed the post in 2015 after a 13-year professorship, during which she directed the university’s J.D.-M.A. in History program. In December, she was appointed to a second five-year term as dean.
Last year’s entering class was the most diverse in the law school’s history, with more than half of the students made up of women and 33% identifying as people of color.
Long interested in social justice, Goluboff taught sociology at the University of Cape Town in South Africa as a Fulbright Scholar and is an award-winning author of two books, “The Lost Promise of Civil Rights” and “Vagrant Nation: Police Power, Constitutional Change, and the Making of the 1960s.” The latter project was supported by a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship.
At U.Va., she teaches law and history, and Goluboff has received the school’s Carl McFarland Prize and its All-University Teaching Award.
She holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard, master’s and doctoral degrees from Princeton University and a J.D. from Yale Law School. She clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.
DOUGLAS S. GRANGER
MANAGING PARTNER, RICHMOND OFFICE, HUNTON ANDREWS KURTH LLP, RICHMOND
A lifetime career at Virginia’s second-largest law firm — first joining what was then Hunton & Williams as a summer associate in 1984 — culminated with Granger being named managing partner of the firm’s Richmond office in 2017. Over his decades there, he has developed expertise working with multinational companies on corporate mergers and acquisitions across a wide range of industry sectors: energy, building/construction, media and telecommunications, public utility, tobacco, insurance, railroads and health care. Granger is especially versed in U.K. strategic acquisitions and was lead counsel for several M&A Atlas Award-winning multibillion-dollar deals.
Now a global firm with more than 1,000 attorneys in 19 cities and two client centers, Hunton employs 200 attorneys in its Richmond headquarters office.
A graduate of William & Mary and the University of Virginia School of Law, the Richmond native has served on boards for the American Heart Association and the Maymont Foundation. The father of four has coached football, basketball and baseball and volunteers with United Way, the YWCA and the Boy Scouts, parlaying his interest in sports as a board member of the Tuckahoe YMCA and Avalon Recreation Association.
ROGER L. GREGORY
CHIEF JUDGE, U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT, RICHMOND
Born in Philadelphia but with deep roots in Virginia, Gregory was appointed in 2000 by President Bill Clinton, becoming the first Black person to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He was renominated by President George W. Bush in 2001, achieving another milestone as the first federal appellate court appointee by presidents of opposing political parties.
Gregory’s political standing was long in the making as co-founder of Wilder & Gregory, the Richmond firm he started with former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, the nation’s first elected Black governor. Gregory graduated from Virginia State University and the University of Michigan Law School.
Appointed chief judge in 2016, Gregory’s notable opinions have humanitarian leanings. In 2014, he joined the majority opinion declaring Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. In 2017, he upheld a lower court’s injunction blocking President Donald Trump’s travel ban on refugees and nationals from certain countries.
A member of the Judicial Conference of the United States, Gregory has served on the boards of the Industrial Development Authority of Richmond, Leadership Metro Richmond and ChildFund International. He is a trustee emeritus for the University of Richmond.
MARGARET F. HARDY
SHAREHOLDER, PRESIDENT, SANDS ANDERSON PC, FREDERICKSBURG
A triumvirate of skills and experience has served Hardy well in her role as president of Sands Anderson, a firm that includes health care and related regulatory issues among its practice areas. A registered nurse with an MBA from Old Dominion University and a law degree from William & Mary, Hardy is the managing shareholder in the firm’s Fredericksburg office, representing health care providers, agencies and facilities in malpractice actions.
Hardy joined the firm more than 20 years ago as a summer associate, becoming its president in 2017. Also the president of the Virginia Women Attorneys Association, she is frequently named to professional “best of” lists among law associations. She serves as legal counsel for the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce and is on the board of trustees for Mary Washington Healthcare, UMFS and the Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region.
In her spare time, Hardy is a fiber artist, raising Angora goats and spinning their wool for yarn she uses in her art. She also likes riding motorcycles.
