For more than forty years, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (“EDVA”) has been and remains the fastest court in the country, averaging under twelve months from initial filing to trial. The truncated case schedule and general skepticism to continuances of trial and other deadlines has made the “Rocket Docket” a popular forum for all types of high-profile litigation. The many challenges of the EDVA, including the differing demands of its separate divisions and individual judges, calls for legal counsel with significant, first-hand EDVA experience and the reputation for credibility to match. It requires skilled and accomplished trial lawyers for whom the EDVA’s pressures and procedures are routine. With seven lawyers who practice primarily in the EDVA, Kaleo Legal has this expertise in spades, gained through years of experience in all facets of the trial process here in the EDVA.
Kaleo Legal serves as local counsel in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (the “EDVA”), for firms of all sizes from around the United States, including many members of the AmLaw 100. The EDVA has three divisions: Norfolk/ Newport News, Richmond, and Alexandria. The Local Rules require that any lead counsel who is not barred in the EDVA must be accompanied by a member of the EDVA bar in all appearances before the Court, and that only an attorney barred in the EDVA can sign and file pleadings. The EDVA treats local counsel and lead counsel equally, such that an attorney serving as local counsel becomes primarily liable and responsible to the Court.
The Eastern District of Virginia is famous for its speedy trial timeline, especially in civil cases. As of December 31, 2019, the EDVA ranked as the fastest federal district court in the country, resolving civil cases in an average of 6 months from the date of filing, and averaging 12.5 months from the date of filing to trial. By comparison, the District of Delaware averages 30 months from the date of filing to trial, and the Northern District of California averages 22.3 months. Final civil pretrial scheduling orders are typically entered within 90 to 120 days of the initial service (see the local rules) and are typically set for trial within 5 to 8 months of filing. Judges maintain trial dates at all costs, and continuances to a trial date are rarely granted.
As much as the entire district prides itself on its speed and efficiency, each of the three divisions in the EDVA has a unique set of processes, procedures, and local customs. Our attorneys have appeared in dozens of cases, in all three divisions, before virtually every judge on the bench. We know the rules wherever we are, and we are experts at guiding lead counsel through a case from filing to trial.
Billy, Brian, Shep, and Ryan have decades of experience practicing in the Norfolk/Newport News (“Norfolk”) Division of the EDVA. Our partners are former prosecutors and experienced trial lawyers, who have tried civil cases to juries in the Norfolk Division, ranging from simple breach of contract claims, to complex toxic tort cases, to extremely complex patent and IP cases, and everything in between. We have great relationships with the Norfolk federal bench, and we serve as members of the Tidewater Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, and as a permanent member of the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference.
Our partners have also handled dozens of cases in the Richmond Division, where Billy Poynter, Will Dickinson, and Ryan Dougherty practiced for years in their former AmLaw 200 firms headquartered there. Billy and Will served as lead and local counsel in patent and other IP cases, while Ryan defended financial services clients in class-action and single plaintiff cases. Billy, Will, and Ryan continue to serve as local counsel in Richmond for many large and international law firms.
Kaleo Legal also serves as lead and local counsel in federal cases in Alexandria, and also partners with local attorneys (and Billy and Will’s former partners) when necessary, for the sake of efficiency. Quite often, Alexandria is the fastest of the three divisions, where the Court routinely provides only 120 days to complete all discovery, and where discovery motions are briefed, argued, and ruled on from the bench all in seven days. Quite simply put, there is no other federal court like it in the country. And we know how to navigate the rules and local practices as well as anyone.
EDVA Resources for Lawyers who need Local Counsel:
- The Local Rules for the Eastern District of Virginia
- U.S. Department of Justice – The United States Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Virginia
- Check the Docket in the Eastern District of Virginia (by Court or by Court & by Judge)
Division Specific Judge’s Chambers Procedures:
- Alexandria Chambers Copies and Division Rules
- Norfolk Newport News Courtesy Copy and Other Division
- Richmond Courtesy Copy and Other Division Specific Information
Brian’s diverse experiences from twenty-five years practicing law provide a unique background for his work as a true general counsel.He began his career as an Assistant Attorney General and state prosecutor, before working in the commercial litigation department of an Am Law100 firm. From there, Brian served as the Chief Legal Officer of a NASDAQ-listed entertainment company, and started Kaleo Legal in 2008. Brian started Kaleo Legal to offer an innovative, lean approach to the practice of law. Although Brian has been named as a “Best Lawyer in America” from 2018-2021 for Commercial Litigation, he devotes an equal part of his practice to handling corporate and commercial transactional work for our clients on a fractional in-house counsel basis.
Years of Experience: 25
Awards & Honors: Best Lawyers Commercial Litigation 2018-2022
Bar Admissions: Virginia
Billy serves as the fractional General Counsel and Chief Intellectual Property Counsel for several companies, and he has a great deal of experience assisting software providers with their commercial needs, including drafting and negotiating licensing agreements, partner agreements, and services agreements of all kinds. As an extension of the in-house department, Billy supports software sales teams in all aspects of their legal needs, and is an integral part of their achieving sales and revenue quotas on a quarterly and annual basis.
