Virginia Whitner Hoptman

Virginia Whitner Hoptman

Practice Areas

  • Appeals
  • Mediator & Arbitrator
  • Complex Commercial Litigation
  • Constitutional Law
  • Intellectual Property


  • J.D., University of Virginia Law School; Research & Projects Editor, Virginia Law Review; Order of the Coif; Raven Society; Michie Award.
  • B.S., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Phi Beta Kappa and Beta Gamma Sigma Honorary Societies; Wall Street Journal Award


Served as law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall of the Supreme Court of the United States and Chief Judge Collins J. Seitz of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Virginia’s appellate and trial practice focuses on complex business cases in federal and state courts, including claims of trade secret and other intellectual property misappropriation, patent infringement, breach of non-compete and nondisclosure agreements, breach of fiduciary duty, violation of federal banking statues and regulations, and breach of commercial and construction contracts. She brings substantial mediation experience to her practice, both representing clients and acting as a mediator to assist parties in resolving disputes. She serves as a mediator for the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Virginia brings to her practice substantial expertise on issues of federal preemption, constitutional law, and appellate and U.S. Supreme Court practice, as well as a keen understanding of alternative dispute resolution techniques, having taught in these fields for several years at George Washington University Law School. She served as law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall of the Supreme Court of the United States and Chief Judge Collins J. Seitz of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and as a mediator for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She represents clients in a variety of industries, including software technology, telecom, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, consumer finance, and higher education. Virginia achieves success for her clients by providing a unique combination of strategic legal advice and practical solutions to companies facing a variety of complex business disputes.

Representative Recent Matters

  • Represents major global manufacturer in The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, challenging a district court decision on statutory and constitutional grounds
  • Defended preliminary injunction in favor of a radio station’s enforcement of a non-compete covenant against First Amendment and federal preemption challenges, winning unanimous decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • Filed amicus briefs on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in the U.S. Supreme Court in Arthur Andersen, LLP v. Carlisle, addressing appellate jurisdiction and the rights of a nonsignatory to the arbitration agreement under the Federal Arbitration Act, and in Livingston v. Wyeth, Inc., the first SOX whistleblower-retaliation case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • Handled numerous appeals in the Virginia Supreme Court and the United States Courts of Appeals for the D.C., Third, Fourth, and Federal Circuits on issues involving patent infringement, jurisdiction and preemption challenges, commercial arbitration, commercial contract and constitutional disputes
  • Successfully challenged HUD regulations prohibiting seller-funded down payment assistance in federal district court in Washington, D.C.
  • Defended a residential mortgage banking company against claims of violations of TILA and Regulation Z, winning summary judgment in the U.S. District court for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • Defended established technology company against claims of trade secret theft, copyright infringement, and business conspiracy in action brought in federal court in Washington, D.C., winning partial summary judgment and favorably settling the matter
  • Represented a mortgage company bringing claims of business conspiracy and breach of fiduciary duty in Virginia state court, winning spoliation claims resulting in adverse inferences that led to successful settlement
  • Defended intellectual property company against claims of fraud, conspiracy and breach of fiduciary duty in connection with the purchase of its patent portfolio in action brought, winning dismissal of one party and successfully negotiating complex multi-party settlement
  • Provides strategic counseling on U.S. Supreme Court practice for clients and attorneys, including petitions for certiorari, review of briefs, and preparation for oral argument

Virginia is very active on issues of diversity in the legal profession, having served for ten years as Vice-Chair of Womble Carlyle’s Diversity Committee and chaired the Public Education Committee for the 2008 Just the Beginning Foundation Conference. She was recognized by the Chambers USA America’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2013 and was one of 35 attorneys named among the “Greater Washington Legal Elite” by Washington SmartCEO magazine. Additionally, she served as a member of the Constitutional and Administrative Law Advisory Committee of the National Chamber Litigation Center, providing support to companies in landmark cases in the U.S. Supreme Court and federal and state courts nationwide.

Practice History

  • Partner, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP (2003-2014)
  • Partner, Caplin & Drysdale (1982-1985)

Professional Activities

  • Mediator, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
  • Admitted to the bar, 1983, District of Columbia; 2003, Virginia; Maryland, 2007
  • Admitted to practice before Supreme Court of the United States; U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Sixth, Eleventh, District of Columbia, and Federal Circuits; U.S. District Courts for the Eastern District of Virginia and District of Columbia
  • Member, Constitutional & Administrative Law Subcommittee, US Chamber of Commerce, National Litigation Center
  • Public Education Chair, Just the Beginning Foundation 2008 Conference
  • Member of the American Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association

Teaching Experience

Associate Professor of Law, George Washington University (1985-1991)


“Principled Justice: A Personal Reflection on Justice Marshall,” 27 Harvard Civil Rights Civil Liberties Law Review, 1992