FAVORITE BOOK: “To Kill a Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee
JONATHAN P. HARMON
CHAIRMAN, McGUIREWOODS LLP, RICHMOND
A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Harmon is a Gulf War veteran who served in the Army’s 1st Cavalry Division, and he has headed McGuireWoods since 2017. A nationally recognized trial lawyer who formerly led the firm’s business and securities litigation department, he is its first Black chairman and a leader for the firm’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Harmon’s notable clients include Yahoo!, International Paper Co., United Parcel Service and DuPont. In many instances, he is “parachuted” into high-profile cases a short time before trial — a sort of secret weapon who nets multimillion-dollar results.
He’s a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Virginia Law Foundation, as well as a board member of the Pro Bono Institute, and Harmon also was included in The Best Lawyers in America for 2021.
A graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Harmon participates in a mentorship program for local high school students interested in legal careers. He has for several years led Bible-study classes for prisoners through Faith Landmarks Ministries.
BRANT J. HELLWIG
PROFESSOR OF LAW, WASHINGTON AND LEE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW, LEXINGTON
An expert in the field of federal taxation, Hellwig taught partnership, corporate, and estate and gift taxation at Washington and Lee University from 2012 until 2015, when he was named dean. In 2020, he announced he would return to full-time faculty after a sabbatical, stepping down as dean in June 2021. Michelle Lyon Drumbl, the Robert O. Bentley Professor of Law and director of W&L’s Tax Clinic, is serving as interim dean.
A Wake Forest University and New York University alumnus, Hellwig is credited with leading the law school through a difficult financial period and hiring more minority and female educators, who now make up 50% of the school’s faculty. Students named him “Faculty Member of the Year” in 2020.
Hellwig is widely published in law review journals and academic textbooks, including “The United States Tax Court: An Historical Analysis,” commissioned by the U.S. Tax Court. His published works tackle topics ranging from federal estate and gift taxation to the estate tax treatment of closely held business entities employed as trust substitutes.
Prior to W&L, Hellwig taught at the University of South Carolina School of Law for a decade.
THOMAS C. INGLIMA
MANAGING PARTNER, WILLCOX SAVAGE PC, NORFOLK
Inglima, who specializes in mergers and acquisitions, replaced Robert L. Dewey as the firm’s managing partner in June 2021, after having served as a member of Willcox Savage’s management committee for two decades and as chair of its compensation committee. He also previously chaired the firm’s corporate, securities and finance practice group.
The firm, which has 60 attorneys in three offices (Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Tysons), celebrated its 125th anniversary last year and boasts 29 practice areas ranging from banking and intellectual property to transportation and maritime law. Real estate is its one of its largest practices, with 11 attorneys.
A graduate of Duke University and Georgetown University Law Center, Inglima was lead counsel to Landmark Communications Inc. when the Norfolk media company sold its flagship property, The Weather Channel, to NBCUniversal for a reported $3.5 billion. He also has represented Dominion Enterprises in several sales and is general counsel to the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission, which oversees major traffic projects in the region.
JOHN ‘JACK’ LAVOIE
PARTNER IN CHARGE — RESTON, COOLEY LLP, RESTON
The head of Cooley’s real estate practice group, Lavoie focuses on commercial transactions, including the purchase, sale, and development and leasing of office, industrial, retail and technology-driven properties. He has represented buyers and sellers, landlords and tenants, and corporations and individuals. He established a subspecialty representing clean and renewable energy projects, including the development of wind and solar lease farms and related installations.
A graduate of Catholic University and the Georgetown University Law Center, Lavoie joined the Palo Alto, California-based law firm in 2008, handling transactions throughout the Washington, D.C., metro area and mid-Atlantic region with retail projects including Tysons Corner Center and Potomac Mills.