He focuses his practice on intellectual property law, including IP assessment, creation, and enforcement; dispute resolution; and particularly the IP issues surrounding software creation, development, and implementation. In fact, he has extensive experience with drafting and negotiating commercial contracts of all kinds. And he has assisted in the acquisition and sale of technology companies for larger-scale clients, especially in the software industry.
Billy also maintains an active litigation practice at Kaleo Legal, mostly in the federal courts of the Eastern District of Virginia. As a full-time litigator for much of his career, Billy has handled IP cases involving a variety of technologies, including software, business methods, telecommunications technology, mechanical devices, chemical compositions, and electrical technology. He has litigated cases around the country, including in popular patent litigation jurisdictions such as the Central and Northern Districts of California, the Eastern District of Texas, and the District of Delaware. Billy has particular experience litigating patent, intellectual property, and other cases in the Eastern District of Virginia, also known as the “Rocket Docket,” as both lead and local counsel. He is extremely well versed in addressing the e-discovery issues that accompany complex litigation. Billy is a permanent member of the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference.
After graduating from law school at UVA, Billy spent one year practicing at a large firm in Washington, DC, before clerking for The Honorable Alvin A. Schall, US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Before joining Kaleo Legal, he served as the co-chair of the Intellectual Property Litigation practice at Williams Mullen. Throughout his practice, Billy has represented domestic and international companies of all sizes and types, including startups, mid-sized companies, and Fortune 500 companies, in various industry sectors such as software, retail, manufacturing, telecommunications, and transportation.
Billy is listed in Virginia Super Lawyers, and has been regularly named as Virginia Legal Elite for Intellectual Property by Virginia Business. He has been ranked in Chambers USA since 2014 for Intellectual Property, has been named to Best Lawyers in America since 2015, and has an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell.
Billy maintains membership in the American Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Division and the Federal Circuit Bar Association, in addition to sitting on the committee of the Law Practice Management Division of the Virginia Bar Association. He currently serves on the Board of the Directors of the Norfolk Forum and is a member of the Greater Norfolk Corporation. He spent ten years as a member of the Board of Directors of the Virginia Opera, including as a member of the Executive Committee. In 2010, Inside Business named Billy to its list of the Hampton Roads “Top 40 Under 40.”
He earned his undergraduate degrees from Washington & Lee University in 1998, a bachelor of science in chemistry and a bachelor of arts in medieval and renaissance studies, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his juris doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2002.
Years of Experience: 18
Past Work Experience: Hunton & Williams, Clerk – US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Williams Mullen
Professional Affiliations: ABA, VBA, VSB, DC Bar, FCBA, Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference, FBA
Awards & Honors: Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude, AV Rating from Martindale Hubbell, Best Lawyers, Chambers USA, VA Legal Elite, VA Superlawyers, Top 40 Under 40, Inside Business Entrepreneurial Excellence
Bar Admissions: Virginia, District of Columbia
Will Dickinson focuses his practice on building clients’ intellectual property portfolios, providing brand protection and negotiating technology transactions. This includes Will’s fractional general-counsel practice, which focuses on licensing negotiations for fast-paced software sales companies, managing clients’ large trademark portfolios, and augmenting the commercial and intellectual property capabilities of a client’s in-house legal department.
Will has experience in:
- Trademark and copyright prosecution
- Trademark portfolio management and counseling
- Software, IT, and intellectual property licensing
- Intellectual property litigation
- Trademark Trial and Appeal Board litigation
- Domain-name (UDRP) arbitration
- Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) counseling and registration
- Commercial contracting
- Commercial dispute resolution
Throughout his career, Will has helped clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies with large portfolios, to startups and mid-sized businesses with important intellectual property assets, to state agencies with mission-critical IT systems.
Will has been named among Virginia’s “Legal Elite” by Virginia Business magazine, a “Rising Star” by Virginia Super Lawyers, and a Richmond Times Dispatch Readers’ Choice Lawyer. Prior to joining Kaleo Legal, Will practiced at Williams Mullen, an Am Law 200 law firm headquartered in Richmond, Virginia.
Will received his law degree from Wake Forest University School of Law, where he served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Wake Forest Law Review. He earned his undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University, with a bachelor of arts degree, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa.
Will serves on the Sports Backers President’s Council, on the Wake Forest University School of Law Rose Council, and as a mentor at Startup Virginia. He is a member of the American Bar Association, Virginia Bar Association, Richmond Bar Association, and the Greater Richmond Intellectual Property Law Association.
Shep is not your traditional litigator. He is a true trial lawyer with more than 25 years of experience trying and winning big cases before juries in Hampton Roads and around the country. Shep started his career as an Assistant and then Deputy Commonwealth Attorney in Virginia Beach where he was in court every day, trying thousands of cases. Ultimately, Shep supervised the presentation of all violent crime in Virginia Beach, trying many rape, robbery and murder trials himself. Shep then joined Kaufman and Canoles in Norfolk, Virginia, spending 10 years there as an associate and equity partner in the litigation section. Shep focused on product liability, toxic tort commercial litigation, civil rights litigation, including Section 1983 cases and municipal matters, and personal injury and traumatic brain injury cases. His representations included the defense of police officers in excessive force and wrongful death cases, the defense of hotels and businesses in premises liability cases, and the defense of a video producer in unauthorized use of name and image cases.
