Arnold elected firm’s CEO

Published 10:12 pm Thursday, February 7, 2019

Longtime Suffolk attorney Dave Arnold has been elected chief executive officer at Pender & Coward.

Arnold has served on the firm’s executive committee for the last four years. He began his legal career as a law clerk at the firm and has more than 20 years of experience in the profession.

“The firm’s in a very strong position going forward,” Arnold said in a phone interview this week. “It’s my responsibility not just to maintain that position but to improve on it as well.”

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Pender & Coward is celebrating its 130th anniversary this year. It has had a Suffolk office for 14 years and also has offices in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach. There are about 100 employees, 40 of whom are lawyers.

Arnold said he is pleased to have been entrusted with this position.

“It reflects a great deal of trust from my colleagues,” he said. “There’s a lot of talent at this firm and a lot of expectations of this firm’s leadership, and it’s something I don’t take lightly.”

Arnold plans to keep a large caseload in addition to his executive duties. “Three of the firm’s top clients are serviced out of the Suffolk office, and that’s not going to change,” he said. “I expect the same level of service for our clients that we’ve provided in the past.”

Pender & Coward is a full-service law firm, providing whatever the client needs, Arnold said. Just a few of its areas of practice he highlighted include patent law, labor and employment, construction, family law, wills and trusts, litigation and personal injury.

The practice of law is undergoing a lot of changes due to technology and client expectations, Arnold said.

“There’s a tremendous demand for greater efficiency, but they still expect the great service,” Arnold said. “Clients are becoming more and more resistant to increased prices in the legal market. The billable hour is falling out of favor. Client expectations are changing rapidly, and we have to change the way we do things to meet client expectations.”

Nevertheless, Arnold said Pender & Coward is responding well.

“The firm had a fantastic year in 2018,” he said. “Revenues are on the increase. That means caseload is on the increase. Even though we had more cases and we had more clients, we were able to deliver the same level of quality and services.”

Due to that changing technology, Arnold said, he’ll be able to work at any of the firm’s three offices. Though he’ll be practicing law mostly out of the Suffolk office, he expects to be in Virginia Beach about 40 percent of the time, as well.

“I am proud to see our five-year succession plan come to fruition,” said Rick Matthews after stepping down from the chief executive officer position after 20 years. “Our firm has been around for 130 years, and the new generation of leadership will ensure that we’re here for our clients for a long time to come.”

A number of other leadership changes have been announced:

  • Mark Baumgartner and Jim Lang have been elected to serve on the firm’s executive committee. Mark Baumgartner has served as the firm’s chief financial officer since 2017. He focuses his practice on litigation, business and real estate matters. With more than 15 years of legal experience, Baumgartner began his legal career as a law clerk at Pender & Coward after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps and operating an import and wholesale distribution company. Jim Lang is a new member of the firm’s executive committee and serves as chief operating officer. He leads the firm’s waterfront law practice group and works to protect Virginians who live, work and play on the water, especially in proceedings before the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. Lang joined Pender & Coward in 2005 after completing a 25-year career in the U.S. Navy, including 16 years as a U.S. Navy JAG Attorney.
  • Ross Greene has been elected a shareholder of the firm. Greene focuses his practice in the areas of eminent domain and right of way, real estate, estate planning and administration, business legal services and litigation. He represents condemning authorities for right of way projects, including state government agencies, utilities, municipalities and right of way consultants and is certified as a Senior Right of Way Professional by the International Right of Way Association. He also represents residential and commercial clients on transactions and related litigation and advises individuals on estate planning and administration matters, including the preparation of wills trusts, powers of attorney and related litigation. Active in professional groups and the community, Greene serves as president and legal committee chair of Chapter 52 of the International Right of Way Association, is the past president of the Suffolk Bar Association, and serves on the Suffolk Ducks Unlimited Leadership Committee.

Two other Pender & Coward attorneys have also had recent honors:

  • Richard Garriott has been elected to serve as president of the Virginia Bar Association. A VBA member since 1997, Garriott joined the Board of Governors in 2015 and previously served as chair and president-elect. As an officer, he also serves on the executive committee of the VBA. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the Virginia Law Foundation and serves on the Virginia Family Law Coalition. Garriott focuses his practice on family law and civil litigation.
  • Kristen Jurjevich received the Emerson G. Spies Award from the Virginia Bar Association for enthusiasm, loyalty and dedication in the work of the Young Lawyers Division of the VBA during a given year. A shareholder of the firm, Jurjevich focuses her practice on corporate and transactional law, real estate, community association matters and litigation. Jurjevich serves as a VBA Young Lawyers Division Executive Board member, chair of the Awards of Achievement Committee of the VBA’s Young Lawyers Division and a Young Lawyers Division representative to the VBA’s Pro Bono Council.  She is a 2018 LEAD Hampton Roads graduate and has been recognized as a Virginia Super Lawyers Rising Star, a CovaBIZ Millennial on the Move and one of Virginia’s Legal Elite.