Before joining Cooley, Lavoie was a partner at Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald, a firm specializing in construction and surety law in five cities, and Staubach Co., a real estate advisory firm. A classmate of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Lavoie served on the transition committee after McAuliffe was elected in 2013.
Lavoie is a member of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties and the Greater Washington Commercial Association of Realtors. He cites American history and Minor League Baseball among his passions.
DONALD W. LEMONS
CHIEF JUSTICE, SUPREME COURT OF VIRGINIA, RICHMOND
Born in Washington, D.C., Lemons has served as a judge or justice at every level of Virginia’s judiciary. He was named the 26th chief justice of the Virginia Supreme Court by his fellow justices in 2015 after 15 years of service on the commonwealth’s highest court.
Lemons also is a well-regarded educator who’s currently a distinguished professor of judicial studies at Washington and Lee University; he formerly served as assistant law dean at the University of Virginia, his alma mater. He also was an adjunct professor of law at the University of Richmond’s law school.
Reared in Northern Virginia — his father was a Secret Service agent on the protection detail for President Harry S. Truman — Lemons started out as a probation officer for the Fairfax County Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court. Lemons was in private law practice for 18 years before his 1995 judicial appointment to the Richmond Circuit Court, where he created a pioneering “drug court” for nonviolent offenders. The General Assembly elected him to Virginia’s Court of Appeals in 1998.
The former president of the American Inns of Court also received the Lewis F. Powell Jr. Award for Professionalism and Ethics in 2019.
MONICA T. MONDAY
MANAGING PARTNER, GENTRY LOCKE ATTORNEYS, ROANOKE
The first woman to lead Gentry Locke, Virginia’s ninth-largest law firm, Monday joined the firm in 1993, making partner in 1999. She has been managing partner at the 63-attorney firm since January 2013.
She also leads the firm’s appellate practice, representing clients in state and federal appellate courts in cases involving commercial and business disputes, health care, personal injury, local government matters and domestic relations.
Last year, Best Lawyers in America named her “Roanoke Lawyer of the Year for Appellate Practice.” With her 2015 induction as a fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, Monday was only the fifth Virginia attorney to be so honored.
The William & Mary alumna is a longtime board member of The Harvest Foundation and also served for a decade on the board of the Virginia Museum of Natural History.
FIRST JOB: Working at FAO Schwarz toy store
PERSON I ADMIRE: My mother, who, while raising two teenage girls, worked full time and put herself through college.
THURSTON R. MOORE
CHAIRMAN EMERITUS AND SPECIAL COUNSEL, HUNTON ANDREWS KURTH LLP, RICHMOND
A Richmond native, Moore received his bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Virginia and joined the state’s now-second-largest law firm right after graduation in 1974.
Moore’s expertise lies in corporate and securities representation, with particular emphasis on corporate financing and governance, venture capital, real estate investment trusts and partnership law. His tenure at Hunton Andrews Kurth includes seven years as chairman of its executive committee and 15 as managing partner.
He has a particular interest in educational missions. Moore is board chairman emeritus of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and chairs the board of NextUp RVA, an after-school program for Richmond middle school students.
He also serves as president of the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation, which funds nonprofit organizations in and around Richmond, awarding about $128 million since 1988.
FAVORITE APP: PictureThis for plant identification
MOST RECENT BOOK READ: “Rescuing the Planet: Protecting Half the Land to Heal the Earth,” by Tony Hiss
WHAT I WOULD CHANGE ABOUT VIRGINIA: Giving the public more access to the culture of our state through museums and teaching more history in the schools.
PRESIDENT, VIRGINIA STATE BAR; FOUNDER AND OWNER, THE MYERSON LAW GROUP PC, RESTON
Myerson, former president of the Fairfax Bar Association, is serving as the 2021-22 president of the Virginia State Bar. Unlike the Virginia Bar Association, which is an independent nonprofit organization for Virginia attorneys, the state bar is an administrative agency for the Supreme Court of Virginia but does not receive state tax dollars.