Shep then joined McGuireWoods where he continued his product liability and civil rights practice, focusing on the defense of asbestos related mesothelioma and lung cancer cases. For the last 10 years, Shep has served as national coordinating counsel for an American automobile manufacturer, managing the scientific defense of thousands of asbestos-related claims. Shep serves as Daubert/Frye counsel in asbestos litigation and as lead trial counsel throughout the country, obtaining numerous defense verdicts, including in Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina and Arkansas. Shep joined our firm in 2018.
Ryan focuses his practice on state and federal court litigation in Virginia and the District of Columbia. Ryan developed his practice at two AmLaw 100 law firms. At Arnold & Porter in Washington, DC, Ryan defended a company involved in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill against class action claims by businesses allegedly injured by the spill. Additionally, he maintained an active pro bono practice, including co-drafting an amicus curiae brief to the United States Supreme Court on behalf of the American Bar Association.
After moving to Norfolk, Ryan joined McGuireWoods’ commercial litigation department, where he represented clients in a wide variety of industries – from Fortune 100 financial institutions to local entrepreneurs – at all levels of the Virginia state and federal court system. For every case, Ryan focused on developing an assertive and effective litigation strategy in line with each client’s business goals, and he continues to do so as a member of Kaleo Legal.
Ryan graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was a Dillard Fellow for Legal Research & Writing. Prior to attending law school, Ryan earned his B.A. in art history from the College of William & Mary and his M.A. in art history from the University of Delaware. In the course of his art history studies, Ryan held internships at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and the Guggenheim Foundation in Venice, Italy.
Ryan is a member of the American Bar Association and the Norfolk & Portsmouth Bar Association. He is admitted to practice before the courts of Virginia and the District of Columbia; US District Courts for the Eastern District of Virginia, Western District of Virginia, and the District of Columbia; the US Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia; and the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Years of Experience: 10
Past Work Experience: McGuireWoods LLP, Arnold & Porter LLP
Professional Affiliations: American Bar Association, Norfolk Portsmouth Bar Association
Awards & Honors: Dillard Fellow for Legal Research & Writing
Bar Admissions: Virginia, District of Columbia
Alexandra Gabriel joined Kaleo Legal in November 2020 and focuses her practice on intellectual property and employment matters. As intellectual property counsel, Alex works with companies to maximize, protect, and enforce their intellectual property through portfolio development, trademark and copyright prosecution, licensing, and litigation. As employment counsel, Alex assists clients with navigating federal and state statutes and regulations, such as Title VII, the Family Medical Leave Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the National Labor Relations Act, and she serves as litigation counsel for clients facing employment-related claims. Alex helps businesses protect their proprietary information and trade secrets through the use of internal policies, confidentiality and restrictive covenant agreements, and litigation. She is well versed in litigation, transactional matters, and client counseling, and she serves as fractional IP and employment counsel for several companies.
Alex earned her undergraduate degree from Old Dominion University and her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Prior to joining Kaleo Legal, Alex clerked for the Circuit Court for the City of Virginia Beach and practiced at Williams Mullen, an Am Law 200 law firm. She was recognized by Best Lawyers as among the “Ones to Watch” for 2021.
David advises employers on all aspects of employment law and represents employers before federal and state courts and administrative agencies. David has over twenty years of experience defending employers in litigation matters, including cases arising under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Davis-Bacon Act, the Service Contract Act, and other state and federal laws, including all federal and Virginia laws related to the COVID-19 pandemic. David also has extensive experience in cases arising under non-competition, non-solicitation, and confidentiality agreements. In addition to his litigation practice, David provides advice and counseling to employers on matters related to hiring and firing, discipline and discharge, drafting employment agreements and non-competition agreements, and drafting and implementing personnel policies. David has particular expertise with commission compensation structures, government contractor compliance issues, wage and hour audits, and workplace policies and procedures.
Verena is a litigation paralegal with many years of experience in product liability cases, focusing on the defense of asbestos-related mesothelioma and lung cancer cases. She works primarily with national coordinating counsel and trial counsel for an American automobile manufacturer, supporting the scientific defense of asbestos-related claims nationwide.
Prior to joining Kaleo in 2018, she was an environmental and toxic torts litigation paralegal at McGuireWoods, providing discovery and trial preparation assistance on lead paint, benzene, and mesothelioma cases. She moved to McGuireWoods after several years as an analyst at BrownGreer PLC, where she reviewed opt-out cases for benefit eligibility under the terms of a multi-billion dollar diet drug class action settlement agreement.
Outside of work, Verena is a sustaining member of the Junior League of Norfolk-Virginia Beach, and enjoys travelling, photography, and volunteering in her local community. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Richmond.