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17 McCandlish Lillard Lawyers Named to Virginia Business’ “Legal Elite”

For Immediate Release
December 1, 2016

17 McCandlish Lillard Lawyers Named to Virginia Business’ “Legal Elite”

Fairfax and Leesburg, VA –McCandlish Lillard is pleased to announce that 17 of its 23 attorneys have been recognized by Virginia Business magazine as being among Virginia’s “Legal Elite.” Virginia Business determines the “Legal Elite” designation from a survey conducted with the Virginia Bar Association, which for more than a decade has polled thousands of Virginia lawyers to determine whom they consider the very best in the Commonwealth in various practice categories. This year’s list appears in the magazine’s December edition, which was just released.

Eric J. Berghold, a Principal of the firm, was named among the best in the category of Civil Litigation. Mr. Berghold’s practice focuses primarily on workers’ compensation and commercial litigation, and includes tort liability, health care malpractice, mechanic’s liens, and landlord/tenant law. He appears before the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission and has taught continuing legal education courses in Workers’ Compensation and Employment Law. Mr. Berghold received his B.A. from the University of Virginia, and attended The Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary, where he received his J.D. degree in 1987.

William J. Bethune, a Senior Counsel of the firm, was named among the best in the category of Business Law. Mr. Bethune counsels a broad range of business clients in insurance, employment, creditor rights, and other commercial transactions; he also handles a wide variety of business disputes (many of which involve entity governance issues) in mediation, arbitration, and litigation settings. He served as General Counsel of the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce from 2000 through 2006 and is currently a member of the steering committee of CXO Forum, a group of business owners and executives who meet regularly to discuss business topics and solutions, update management skills, and develop best practices. He led Loudoun First Responders Foundation in partnering with state and county bar associations in 2008 to bring the Wills for Heroes program to Loudoun County. Mr. Bethune is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School and of Princeton University.

Alan B. Croft, another Senior Counsel of the firm, resident in the Leesburg office, was named as one of the best in the category of Civil Litigation. Mr. Croft has actively litigated for over 40 years, having first begun his legal career as a criminal prosecutor for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Although his practice has focused primarily on complex commercial, insurance coverage, complex construction and personal injury litigation, he continues to represent both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of other matters. Mr. Croft has served as lead counsel in more than 100 trials in state and federal courts throughout the United States, as well as hearings before arbitral tribunals. In addition to his years as a trial attorney, he also draws upon his experience as a patent attorney and as the president of a real estate development firm, which has benefitted him in handling complex technical and commercial issues. He received a B.S.E.E. degree from Washington University in 1966 and a J.D. degree from American University in 1970, and was first admitted to practice law in Virginia in 1971.

John W. Farrell, a Principal of the firm, was named among the best in the field of Real Estate/Land Use Law. Mr. Farrell has over 35 years of experience before governing bodies, planning commissions, boards of zoning appeals and circuit courts, representing landowners, developers, local governments, and environmental organizations in land use and environmental controversies. That representation has included one of the largest rezonings ever filed in Northern Virginia, dozens of plaintiffs in the Fairfax County C & I downzoning, the Loudoun downzoning, and the Loudoun County groundwater litigation. He regularly lectures on land use law for the Virginia Law Foundation and is the co-author of “Planning and Zoning,” the comprehensive monograph on land use law in Virginia. He is the past chairman of the Land Use, Environment and Transportation Committee of the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce and has also served on the State Legislative Committee of the Home Builders Association of Virginia. He is admitted to practice in Virginia and Massachusetts.

Elizabeth L. Gray, a Principal of the firm, was named among the best in the field of Taxes/Estates/Trusts/Elder Law. Ms. Gray focuses her practice in the areas of estate planning, elder law, special needs planning, guardianships, and the administration of estates. She is a Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF). In addition, she is a member of the Special Needs Alliance (an invitation-only nationwide attorney organization). Ms. Gray is a Past-President and the 2011 recipient of the “Outstanding Member” award of the Virginia chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA); and a member of NAELA’s invitation-only “Council of Advanced Practitioners.” She has been listed in “Best Lawyers of America” since 2012, an honor given to only 5% of attorneys; a recipient of the “Influential Women of Virginia” class of 2012; and a “SuperLawyer” in Elder Law for Virginia and Washington, D.C. each year since 2009; named in Washingtonian Magazine’s “Top Lawyers” in elder law since 2009; listed in Northern Virginia Magazine among the “Top Attorneys” in the Northern Virginia area since 2011; and named one of the “Top Attorneys” in Virginia, by Richmond Magazine.

