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Jay O’Keeffe focuses his practice on appellate and business litigation, including fiduciary disputes and trust-and-estate litigation. Jay has briefed or argued more than 30 cases before the Supreme Court of Virginia, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the Court of Appeals of Virginia. He publishes a blog, De Novo, that is available at www.virginiaappellatelaw.com. Often recognized for his appellate work, Jay has been on the Virginia Super Lawyers list of Rising Stars since 2008, was listed in Benchmark Appellate as a Local Litigation Star in 2013, and was designated as one of the Legal Elite for Appellate Law by Virginia Business magazine. He maintains an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell and a 10/10 rating from Avvo.

  • Appeals handled
  • Appellate blog posts
  • Clever kids
  • If you were not a lawyer, what would you do for a living?

    I would be a writer. Or maybe a neuroscientist.

  • What do you do outside of the office?

    I’m pretty boring. I like to ride my bike, run, and play with my kids. I also read a lot.

  • What is the best part of practicing law?

    I know that the right answer is “helping people,” but I really do love writing.

  • What are people surprised to learn about you?

    My wife, Carrie Moore O’Keeffe, was a professional soccer player. She played with Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach.

  • Please share an important lesson you’ve learned in life.

    I think I’ve got this right—“It’s safer to search the maze than to remain in a cheeseless situation.” Spencer Johnson.


  • College of William and Mary, B.A. magna cum laude, 1999
  • Harvard Law School, J.D. cum laude, 2002


  • Briefed and argued numerous cases before the Supreme Court of Virginia, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the Court of Appeals of Virginia
  • Representative matters include Lewis v. City of Alexandria, 756 S.E.2d 465 (Va. 2014); Hill v. Crum, 727 F.3d 312 (4th Cir. 2013); S.L.M. v. Dorel Juvenile Group, Inc., 514 Fed. Appx. 389 (4th Cir. 2013); Van Buren v. Grubb, 733 S.E.2d 919 (Va. 2012); Jarmak v. Ramos, 497 Fed. Appx. 289 (4th Cir. 2012); Van Buren v. Grubb, 471 Fed. Appx. 228 (4th Cir. 2012); Bonham v. Weinraub, 413 Fed. Appx. 615 (4th Cir. 2011); Rascher v. Friend, 689 S.E.2d 661(Va. 2010); Dunn Construction Co., Inc. v. Cloney, 682 S.E.2d 943 (Va. 2009); Kennedy v. Joy Technologies, Inc., 269 Fed. Appx. 302 (4th Cir. 2008).
  • Represents plaintiffs and defendants in civil matters in state and federal courts
  • Worked at Skadden before joining Gentry Locke


  • Virginia State Bar; Member (2002-Present); Appellate Subcommittee (2009-Present); Trusts and Estates Section (2014-Present)
  • Faculty Member, Virginia State Bar, Harry L. Carrico Professionalism Course (2011-2014)
  • The Virginia Bar Association; Member, (2002-Present); Appellate Subcommittee (2009-Present); Wills, Trusts and Estates Section (2014-Present)
  • Graduate, ABA Appellate Practice Institute (2011)
  • Graduate, National Trial Advocacy College, University of Virginia School of Law (2010)
  • Roanoke Bar Association (2006-Present)
  • American Bar Association (2002-Present); Litigation Section Member, Appellate Practice Committee (2009-Present)
  • Virginia Trial Lawyers Association (2009-Present); Appellate Section (2012-Present)
  • Board Member and Secretary, Saint Francis Service Dog Foundation (2008-Present)


  • Listed in Benchmark Appellate as a Local Litigation Star (2013)
  • Designated as one of the Legal Elite by Virginia Business magazine for Appellate Law (2012-2014)
  • Named a Virginia Super Lawyers Rising Star in Appellate Law (2010-2014) and Business Litigation (2008-2009)
  • Rated AV/Preeminent

Published Work

Read Jay’s blog, De Novo at www.virginiaappellatelaw.com

  • Co-author, Social Media and Discovery — New Tools, Same Rules; The VADA Journal of Civil Litigation, Vol. XXII, No. 4, Winter 2010-2011.
  • Co-author, Something Old, Something New: The Partial Final Judgment Rule; VSB Litigation News, Volume XV Number III (Fall 2010).
  • Co-author, Thoughts on Trying Construction Cases: An Appellate Perspective; Virginia State Bar Construction Law and Public Contracts News, Issue No. 56 (Spring 2010).
  • Co-author, Have You Made A Last-ditch, Desperate, and Disingenuous Attempt to Subvert the Legal Process Today?; Virginia Lawyer Magazine, Volume 57 (February 2009).