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Elizabeth L. White

5425 Discovery Park Boulevard
Suite 200
Williamsburg, Virginia 23188
Phone:  757.941.2805
Fax:  757.941.2879

Biography

A shareholder in the firm, Elizabeth White ("Liz") represents developers, landowners, lenders and community associations in a wide array of commercial transactions and land use matters such as land acquisition, financing, zoning and land use, property management, community development authorities (CDA's), formation and operation of private governance structures such as community associations, leasing, sales, marketing, project registrations and regulatory compliance.

Liz began her career assisting developers, institutional lenders and retailers in drafting and negotiating commercial leases, commercial real estate financing transactions, restructuring commercial loans, and the creation and registration of condominiums and master planned communities (residential and mixed use). During the late 1980's Liz worked closely with Best Products Corporation (a publically traded retailer with mall jewelry stores and general merchandise showrooms nationwide) assisting Best's in-house counsel and real estate team in negotiating leases and land acquisitions for store sites nationwide. She also traveled extensively with Best's site locating team meeting with local government personnel to secure economic incentives and development approvals.

In the economic downturn of the early 1990's, lenders and developers of distressed projects turned to Liz to help turn around, work-out and restructure distressed mixed-use projects, condominiums and planned communities.

Today, she is counsel to national, regional and local developers, financial institutions, management companies, local governing bodies and community associations. Locally, Liz has assisted with the development, operation and/or management of master planned residential, mixed use, resort, commercial and "New Urbanism" communities such as Kingsmill on the James (an Anheuser-Busch resort community in Williamsburg, Virginia), The Governor’s Land (a large-scale master planned community in Williamsburg, Virginia, with private club, golf and marina facilities), NewTown (a large scale mixed-use New Urbanism Community in Williamsburg, Virginia), Villages of Kiln Creek (a large scale mixed use, golf-centric community in Newport News and York County, Virginia), Stonehouse Preservation (a large-scale, conservation themed community in Williamsburg, Virginia), HarborView (a large-scale mixed-use, golf-centric community in Suffolk, Virginia), Warrington Hall (a large scale mixed use community in Chesapeake, Virginia), and Magnolia Green (a large-scale mixed use, golf centric community in Chesterfield, Virginia, subject to a Community Development Authority.

Liz has earned a reputation as the "city attorney for private cities" (i.e. large scale and resort communities many of which have more than 10,000 members). As counsel to common interest communities (both owner and developer controlled), Liz serves communities with a wide variety of amenities, number of units, and organizational structures. She is well known for her unique and progressive approach which emphasizes providing practical business solutions to her community association clients while promoting sound policies and practices to effectively minimize conflict and maximize long term community vitality.

Always out front, Liz has been recognized by her peers as one of the Best Lawyers in America and a leader within the legal community. The Community Associations Institute inducted her into its prestigious College of Community Association Lawyers. She has been named in Virginia Business magazine's "Legal Elite" for over a decade, and has also been included in Inside Business's "Top 40 Under 40" for business people in Southeastern Virginia, and chosen as one of the "Influential Women of Virginia" by Virginia Lawyers Media. She has been honored by numerous municipalities and organizations such as the Community Associations Institute for her efforts and commitment to educating citizens about planned communities, common interest communities and community associations. She is a sought after speaker on a local and national level, and she is frequently quoted in national, regional and local publications on topics of interest to community associations, developers, managers, and resort operators.

Liz leads the firms' nationwide Community Association Industry Team, a multi-specialty group comprised of attorneys within the firm who either dedicate a significant portion of their law practice to advising clients on common interest community matters or who practice within other specialty areas (such as hospitality and tourism, labor and employment, land-use and zoning, environmental compliance, trademark and insurance) which are of interest to the developers, financial institutions, community associations, management companies and lenders for common interest communities. Liz teaches the law school course "Community Association Law" at the College of William & Mary Law School, which is the first course on the topic of community association law taught in a Virginia law school and one of only a few taught nationwide.

Legal Experience

  • LeClairRyan, Williamsburg, Virginia, March 2007 – present
  • Kaufman & Canoles, Williamsburg, Virginia, December 1992 – March 2007
  • McGuireWoods, Richmond, Virginia, September 1987 – November 1992
  • Law Clerk to Managing Partner, Vernon M. Geddy, Jr., McGuire Woods Battle & Boothe, Williamsburg, Virginia, 1985 - 1987

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Member, Public Housing Advisory Committee – City of Williamsburg
  • Former Chair and Member, Board of Zoning Appeals – City of Williamsburg
  • Member, Hampton Roads Association for Commercial Real Estate
  • Member, Community Associations Institute, Southeastern Chapter
  • Member, Virginia Bar Association
  • Charter Member, Virginia State Bar Community Service Program, 2004 - Present
  • Member, Local Government Law Section, Virginia State Bar
  • Member, Williamsburg Bar Association
  • Former Member and Vice President, Hampton Roads Jaycees
  • Former Director, Model Judiciary Program – 9th Judicial Circuit of Virginia Bar Association
  • Former Member, Board of Governors, Young Lawyers Conference, Virginia State Bar
  • Past President and Secretary, Greater Peninsula Women’s Bar Association
  • Former Member, Legal Studies Advisory Board, Christopher Newport University
  • Former Director, Child Caring Connections

Distinctions

  • Appointed to the Public Housing Advisory Committee of the Williamsburg Redevelopment & Housing Authority by the Williamsburg City Council, 2013
  • Listed among The Best Lawyers in America® in the field of Litigation - Real Estate, 2013–2017
  • Admitted to the College of Community Association Lawyers of the the Community Associations Institute®
  • Selected by her peers for inclusion in Virginia Business magazine's "Legal Elite" in Real Estate/Land Use Law
  • Listed in Inside Business's "Top 40 Under 40"
  • Honored in 2008 by special resolution of the City Council of the City of Williamsburg for distinguished service and leadership while serving as a member and Chair of the City's Board of Zoning Appeals
  • Awarded the 2004 Outstanding Service Award by the Board of Supervisors of James City County in recognition of her efforts and commitment to educating citizens about community associations
  • Received 2002 Speaker of the Year Award from the Southeastern Virginia Chapter of the Community Associations Institute
  • Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce "Above and Beyond" Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service, November 15, 2000
  • Commencement Speaker and Graduate, Leadership Institute of the Virginia Peninsula, Class of 1996
  • Recognized as one of the "Influential Women of Virginia" by Virginia Lawyers Media

Education

  • J.D., College of William and Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law, 1987
  • B.A., College of William & Mary, 1984

Bar Admissions

  • Virginia