A double graduate of Georgetown University, Myerson practiced civil litigation and ERISA for two years as an associate, was a litigation and enforcement attorney for the Federal Election Commission from 1978 to 1980, and returned to private practice as a partner at Israel & Raley for six years. In 1986, he founded his small litigation practice, which specializes in family law, criminal defense and civil disputes.
A member of the state bar’s executive committee since 2018, Myerson has volunteered his time with the budget and finance committee and served for six years on its legal ethics committee. Over the years, he has been honored by the Fairfax Bar Association and the Virginia State Bar multiple times. He also has been inducted as a fellow in the Virginia Law Foundation.
RICHARD H. OTTINGER
PRESIDENT, VIRGINIA BAR ASSOCIATION; PARTNER, VANDEVENTER BLACK LLP, NORFOLK
Recognized for his expertise in admiralty and maritime law, Ottinger currently serves as president of the Virginia Bar Association, the nation’s oldest voluntary organization for attorneys. Among the VBA’s goals are completing its strategic plan and building membership and relationships with law schools.
The association, which is known for its Virginia gubernatorial candidates’ debate held at the Omni Homestead Resort every four years, decided this year to cancel the event after Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin declined to participate.
An experienced litigator at Vandeventer Black, Ottinger focuses on intellectual property disputes, tort defense, transportation and maritime litigation, and complex trust and estate disputes for clients ranging from international manufacturing companies to small partnerships. He also serves on the firm’s executive board and co-chairs its government relations committee.
Ottinger’s recognitions include Virginia Lawyers Weekly’s “Leaders in the Law” in 2020 and the Virginia Bar Association Young Lawyers Division’s Sandra P. Thompson Award.
He’s a graduate of Boston University and the William & Mary School of Law and currently serves on the boards of the Norfolk Economic Development Authority and the Downtown Norfolk Council.
COURTNEY MOATES PAULK
PRESIDENT, HIRSCHLER, RICHMOND
Paulk was named the 75-year-old firm’s first female president in 2018 and heads its litigation practice.
Her expertise in the construction industry has garnered recognitions in Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA and Virginia Super Lawyers. She represents developers and contractors on claims and dispute resolution, contracts and industry-specific issues such as defective work, mechanics liens and payment bonds. Paulk is a member of the Associated General Contractors and the Virginia State Bar’s Construction Law and Public Contracts Section, as well as a fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
With 86 attorneys, Hirschler has offices in Richmond, Fredericksburg and Tysons, and it has had a real-estate practice since the 1970s.
A Virginia native, Paulk is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington and the University of Richmond School of Law.
Outside of legal circles, Paulk is well known as a competitive open-water swimmer. She is the only person to complete the “Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming” four times — circling Manhattan and crossing the English and Catalina channels.
Paulk also volunteers with SwimRVA, a nonprofit community aquatics organization, and serves on the board of Richmond Sports Backers.
WENDY COLLINS PERDUE
DEAN, UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND SCHOOL OF LAW, RICHMOND
Perdue had a long teaching career as associate dean and professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center before becoming dean of the University of Richmond School of Law in 2011. Her areas of expertise include civil procedure, conflict of laws and land use.
Recognizing the 150th anniversary of UR’s law school in 2020, Perdue wrote an op-ed column in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, focusing on attorneys serving the needs of community members compassionately and ethically.
A graduate of Wellesley College and the Duke University School of Law, where she was editor-in-chief of the law journal, Perdue began her career at Hogan & Hartson in Washington, D.C., after clerking for then-Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Anthony M. Kennedy, who later was named to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Perdue is widely published in her areas of practice. She was the editor of the two-volume “Procedure and Private International Law” (2017).
Perdue is the immediate past president of the Association of American Law Schools and a former vice president of Order of the Coif, an honor society for law school graduates.