Bethany Benes Ingersoll, an Associate in the firm, was recognized as an outstanding Young Lawyer (under 40). Ms. Ingersoll’s practice focuses mainly on civil litigation, representing a wide range of clients including both individuals and companies. A native of Northern Virginia, Ms. Ingersoll received a Bachelor of Science from George Mason University before receiving her law degree from American University, Washington College of Law. While at American, she was involved in the trial advocacy program, including the Mock Trial Honor Society. Prior to joining McCandlish Lillard, Ms. Ingersoll had clerked for the Honorable Bruce D. White of the Fairfax County Circuit Court, and before that had served as a summer law clerk to the Honorable Nelson W. Rupp of the Montgomery County, Maryland, Circuit Court. Ms. Ingersoll is licensed to practice in all Virginia state trial courts, as well as the U. S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia. She is an active member of The Virginia State Bar, the Fairfax Bar Association, and the Virginia Women Attorney’s Association.

Vincent Leon-Guerrero, a Principal in the firm, was recognized as an outstanding attorney in the area of Business Law/Real Estate Law. Mr. Leon-Guerrero is a seasoned commercial real estate and real estate finance attorney with a considerable amount of experience handling all facets of real estate transactions. Over the last two decades, he has developed a local and national practice at top Am Law 100 law firms representing major real estate clients in Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland and many other states.  Mr. Leon-Guerrero regularly counsels institutional and non-institutional investors, REITs, manufacturing and service companies, government contractors, developers, non-profits, banks and other lenders and individuals in all aspects of commercial real estate transactions. He earned his B.A. from the University of California – Santa Barbara and his J.D., magna cum laude, from American University, and is admitted to practice in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

Robert H. J. Loftus, a principal of the firm, was named among the best in the field of Civil Litigation. He graduated from the University of Virginia Law School in 1973. His practice has focused on business litigation, and he has successfully litigated numerous complex business and liability issues for nationally recognized companies. Recently, he successfully defended a massive, complex zoning litigation, successfully defended a government contracting company from raiding claims, defended a tech company’s general counsel from conspiracy claims, defended a bank from a multimillion dollar mechanics’ lien claim, prevailed in a dispute over founders’ shares in a European telecommunications company, defended a medical practice from fraudulent billing claims, and pierced a series of corporations and obtained a multimillion dollar verdict against its owners. His practice includes all aspects of real estate disputes, including partnership and corporate matters, finance, leasing, and construction, telecommunications, and defense of liability matters.

R. Peyton Mahaffey is the President and a principal of the firm, and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. This year he was selected to the Legal Elite for the field of Civil Litigation. In 2016, Mr Mahaffey also began a 3 year term on the Virginia Bar Association’s Board of Governors, and was recognized by Virginia Lawyers Media as a “Leader in the Law”. Mr. Mahaffey has actively litigated business, corporate, commercial, and fiduciary matters on a continuing basis since 1980, with broad experience as a trial lawyer and lead counsel in State, Federal and arbitration cases. He has tried numerous jury and non-jury cases, written and argued appellate briefs to the Virginia Supreme Court and Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and been the principal attorney on a number of reported state and federal decisions. Mr. Mahaffey has been selected to the “Legal Elite” every year from its inception in 2000 in the category of Civil Litigation, and also in the category of Labor and Employment from 2012-2015. Mr. Mahaffey has also appeared in “Top Lawyers” by Washingtonian Magazine; “Super Lawyers” in the Commonwealth of Virginia and in the Washington, D.C. area; “Top Attorneys in Business Litigation–Super Lawyers Corporate Counsel”; “Top Attorneys” in Virginia, by Richmond Magazine; “Top Attorneys” in Virginia by D.C. Magazine; and “Best Lawyers in America.” He has been named a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America; a Fellow of the Virginia Law Foundation; and to the Fellows Advisory Board of the Fairfax Law Foundation. Mr. Mahaffey graduated with High Distinction from the University of Virginia in 1977, and from its Law School in 1980. He is admitted to practice before all State and Federal courts in Virginia, as well as the United States Supreme Court.

Lawrence J. McClafferty, a Principal with the firm, and a member of its Executive Committee, was selected in the category of Civil Litigation. He works out of the firm’s Fairfax and Loudoun offices. Mr. McClafferty is a trial and appellate lawyer who, in recent years, has devoted much of his practice to litigation involving business torts, as well as fiduciary litigation, which includes will contests, breach of fiduciary duty claims, and guardianship/conservatorship matters. Mr. McClafferty is a past president of the Loudoun County Bar Association, a commissioner in chancery and a substitute judge for the 20th Judicial District. He is a member of the Virginia State Bar, the Virginia Bar Association, the Fairfax Bar Association and the Loudoun County Bar Association. Mr. McClafferty earned his B.A. degree from Boston College and his law degree from Washington and Lee University. He resides in Loudoun County with his wife and four daughters.

