Practice Areas

BUSINESS

Agricultural Law and Natural Resources

The attorneys at Lenhart Pettit have a long tradition of representing agribusiness, their managers and owners. From the traditional farming operations in dairy, poultry, beef, orchards and crops, to integrated producers, to more recently developed agribusinesses such as organic meat, dairy, wine and produce, greenhouse produce, nurseries, water gardens, farmers’ markets, and other agribusinesses with ecotourism applications, our experience is a valuable resource in facing the unique business, real estate, and wealth management issues involved. Increasingly, these issues include the protection and stewardship of natural resources – both known resources, such as timber, wind, solar and water, and unknown resources, such as underground aquifers, minerals and natural gas yet to be discovered. Our Harrisonburg office is situated on the eastern boarder of the Marcellus and Utica Shales, positioning the firm’s attorneys to exploit years of experience in representing landowners in negotiations with gas companies. Harrisonburg is located in Rockingham County, the largest agricultural county in the Commonwealth. Visit our Agricultural Law and Natural Resources page for more information.

Banking

Lenhart Pettit’s business attorneys and litigators have decades of combined experience representing banks, credit unions, insurance companies and other financial services firms in the myriad issues facing these highly regulated clients. We work with lenders to structure and document complex financings, restructure distressed loans, and collect defaulted loans through foreclosures, bankruptcies and other difficult collections. We work with trust department services, including fiduciary representation, trust establishment, modification and termination, tax advice, dispute resolution and litigation support including fiduciary and probate litigation and guardianships. As advisors to bank and credit union executives, managers and their boards, we support good corporate governance and regulatory compliant stock offerings, restructuring and bank growth. Our employment attorneys provide support in employment law compliance, executive compensation and employee benefits plans development and compliance. Visit our Banking page for more information.

Business Counseling

Lenhart Pettit’s business counseling practice team has been privileged to work closely with a wide variety of businesses and institutions, from Fortune 500 companies to family-owned businesses, ESOP-owned businesses, professional service firms, technology, publishing and telecommunications companies, manufacturers, retailers, transportation companies, agri-businesses and nonprofits, to highly regulated banking and financial services firms, insurance firms, health care institutions and educational institutions throughout Virginia. Our business counseling draws on the breadth of our firm’s specializations, including tax, intellectual property, employment, employee benefits, real estate, financing, private capital formation, and business disputes, in addition to the regulatory laws applicable to particular industry segments. Visit our Business Counseling page for more information.

Construction Law

Lenhart Pettit’s construction industry practice group understands the myriad issues surround getting construction projects off the drawing board and into the ground. We counsel and advise all sectors of the construction industry, from owners, developers, contractors, subcontractors, to design professionals. Along with our construction-related litigation services, we routinely deal with all phases of project development and construction including site acquisition, bidding and negotiation of contracts, and contract formation. We work closely with the firm’s other practice groups, such as the real estate development and finance team, tax, corporate, intellectual property and employment and employee benefits team to offer efficient and cost-effective legal services relevant to the needs of each transaction, project, or dispute. Visit our Construction Law page for more information.

Employment and Employee Benefits

Our employment and employee benefits lawyers possess a wide range of experience supporting businesses, their owners and managers in stewarding their most important asset – their people. We have worked closely with Fortune 500 companies, midsize employers, family businesses, nonprofit and institutional clients, manufacturers, start-up companies and professional services firms, providing whatever employment and benefits support the client’s day requires. We enjoy assisting our clients in the proactive management of their human resources to avoid costly problems, but we are well prepared to respond quickly and effectively when problems arise. Visit our Employment and Employee Benefits page for more information.

Estate Planning, Wealth Transfer & Estate Administration

We offer sophisticated, tax-motivated and non-tax- motivated estate planning services to individuals and families, including those with substantial closely-held businesses, qualified retirement plans and other forms of accumulated wealth. We also regularly serve as counsel to institutional fiduciaries and represent fiduciaries and beneficiaries in trust and estate dispute litigation. Estate and trust administration and post-mortem estate planning round out our services in this practice area. Visit our Estate Planning, Wealth Transfer & Estate Administration page for more information.