JOHN M. RAMIREZ
MANAGING PARTNER, VIRGINIA BEACH OFFICE, TROUTMAN PEPPER, VIRGINIA BEACH
Ramirez is the longtime leader of the Virginia Beach office of Troutman Pepper (formerly known as Troutman Sanders before the Atlanta-based Troutman Sanders merged last year with Philadelphia’s Pepper Hamilton law firm).
A University of Virginia and University of Richmond School of Law graduate, Ramirez has focused his practice on mergers and acquisitions, private equity, venture capital transactions and commercial finance transactions. His representation has included all aspects of business for a national specialty contractor; product development negotiation and license agreement for a software company; and a private equity fund’s acquisition and financing of a distribution business.
Best Lawyers in America last year named Ramirez the Corporate Law Norfolk Lawyer of the Year, and it has recognized him for his mergers and acquisitions work every year since 2012.
Ramirez is also a 2008 alumnus of Norfolk’s CIVIC Leadership Institute, an eight-month program studying civic service and community impact in the Hampton Roads region.
ALLISON AND DOROTHY ROUSE DEAN, ANTONIN SCALIA LAW SCHOOL, GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY, ARLINGTON
Randall joined George Mason University’s Scalia Law School as its dean in late 2020.
Formerly the dean of the University of Alabama School of Law from 1994 to 2013, Randall oversaw the creation of the nation’s first online Master of Laws degree at an American Bar Association-accredited law school and helped Alabama Law’s U.S. News & World Report ranking rise from 96th to 21st place.
With a doctorate and a master’s degree in international law from Columbia University, he also holds degrees from Yale and Hofstra universities and was editor-in-chief of the Hofstra Law Review.
Randall also is an entrepreneur. In 2013, he founded iLaw Distance Education, a market leader in online legal education, partnering with nearly 25% of all law schools. In 2017, BARBRI Holdings, through Leeds Capital, acquired iLawVentures LLC for an undisclosed amount.
In a February 2021 interview with Above the Law, Randall touted George Mason’s law school faculty and its proximity to Washington, D.C., and Amazon.com Inc.’s HQ2 in Arlington. “We need to be aware that lawyers work collaboratively,” he said. “That’s really what being a lawyer in 2021 is all about.”
LAURA FOOTE REIFF
CO-MANAGING SHAREHOLDER — NORTHERN VIRGINIA OFFICE, GREENBERG TRAURIG LLP, McLEAN
Reiff works in a timely field of law: immigration and compliance, which includes her role as legal counsel for the Essential Worker Immigration Coalition, a business alliance group she co-founded in 1999.
She manages Greenberg Traurig’s business immigration and compliance practice, advising U.S. and foreign corporations on compliance-related issues such as Form I-9 eligibility employment verification matters. She conducts I-9, H-1B and H-2B compliance inspections relating to routine internal reviews and due diligence during mergers and acquisitions or investigations.
Reiff also co-chairs the international employment, immigration and workforce strategies subgroup for the firm’s labor and employment practice. A founding member of the EB-5 Immigration Coalition, she is an immigration advocate — particularly for businesses employing lesser-skilled immigrant labor — and has represented businesses within the framework of the Regional Center Program created by the federal government under the auspices of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, which offered permanent residency to qualified foreign investors. It expired in July but is under consideration by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
A former trustee for the American Immigration Law Foundation, Reiff joined the firm in 1999 after earning her juris doctorate from the George Washington University Law School.
F. DOUGLAS ROSS
MANAGING SHAREHOLDER, ODIN, FELDMAN & PITTLEMAN PC, RESTON
A seasoned litigator, Ross specializes in representation banking, real estate, title insurance, shareholder and partnership disputes, and defamation law. Ross primarily appears before the Virginia state courts and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, is admitted to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia and occasionally represents clients in courts outside of the state.
A graduate of the George Washington University Law School and Duke University, last year Ross was recognized by The Best Lawyers in America for commercial litigation, and he holds the “AV Preeminent” rating from Martindale-Hubbell through its peer review rating system for professional excellence and integrity.
