Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig serve as local counsel in the Federal District Court for Eastern District of Virginia, or as many refer to it, the “EDVA.” The Eastern District of Virginia Federal Court has three division (linked); Alexandria, Richmond, and Norfolk/ Newport News. The EDVA Local Rules (click here for a copy), specifically state that “practitioners from another state or the District of Columbia shall be accompanied by a member of the bar of this Court in all appearances before this Court.” Local Rule 83.1(D)(1)(b). For our Virginia Circuit Court and Virginia State Court local counsel page, please click here.
EDVA is Strict and Fast
In fact, the EDVA, Alexandria Division is very strict on the local counsel rule, and unlike Maryland Federal District Court and the District of Columbia Federal District Court (where we also serve as local counsel), an attorney serving as local counsel becomes primarily liable and responsible to the judge in the EDVA. Almost 15 years ago, Judge Leone Brinkema said something that sums up the attitude of many of the EDVA bench, “. . . there is no such thing as local counsel in the EDVA.” In fact the local rules go further than most Federal local rules prohibiting the filing of anything with the court unless “signed by counsel who shall have been admitted to practice in this Court….“ and that “[local counsel] shall have such authority that the Court can deal with the attorney alone in all matters connected with the case.”. We will be your local counsel and take this responsibility on.
The Eastern District of Virginia is famous for its speedy trial timeline. With more than 59,000 cases in the Federal District court system that have been pending for more than three years, the EDVA leads the way in keeping its backlog clear. Final civil pretrial scheduling orders will be entered within 90 to 120 days of the initial service (see the local rules) and are typically set for trial within 5 to 8 months of filing. There was no typographical error in the preceding sentence. Discovery, motions, and trial happen very quickly and you need experienced counsel to make sure nothing is missed. Likewise, non-complex criminal cases are frequently set for trial within the 70-days from indictment under the speedy trial time requirement in 18 U.S.C. 3161.
Our team of experienced attorneys based locally in Vienna, Virginia (Tysons Corner) and in Washington, DC includes civil litigation and white-collar attorneys with more than 40 individual years of experience and hundreds of collective years in the EDVA, and thus know the members of the bench quite well. Likewise, one of our partners is a former Federal prosecutor in the Alexandria Federal Court (Alexandria Division of the EDVA) and spent many years in the courtroom with the judges. Note as of September 26, 2017, there is ongoing construction at the Alexandria Federal Courthouse and this makes parking difficult. See this Notice (click here).
In the Richmond Federal Court system, our lead Richmond partner has spent twenty years of his career in courts. We know the courts, what to expect, and how to manage the incredibly shortened timeline in the “Rocket Docket.”
Norfolk/ Newport News, Virginia
Unlike many firms that only service one of the three EDVA divisions, we have attorneys who live and work in the Norfolk/ Newport News area. We have tried cases in this Norfolk Federal Courthouse and can save, even Northern Virginia-based firms a very long drive for a scheduling conference.
Finally, we understand that lead counsel relationships with clients must be preserved and that cost is a factor with local counsel. Our experienced partners will guide and advise on the case while saving on cost by sending experienced associates to accompany lead counsel in situations where, while local counsel is required, the higher rates of an experienced partner might not be needed. Situations like these include scheduling hearings, depositions, and a host of other situations where many Federal courts do not even require local counsel. Further, we will work to enhance and preserve lead counsel’s relationship with the client, handling as much or as little of the substantive work lead counsel might require.
EDVA Resources for Lawyers who need Local Counsel:
Division Specific Judge’s Chambers Procedures: