Appeals & Critical Issues

When experience and results matter.


We are a full-service appellate team practicing in Virginia’s state and federal trial and appellate courts. Having handled more than 200 appeals, our team is known for its deep experience in Virginia’s appellate courts and its knowledge of appellate procedure in these courts. Two members of our team have clerked for Virginia appellate court judges: Monica Monday clerked for a former Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals of Virginia and Dave Berry clerked for a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia. 

We routinely appear in the Court of Appeals of Virginia, the Supreme Court of Virginia, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. And, when necessary, we have experience seeking and resisting certiorari in the United States Supreme Court. We’re familiar with the rules and procedures of these courts, as well as the judicial philosophies of their members.

Having practiced in Virginia’s appellate courts for decades, we are also known for the breadth of our appellate experience. We have successfully handled all kinds of civil appeals, including business and corporate, local government, insurance, banking, contracts, bankruptcy, construction, intellectual property, whistle-blower, personal injury, property, asbestos, trusts and estates, mineral rights, divorce and family law, workers’ compensation, and employment and employment discrimination. In the criminal context, our focus is on complex federal court matters. 

Our team often gets involved even before there is an appeal. At the trial stage, we assist trial counsel with framing the critical legal issues for appeal and ensuring that those issues have been preserved for appellate review. We enjoy working side-by-side with trial counsel to draft and argue motions and jury instructions, make objections and proffers, and ensure a complete record for appeal.

Our appeals law firm’s size and resources allow us to handle bet-the-company litigation. Still, our reasonable approach lets us effectively handle smaller cases. Regardless of the size of the case, our focus is to partner with our clients and trial counsel to achieve the best result. 


Over the years, our team has earned an outstanding reputation for effective appellate representation. Some of our representative appeals include the following:

  • Secured final judgment for bank in equitable subrogation case concerning entitlement to funds in deposit account. Arch Insurance Company v. FVCbank, 881 S.E.2d 785 (2022)
  • Obtained affirmance of district court’s “arm of the state” ruling in False Claims Act case. United States ex rel. Arven v. NICA (No. 20-13448) (11th Cir. 2022)
  • Court reversed federal program fraud conviction and affirmed other counts. Spirito v. United States, 36 F.4th 191 (4th Cir. 2022), cert. denied, 143 S. Ct. 567 (2023)
  • Obtained affirmance of favorable summary judgment ruling in discriminatory taxation case brought under the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act. Norfolk Southern Ry. Co. v. City of Roanoke, 916 F.3d 315 (4th Cir. 2019)
  • Court affirmed the trial court’s decision to set aside a multi-million dollar verdict in a government contracting case. CGI Federal, Inc. v. FCi Federal, Inc., 295 Va. 506, 814 S.E.2d 183 (2018) 
  • Secured affirmance of favorable breach of contract judgment. Knox Energy, LLC v. Gasco Drilling, Inc., 637 Fed. Appx 735 (4th Cir. 2016)
  • In question of first impression involving social host duty to child guest, obtained affirmance of motion to strike. Lasley v. Hylton, 288 Va. 419, 764 S.E.2d 88 (2014)
  • Court reversed dismissal of defamation case and clarified the defenses to qualified immunity. Cashion v. Smith, 286 Va. 327, 749 S.E.2d 526 (2013)
  • Obtained reversal of $25 million jury verdict in maritime case relating to asbestos exposure. Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Minton, 285 Va. 115, 737 S.E.2d 16 (2013)
  • In question of first impression, obtained dismissal of domestic relations appeal based upon terms of property settlement agreement, which waived the right of appeal. Burke v. Burke, 52 Va. App. 183, 662 S.E.2d 622 (2008)
  • Obtained reversal of adverse judgment in case involving the storage of wastewater from mining operations. Levisa Coal Co. v. Consolidation Coal Co., 276 Va. 44, 662 S.E.2d (2008)
  • Secured affirmance of compensatory and punitive damages awards for breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference, and conspiracy. Banks v. Mario Industries of Virginia, Inc., 274 Va. 438, 650 S.E.2d 687 (2007)
  • Obtained reversal of dismissal in a premises liability case involving a question of first impression. Taboada v. Daly Seven, Inc., 271 Va. 313, 626 S.E.2d 428 (2006), adhered to on rehearing, 641 S.E.2d 68 (2007)
  • Successful defense of jury verdict in a construction case interpreting statutory warranty for new dwellings. Vaughn, Inc. v. Beck, 262 Va. 673, 554 S.E.2d 88 (2001)
  • Landmark case clarifying Virginia’s business judgment rule. Willard v. Moneta Building Supply, Inc., 258 Va. 140, 515 S.E.2d 277 (1999)

What Do We Do?

We handle all aspects of the pre-appeal and appellate process, including:

  • Assisting at trial with critical motions, jury instructions, and preserving issues for appeal
  • Handling post-trial motions
  • Reviewing and analyzing the record for appellate issues and error
  • Obtaining appeal and suspending bonds
  • Noting and perfecting the appeal
  • Briefing the appeal
  • Arguing the appeal
  • Handling petitions for rehearing
  • Pursuing appellate costs and attorneys’ fees

What is Appellate Law? 

Appellate law is defined as the legal process of appealing a court decision to a higher court for review. In civil and criminal cases, the appellate court’s role is to assess whether the lower court’s decision was legally correct and fair. Appellate attorneys like Gentry Locke specialize in handling these appeals and presenting persuasive arguments to the higher court. Unlike trial proceedings, appellate cases focus on legal issues, precedent, and application of the law rather than reexamining the facts. The appellate process ensures that legal errors are corrected and that justice is served. Effective appellate representation demands a deep understanding of the law, extensive research, and compelling written and oral advocacy. Please let us know how we may assist you with your appeal. 


Have questions? Contact us.