Established in 1972, Odin, Feldman & Pittleman employs more than 60 attorneys in numerous practice areas ranging from family law and real estate to corporate and technology law. The firm is nationally ranked Tier 2 in four practice areas and regionally ranked Tier 1 in four practice areas, including commercial litigation, in U.S. News & World Report’s annual ranking of law firms.
KATHERINE ‘KATE’ J. SEIKALY
MANAGING PARTNER, TYSONS OFFICE, REED SMITH LLP, McLEAN
In her 12 years at global law firm Reed Smith LLP, Seikaly has established herself in the areas of government and internal investigations, regulatory compliance and enforcement matters. She has particular expertise in white collar investigations, financial crime and other fraud and abuse matters, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the False Claims Act, which penalizes those submitting false claims to the government. She represents clients in health care, manufacturing, defense, and financial and banking services.
In 2019, Seikaly successfully co-led the defense of the Russian-owned Concord Management & Consulting LLC, which was indicted by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller for conspiracy to defraud the United States for its alleged role in meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election to sway it in President Donald Trump’s favor. The case was dropped in 2020.
Seikaly earned her juris doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law. She has been named to Global Investigations Review’s Women in Investigations 2021 list and is an executive board member of the Federal Bar Association’s Qui Tam section, which focuses on the False Claims Act.
FAVORITE SPORTS TEAM: Washington Nationals
ONE THING I WOULD CHANGE ABOUT VIRGINIA: More railway!
PHILIPPE JEAN-CLAUDE SIGNORE
MANAGING PARTNER, OBLON, McCLELLAND, MAIER & NEUSTADT LLP, ALEXANDRIA
A patent attorney in the firm’s Electrical and Mechanical Patent Prosecution group, Signore focuses on litigation, monetizing and technology transfer, representing clients in the fields of energy, software electronics and consumer products. With a doctorate in physics from the University of Florida, he has expertise working with industries such as aerospace, semiconductors, optical systems, medical devices, automotive, energy, solid state batteries, oil and gas, consumer electronics, computer hardware, software and artificial intelligence.
A graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Georgetown University Law Center, Signore has been named an “IP Star” by Managing IP Magazine for three consecutive years, and he’s been on Intellectual Asset Management Magazine’s list of the top 1,000 patent prosecution attorneys in the world from 2016 to 2020. He is widely published on the topic of patents in America, Europe and Asia, where he also regularly lectures. Signore has taught patent law at the George Mason School of Law and at the Center for International Intellectual Property Studies (CEIPI) in Strasbourg, France.
Signore’s doctorate work included solid state physics, superconductivity, semiconductors and magnetic materials. He has won several national awards for his work in electrical and mechanical patents.
BROOKS M. SMITH
MANAGING PARTNER, RICHMOND OFFICE, TROUTMAN PEPPER, RICHMOND
Smith, whose practice includes compliance, health and safety law, has represented clients such as Dominion Energy, the Virginia Manufacturers Association and the Virginia Coal & Energy Alliance.
He’s written extensively on developments relating to the Clean Water Act and other environmental laws, and he has chaired conferences across the United States and Canada. He has advised federal and state trade associations, including the Corporate Environmental Enforcement Council and the Virginia Manufacturing Council, advocating for companies before the Environmental Protection Agency and state environmental agencies.
He joined Troutman Pepper in 2013 (when it was known as Troutman Sanders), after 13 years with Hunton & Williams (now Hunton Andrews Kurth).
Smith is a past trustee of the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation and the Energy and Mineral Law Foundation.
A graduate of the Vermont Law School, he serves on the boards of Art on Wheels, the Richmond Jazz Society and Richmond CultureWorks. He also is a past board member of the Valentine Museum, and a board member emeritus of the Richmond Public Library Foundation.