Autumn D. McCullogh, an Associate with the firm, has been selected again this year as a member of the Legal Elite in the area of Taxes/Estates/Trusts/Elder Law. Ms. McCullogh’s trusts and estates practice encompasses creative wealth preservation, asset protection and business succession planning as well as the administration of estates and complex trusts. In addition to her continued inclusion in the Legal Elite, Ms. McCullogh has remained one of Northern Virginia Magazine’s ”Top 50 Financial Professionals” in the area of estate planning every year since 2012. Ms. McCullogh is very active in the community serving as the current President of the Catoctin Estate Planning Council, immediate past president of the Virginia Women’s Attorney Association, Loudoun Chapter, Vice-Chair of the Cherry Blossom Breast Cancer Foundation, and Chair of the Grants Committee for the Business Women’s Giving Circle. Ms. McCullogh received her J.D. in 2004, graduating cum laude from the University of San Diego School of Law and earning induction into the Order of the Coif. She is admitted to practice in Virginia and California.

Stephen C. Price, a Principal with the firm, was selected in the category of Business Law. Primarily from the Leesburg office of the firm, Mr. Price’s practice focuses on business litigation and transactions, with an emphasis on real property, condemnation, unfair competition, business tort, contractual and conservation easement matters. He also serves as a Commissioner in Chancery for the Circuit Court of Loudoun County, and as General Counsel to the Land Trust of Virginia and to HealthWorks for Northern Virginia (formerly known as Loudoun Community Health Center), and has been a substitute Judge for the General District Courts of Loudoun, Fauquier and Rappahannock Counties, as well as President of the Loudoun County Bar Association and several community organizations. Mr. Price has been recognized several times as an outstanding attorney, including prior recognition in the “Legal Elite.” He earned a B.A. with honors, from Virginia Military Institute, a J.D. from the University of Virginia, and an LL.M. from the University of Cambridge (Queens’ College).

Douglas J. Sanderson, a Principal with the firm, was recognized among the Legal Elite in the area of Family Law/Domestic Relations. Resident primarily in the firm’s Fairfax office, but also spending time in the Leesburg office of the firm, Mr. Sanderson counsels and represents people who need legal assistance with family law matters including pre-nuptial agreements, property and separation agreements, divorces, child custody and visitation, equitable distribution and support, and is trained also in mediation and in collaborative divorce. He also maintains a substantial practice in business transactions and commercial real estate law. Mr. Sanderson has been recognized among Virginia Business’ Legal Elite in every year since the inception of the list, except 2001. He served as President of Legal Services of Northern Virginia from 1993 to 1996, and has served as pro bono legal counsel to the Arts Council of Fairfax County, Inc. since 1991.

Adam W. Smith, a Principal with the firm, was recognized for the third consecutive year among the best in the area of Appellate Law. Adam has represented insureds and self-insureds in the District of Columbia and Virginia in the defense of medical malpractice, products liability, and general liability claims for over 20 years, including the handling of many appeals to the state and federal appellate courts in both jurisdictions. Mr. Smith earned his J.D. from the Ohio Northern University in 1989, cum laude. He is a past President of the District of Columbia Defense Lawyers Association, and also a member of the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, and the Litigation Council of America.

Ralph M. Tener, a Principal, Chairman of the Board and member of the Executive Committee of the firm, was recognized among the Legal Elite in the area of Intellectual Property. A business lawyer who heads the firm’s Information Technology Group, he works with software and Internet companies from start-up through venture capital investment to sale or merger. Mr. Tener has been elected to the “Legal Elite” each year since its inception in 2000. He founded the Computer Law Section of the Fairfax Bar Association in 1986 and served as its Chairman for eight years. Mr. Tener served on the Board of Directors of the D.C. Computer Law Forum for five years, including one term as President, and is a former adjunct professor in computer law at the University of Virginia Continuing Education Center.

Benjamin J. Trichilo, a Senior Counsel of the firm, was recognized among the best in the area of Civil Litigation. Mr. Trichilo has more than 40 years of experience handling personal injury and workers’ compensation cases. He has been AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell for over 25 years, and has been recognized numerous times by his peers, in Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America. He is fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, and a member of the Diversity Law Institute and Trial Law Institute.

William J. Walsh, a Principal with the firm, was recognized among the Legal Elite in the area of Corporate Counsel. Will advises clients with regard to a broad range of business and commercial matters, including corporate law, information technology, and intellectual property. Will also dedicates a significant portion of his practice to representing clients in the hospitality industry. Previously Chair of the Business Law Section of the Fairfax Bar Association, Will is a member of Leadership Fairfax and the Future Fund of the Community Foundation of Northern Virginia. Will is a graduate of Tulane University and George Mason University School of Law, and is admitted to practice in Virginia and the District of Columbia.

[Edward J. “Joey” Connor, IV also was named to the list, and would have been the 18th attorney at the firm named to the list. However, he has left the firm and the practice of law, to pursue a different career path.]


McCandlish Lillard, P.C. has 23 active attorneys, with offices in Fairfax and Leesburg. The law firm has been meeting the legal needs of businesses and individuals in Northern Virginia and throughout the Commonwealth for more than a century. For more information regarding McCandlish Lillard, P.C., call the firm at 703-273-2288 or visit our website at          # # #