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

For Immediate Release
December 2018

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

Fairfax and Leesburg, VA –McCandlish Lillard is pleased to announce that 14 of its 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 and member of the firm’s Executive Committee, 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.

Alan B. Croft, a 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. Mr. Croft also has been recognized in “Top Lawyers” in Virginia by American Registry and “Super Lawyers” in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  He received a B.S.E.E. degree from Washington University in 1966, a J.D. degree from American University in 1970, was first admitted to practice law in Virginia in 1971 and the District of Columbia in 1994.

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 40 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. In 2018, he represented the first commercial condominium association in Virginia to successfully sell itself for redevelopment. He regularly lectures on land use law for the Virginia Law Foundation and is the 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.

Vincent Leon-Guerrero, a Principal in the firm, was recognized as an outstanding attorney in the area of Real Estate Law/Land Use. 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.

Virginia C. Haizlip, a Principal and member of the Executive Committee of the firm, was named among the best in the field of Domestic Relations/Family Law. Ms. Haizlip has focused her practice in the area of family law since 2006. She offers a full range of services including litigation, mediation, and Collaborative Divorce. Ms. Haizlip is President-Elect of the Northern Virginia Chapter of the Virginia Women Attorney’s Association. She has been recognized as a “Rising Star” in Family Law for Virginia each year since 2010 and Washington, D.C. each year since 2013.

Robert H. J. Loftus, a Principal of the firm, was named among the best in the field of Construction 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. Mr Mahaffey currently serves on The Virginia Bar Association’s Board of Governors, and has been 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 regularly 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 and member of the firm’s 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 for the 20th Judicial Circuit, 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, as well as the bars of all Virginia federal courts and the United States Supreme Court 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 daughters.

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 working 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 ARTSFairfax (formerly Arts Council of Fairfax County, Inc.) since 1991.

Ralph M. Tener, a Senior Counsel 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 and member of the firm’s Executive Committee of 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. Will is past Chair of the Business Law Section of the Fairfax Bar Association and a member of Leadership Fairfax. 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.


McCandlish Lillard, P.C. has 18 active attorneys, with offices in Fairfax and Leesburg. The law firm has been providing creative legal advice and advocacy to meet 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