L. Steven Emmert

Chairman, Appellate Practice Committee of Virginia State Bar’s Litigation Section


Practice focuses exclusively on appellate advocacy in the state and federal courts



§          Born: Elkhart, Indiana

§          Tidewater resident since 1961

§  Admitted to:
      – Virginia State Bar
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia; Western District of Virginia
      – Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals 



Honors and Awards

§          Super Lawyers 2008

§          The Best Lawyers in America – 2007 & 2008 – in the field of appellate law

§          Virginia ‘s Leaders in the Law 2007 award from Virginia Lawyers Weekly

§          Boyd-Graves Conference member



§          J.D., University of Virginia, 1982

§          B.A., Economics, Richmond College , 1979 (departmental honors; Phi Beta Kappa)



§          Private practice: 1982 – 1990 and 1999 – present


§          Public sector: Virginia Beach City Attorney’s Office, 1990 – 1999

            Handled a variety of litigation for the City of Virginia Beach, including major tort

            cases, challenges to municipal authority, eminent domain, tax challenges, civil

            rights, public sector employment cases


§          Founded (2005) and authors appellate Web site Virginia Appellate News &

         Analysis which provides same-day analysis of Supreme Court of Virginia and

         Court of Appeals decisions


§          Developed Supreme Court of Virginia’s program that provides panels of volunteer

         appellate attorneys to represent indigent appellate litigants in civil cases


§          Selected as member of the Appellate Rules Advisory Committee responsible for

         updating the Appellate Advocacy section of Parts 5 & 5A


§          Organized and presented 2008 Virginia Appellate Summit in Richmond

§          Introduced to Virginia the symposium method of teaching appellate advocacy to

         small groups of attorneys


§          Lectures at conferences and seminars on appellate law


Work of Distinction

§          MacArthur v. U.Va. Health Services Foundation, 275 Va. 319 (2008)

Obtained landmark reversal of ruling that had extended charitable immunity to doctors at U.Va. hospital.


§          In re Moseley, 273 Va. 688 (2007)

Designated by Supreme Court to defend trial court’s disciplinary order against attorney; decision reaffirmed right of trial courts to suspend attorneys from practice in their given jurisdiction.


§          McGuire v. Hodges, 273 Va. 199 (2007)

Obtained reinstatement of wrongful death verdict for child’s drowning death; frequently cited case on proximate causation.


§          CTC v. Target Corporation, 274 Va. 341 (2007)

Successful defense of $3.5 million condemnation award; several important rulings on waiver and procedural defaults.


§          Alcoy v. Valley Nursing Homes, 272 Va. 37 (2006)

Obtained reversal of order dismissing premises liability claim; distinguished this claim from medical malpractice claim; remanded for trial.


§          McNally v. Rey, 275 Va. 475 (2008)

Obtained reversal of sanction award against an attorney who had filed bankruptcy petition for his client on the eve of trial; Supreme Court ruled that the filing of a bankruptcy petition is a protected right and cannot be sanctioned.


§          AT&T Wireless PCS v. City Council of Virginia Beach , 155 F.3d 423

          (4th Cir. 1998)

This was the first reported appellate opinion in the nation interpreting the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Obtained a reversal of a trial court’s order compelling the Virginia Beach City Council to approve a controversial cell tower site.


§          Hadeed v. Abraham, No. 03-1779, No. 03-1962, 103 Fed. Appx. 706;

           2004 U.S. App. LEXIS 13496, (4th Cir. June 30, 2004)

Upheld significant award of sanctions for the filing of a frivolous civil rights lawsuit.


§          City of Virginia Beach v. Giant Square Shopping Center Co., 255 Va. 467 (1998)

Obtained reversal of sizeable condemnation award due to the landowner’s appointment of improper commissioner.


Legal Affiliations

§          Virginia Beach and Federal Bar Associations

§          Virginia State Bar (Member, Board of Governors, Litigation Section)

§          Virginia Trial Lawyers Association

§          American Bar Association (Council of Appellate Lawyers)

§          Virginia Bar Association (Boyd-Graves Conference)