Health Care

Lenhart Pettit’s attorneys possess a wide range of experience supporting health care organizations from large hospital systems and retirement communities (including CCRC-registered communities) to group and solo medical professionals. We regularly handle the full gamut of legal issues confronting practices of health care providers, such as corporate organizational questions (formation, succession, etc.), employee benefits, personnel issues, real estate and other business transactions, regulatory compliance (HIPAA, Stark, Anti-kickback, etc.), risk management and professional liability defense (up to and including litigation), credentialing and peer review, managed care, reimbursement and contract disputes. as well as personal estate and asset protection planning. We can guide health care clients through today’s complex legal landscape because we have the depth necessary to allow our lawyers to concentrate in specific practice areas, yet we are small enough to coordinate efficiently and seamlessly in providing this expert advice. Visit our Health Care page for more information.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Lenhart Pettit’s business attorneys have significant transactional experience, representing clients on the buy or sale side of thousands of deals. Whether asset sales or mergers, business spin-offs, management buy-outs, ESOPs, commercial real estate transactions, or transition of the family business or farm, our attorneys understand how to negotiate, structure and, most importantly, close deals. Requiring technical know-how, keen negotiating skills, and the ability to pace and guide a transaction through closing, this area of practice calls on best of our attorneys’ substantial experience and knowledge. The breadth of our firm’s tax, intellectual property, employment, employee benefits, real estate, and finance practices equips us for the careful due diligence associated with buying or selling a business or property, as well as the prompt resolution of issues that arise. Visit our Mergers and Acquisitions page for more information.

Real Estate, Finance & Development

Lenhart Pettit’s real estate, development and finance practice offers a complete range of legal services to property owners, investors, developers, lenders and tenants. We deal with all types of real estate, ranging from undeveloped land to commercial property (including office buildings, retail centers, and industrial parks) to residential and resort development property (including multi-family residential properties, resorts, golf courses, condominiums and apartments) to agricultural land. We work closely with other practice groups such as tax, corporate and securities law to offer efficient and cost-effective legal services relevant to the needs of each transaction. We work closely with our clients to help them evaluate, acquire, and finance real estate opportunities throughout Virginia. We also work with our clients to maximize their real estate opportunities, whether through rezoning, subdivision, development, leasing, management, tax deferred exchanges, conservation easements, sale or exchange. Visit our Real Estate, Finance & Development page for more information.

Securities and Private Equity

Lenhart Pettit’s securities and private equity team offers a breadth of legal know-how specific to start-up and emerging growth companies, including choice of entity, intellectual property protection and commercialization, private capital formation, equity incentive plans, employment and management services agreements, and tax considerations particular to entrepreneurs and their investors. We look for clients with whom we can develop a long-term working relationship as we believe our knowledge about a client’s business and history makes us better, value-added counselors. From technology and software companies and university spin-offs in bioscience and pharmaceuticals, to real estate development companies and agribusinesses, Lenhart Pettit has helped clients grow their businesses from start-up to maturity and profitable exit. Visit our Securities and Private Equity page for more information.

Tax

Lenhart Pettit’s tax attorneys are business lawyers with extensive tax backgrounds, including several with advanced law degrees in taxation and one who is also a certified public accountant. As a result, tax planning is incorporated into every business transaction rather than constituting an afterthought or add-on service. We work in close cooperation with the business’ financial and accounting officers and other advisors throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. Most transactions or events experienced by a growing company—from entity formation, through financings and private capital formation, employee incentives, technology exploitation and sale—have significant tax implications that must be addressed to maximize operating profits and equity value. Visit our Tax page for more information.

Trademarks, Technology & Intellectual Property

Lenhart Pettit’s trademark, technology and intellectual property practice offers comprehensive intellectual property services for owners and users of all types of intellectual property and technology, including patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets. The primary focus of our practice is to support and assist businesses to identify their intellectual property, technology, know-how, and goodwill, and to take appropriate measures to capture, protect, and exploit its inherent value depending upon the business’ specific needs and strategy.

Our copyright, trademark and patent litigation attorneys work closely with all types of business entities throughout the Commonwealth, including software developers, publishers, on-line content providers, e-commerce companies, “gaming” companies, and service providers, to devise creative and tax-efficient ways to acquire, hold, license, exploit, and protect intellectual property. We also assist businesses to take appropriate measures to respect the intellectual property rights of others, and to respond appropriately to claims of misappropriation or infringement. Visit our Trademarks, Technology & Intellectual Property page for more information.