A. BENJAMIN SPENCER
DEAN, CHANCELLOR PROFESSOR OF LAW, WILLIAM & MARY LAW SCHOOL, WILLIAMSBURG
When Spencer was named dean at America’s oldest law school last year, he made history himself as William & Mary’s first Black dean. He also is the Chancellor Professor of Law, covering civil procedure, federal civil litigation and military law.
Spencer has a distinguished career as an educator, having served as the Justice Thurgood Marshall Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Virginia and director of the Frances Lewis Law Center and associate dean for research at Washington and Lee University. He was the 2019-20 Bennett Boskey Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He started his career teaching at the University of Richmond School of Law.
A captain in the U.S. Army Reserve Judge Advocate General’s Corps, Spencer is the third generation of men in his family to achieve distinctive firsts. His father is retired U.S. District Court Senior Judge James R. Spencer — the nation’s first Black chief judge — and his grandfather, Dr. Adam S. Arnold, was the first Black professor at the University of Notre Dame.
Spencer earned his law degree from Harvard, a master’s degree in criminal justice policy from the London School of Economics and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Morehouse College.
MICHAEL LAURENCE STERLING
MANAGING PARTNER, VANDEVENTER BLACK LLP, NORFOLK
In his 36-year career at the Norfolk-based law firm, Sterling has built an expertise in construction law, on a wide array of projects including wind tunnels, cable-stay bridges, highways, stadiums, hotels, hospitals, condominiums and ship construction. He has represented stakeholders from general contractors and design professionals to vendors, manufacturers and owners.
Sterling is also versed in nonconstruction areas such as eminent domain and land use, securities fraud, commercial litigation and work disputes. He manages Vandeventer Black’s dispute-resolution area and serves
as an arbitrator and mediator for the American Arbitration Association.
A graduate of William & Mary Law School, Sterling is a past chairman of the Virginia Bar Association Construction and Public Contract Law Executive Council. He serves on the board of directors of Eggleston Services, which provides services for people with disabilities, and serves as treasurer for its foundation. He is also a board member of WHRO, Hampton Roads’ public radio and television station.
WHAT MAKES ME PASSIONATE ABOUT MY WORK: An evolution of challenges each day, and opportunities to do well for others
NEW LIFE EXPERIENCE: Baking bread
DANIEL C. SUMMERLIN III
PRINCIPAL AND PRESIDENT, WOODS ROGERS PLC, ROANOKE
President of the firm since 2015, Summerlin focuses on environmental law, specializing in water, waste and air-quality compliance, and has a subspecialty in brownfield redevelopment. He has represented clients before the Environmental Protection Agency, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and other state environmental agencies.
Summerlin is also versed in labor and employment, recently authoring publications on employment law in Virginia, and he has presented on COVID-19 issues in the workplace. He is a litigator and counsels clients on government investigations and white collar criminal defense.
A Roanoke native and University of North Carolina alumnus, Summerlin has worked at Woods Rogers since his 1997 graduation from William & Mary Law School. He is admitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals’ Fourth Circuit and the U.S. District Court’s Eastern and Western districts of Virginia.
At 127 years old and with more than 80 attorneys, Woods Rogers is among Virginia’s top 10 largest firms, with offices in Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Richmond and Roanoke. Summerlin serves on the executive board of Roanoke’s Council of Community Services and was part of a 2019 team that won the Subaru Ironman Mont-Tremblant relay in Quebec.
ROBERT M. ‘BOB’ TATA
MANAGING PARTNER, NORFOLK OFFICE, HUNTON ANDREWS KURTH LLP, NORFOLK
Based in the firm’s Norfolk office, Tata has expertise in intellectual property litigation and government investigations and commercial litigation. He is also versed in maritime law, products liability defense, employment law and personal injury.
