Virginia Federal Court: An Attorney is Required
Business litigation in the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) federal court requires an attorney to represent the business. This is the rule across federal courts based on established case law for nearly the last two centuries. This means that whether your business is the plaintiff or the defendant, you will need an attorney who is barred in the Eastern District of Virginia–you cannot represent the business pro se, regardless of your position in the company (and even if you are the sole owner and employee).
Additionally, the Rocket Docket, as the EDVA is nicknamed, is run quickly and by unbending local rules. Therefore it is essential to have an attorney who is not only barred in this court but also experienced in litigation under these rules. This local knowledge can make or break a case if a business is not careful or if the business is slow in retaining counsel.
Virginia State Court: An Attorney is Required
Likewise, Virginia Code requires that a business retain an attorney to litigate a matter, whether it is criminal or civil, in a Virginia General District Court or Virginia Circuit Court. Virginia Code § 16.1-88.03 provides:
Nothing in this section shall allow a nonlawyer to file a bill of particulars or grounds of defense or to argue motions, issue a subpoena, rule to show cause, or capias; file or interrogate at debtor interrogatories; or to file, issue or argue any other paper, pleading or proceeding not set forth in subsection A.
While the statute provides for some nuance, the bottom line is that an attorney is required to do anything other than the most basic of filings.
This can present a variety of obstacles to a business. First, cost may be an issue for a low dollar amount claim, where the potential judgment may be equal to or less than the attorney fees. Second, a business that is sued may be forced to retain an attorney on short notice with little time for assessing potential attorneys. Third, a business that is not initially represented by an attorney may make missteps that are difficult to recover from later in the course of litigation.
Our Virginia Jurisdictions
While our office can represent your Virginia business in any Virginia or Washington, D.C, jurisdiction, we primarily practice in Northern Virginia and the Washington D.C. Superior Court. A large percentage of our business litigation is through the Eastern District of Virginia federal courthouse (the RocketDocket), while Alexandria, Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William County, and Loudoun County are other common jurisdictions in which we practice.
Clear Billing Practices
Our Virginia business attorneys pride themselves on clear communication and fair billing practices. Our attorneys are accessible, communicate clearly, and bill your company fairly. Before you incur any costs, we will have an up-front discussion with your business about our billing practices, which we then reduce to a written engagement agreement.
Your business will know exactly what to expect, and we send out clear monthly invoices to keep your company up-to-date. We do not nickel-and-dime our clients and we often recommend courses of action that will save your Virginia business money in legal fees. We view your company as a partner to support, not simply a client to exploit.
If you are a Virginia business involved in litigation, contact our office for a confidential and free consultation so that we can discuss your concerns, our services, and our billing practices.
Consult with an Attorney
With these potential concerns in mind, a business should consult with attorneys and develop a solid working relationship prior to the onset of litigation. Meaning, find a good attorney who works for your business now, whether you think you may need an attorney or not. If you need a consultation for your Virginia business representation needs, contact our office to arrange for a consultation.