LITIGATION

Commercial Litigation

We assist businesses and individuals, from start-ups to long-established companies, in commercial litigation in all forms, from routine breach of contract actions to complex business and partnership disputes. Our lawyers have litigated claims involving breaches of contract, violations of non-compete agreements, misappropriation of trade secrets, and business torts such as fraud, misrepresentation, tortious interference with business relationships, and conspiracy. Our experienced attorneys provide effective and efficient representation, with an eye toward results and our clients trust us to handle their most difficult litigation issues, regardless of the subject. Together with our clients, we analyze the risks of litigation and the comparative options of settlement and alternative dispute resolution. We have extensive experience with mediation and arbitration, which often are required in commercial cases, and are equally comfortable trying cases to verdict before judges and juries. Visit our Commercial Litigation page for more information.

Construction Litigation

Lenhart Pettit’s construction attorneys advise all sectors of the construction industry from owners, developers, contractors, subcontractors, and design professionals. Our attorneys have significant experience representing clients in a wide variety of complex construction disputes in state and federal courts and in dispute resolution proceedings. Specific areas of practice include representation of clients on issues arising from claims for non-payment, mechanic’s liens, bond claims, alleged defects, delays, warranty issues, design changes, scope of work issues, and liquidated damages. Visit our Construction Litigation page for more information.

Contingent Fee Business Litigation

As a business driven law firm, Lenhart Pettit understands that the need for litigation often arises unplanned and unbudgeted for. Because in today’s legal environment, only a small percentage of cases go to trial, we understand the importance of using the most efficient means to protect your business and its property interests. We offer cost-effective alternatives to the traditional “billable hour” arrangement, including in some circumstances, an ability to take cases on a contingency fee basis. These arrangements provide access to the legal system for clients who either do not have the ability or the desire to incur an out-of-pocket expense for attorneys’ fees. In the right case, a contingent-fee arrangement can be a model of efficiency. The arrangement can align the interests of the client and attorney and effectively makes them business partners in the litigation. Both have the incentive to keep expenses as low as possible, resolve the matter quickly, and recover as much as possible. Visit our Contingent Fee Business Litigation page for more information.

Employment Litigation - Management

Our attorneys protect employers and their businesses from claims or wrongful actions of current or former employees. We have significant experience defending employers before the EEOC, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Virginia Human Rights Council, the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, and the Virginia Unemployment Commission. We also have extensive trial experience in state and federal court representing employers in employment litigation. We work with management in these litigation matters, often in conjunction with EPLI carriers. Visit our Employment Litigation - Management page for more information.

Family Law

Our attorneys help people through the difficult process of divorce, as well as all aspects of custody, visitation, support, and asset division. We also have extensive experience in adoptions, protective orders, delinquency, foster care and matters involving departments of social services. We have significant experience in all state courts in the Central Virginia region. Our firm is sensitive to the highly personal nature of family law, and we recognize that each situation is unique, demanding individualized solutions. Visit our Family Law page for more information.

Intellectual Property Litigation

Whether a business needs to enjoin a former employee from using stolen secrets, prevent a competitor from using its trademark, or defend a claim of misappropriation or infringement asserted by a competitor, Lenhart Pettit stands ready to represent that business in state or federal court. The Intellectual Property Team at Lenhart Pettit has a demonstrated track record of providing winning legal strategies in high-stakes intellectual property disputes, including patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret matters. We have delivered successful results for start-ups and companies large and small. The firm has handled these cases on both contingency fee and hourly arrangements, depending on the needs of our clients. Our litigators have the experience that allows them to take on large infringers while maintaining the personal relationship with our clients that is so vital to successful litigation. Visit our Intellectual Property Litigation page for more information.

Real Estate Litigation

Our attorneys have extensive experience litigating disputes involving purchase and sale contracts, commercial leases, zoning, easements, and title issues. We have represented owners, landlords, tenants, developers, property managers, and even vineyard owners, in a variety of litigation matters. We have also represented property owners in title and boundary disputes, including adverse possession cases, and in disputes over zoning and easement rights. Visit our Real Estate Litigation page for more information.

Trusts, Estates & Probate Litigation

Lenhart Pettit combines the specialized knowledge of our Trusts and Estates attorneys with seasoned litigators to provide effective and successful litigation strategies for corporate and individual fiduciaries and other parties engaged in will contests, accounting actions, trust and will construction actions where the meaning of an instrument or identity of a beneficiary is at issue, as well as a wide range of other fiduciary litigation. We are sensitive to the fact that litigation, particularly litigation involving family or friends, can be stressful, and are adept at finding caring and efficient methods of resolving disputes. Visit our Trusts, Estates & Probate Litigation page for more information.