His victory in X-IT Products vs. Walter Kidde, a patent trade secrets case decided in 2001, yielded the largest jury verdict in Virginia history at $116 million. He is routinely involved in multimillion-dollar cases and is regularly recognized by Chambers USA and Super Lawyers as a top litigator. Tata is an alumnus of the U.S. Naval Academy and the University of Virginia School of Law, and he became a captain in the U.S. Naval Reserve.
A graduate of Old Dominion University’s MBA program, Tata served on ODU’s board of visitors for six years and currently serves on the Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia board. He is a past president of the Virginia Beach Bar Association and the Virginia Beach General Assembly Delegation’s Judicial Recommendation Panel. Tata’s father, the longtime Virginia Beach Republican Del. Bob Tata, died in June at the age of 91.
CARL W. TOBIAS
WILLIAMS PROFESSOR OF LAW, UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND SCHOOL OF LAW, RICHMOND
The author or co-author of more than 200 law review articles, Tobias has honed a particular expertise in federal judicial selection. He is also a widely published commentator, contributing op-eds and essays in national publications such as The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Slate and Politico.
Since 2004, Tobias has been the Williams Professor of Law at the University of Richmond School of Law, where he teaches torts, products liability and constitutional law. Prior to his Virginia teaching career, he taught at William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada and the University of Montana School of Law. He began his legal career at Hunton & Williams (now Hunton Andrews Kurth) in Richmond, practicing general civil litigation and general environmental law.
He was a legal consultant to the Food and Drug Administration and the American Bar Association’s Commission on the Twenty-First Century Judiciary, and since 2005, he has been a reporter for the National Conference on Appellate Justice. Tobias belongs to the American Law Institute, whose members are judges, lawyers and legal scholars.
Tobias received his bachelor’s degree from Duke University and his law degree from the University of Virginia.
WILLIAM R. ‘BILL’ VAN BUREN III
PRESIDENT AND CHAIRMAN, KAUFMAN & CANOLES PC, NORFOLK
Van Buren’s practice focuses on merger and acquisition transactions, banking and finance, corporate law, capital formation, contract negotiation and health care.
A past president of the Virginia Bar Association and the Virginia Law Foundation, in 1981 he joined the Canoles, Mastracco law firm, which became Kaufman & Canoles in a merger. The firm, which has offices in eight cities in Virginia, is the recipient of the Corporate Darden Award for Regional Leadership. This year, it opened an office in Raleigh, North Carolina.
A William & Mary and University of Virginia School of Law alumnus, Van Buren serves on the executive boards of the Fort Norfolk Retirement Community, the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges. He is also on the boards of several charitable and local civic organizations in and around Hampton Roads.
FIRST JOB: Newspaper delivery (Van Buren’s family owned the Daily Press until 1986.)
BEVERAGE OF CHOICE: Woodford Reserve bourbon on the rocks
ONE THING I WOULD CHANGE ABOUT VIRGINIA: Erase city boundaries and create strong regional governments that would bolster coordinated economic development and consistent regional priorities.
J. TRACY WALKER IV
MANAGING PARTNER, McGUIREWOODS LLP, RICHMOND
As the leader of McGuireWoods’ product liability team, Walker has counseled a range of manufacturing clients in industries ranging from power tools to automobiles. He also has represented some of the world’s largest automakers in national trial, class action and appellate litigation across state borders and jurisdictions.
Over his career, Walker also has handled consumer products safety and class action suits, in addition to commercial litigation at the trial and appellate levels. He is versed in Consumer Products Safety Commission investigations. In 2017, he became managing partner of the state’s largest law firm, 19 years after joining McGuireWoods.
For more than 10 years, Walker has been recognized by Chambers USA in America’s Leading Lawyers for business, litigation, products liability in Virginia.
A member of the Virginia Bar Association, Walker was a member of its Boyd-Graves Conference, which studies and proposes reforms to state laws. Walker also served in several roles with the Richmond Bar Association, including as president and on its board of directors for 11 years. A graduate of the University of Virginia in mechanical engineering, Walker earned his law degree from Harvard Law School.