Northern Virginia’s New Generation of Divorce Lawyers

FAIRFAX, VA (TLC News) –She was a lioness of the Virginia divorce bar, for decades both a fearless litigator and distinctive personality. She practiced in Northern Virginia for 60 years. So when she died of a stroke in late September at age 88 – she never retired — Betty A. Thompson left more than simply a void in the profession. “In a way it feels like the end of an era – a long era,” said David Masterman, a Northern Virginia divorce lawyer who for years opposed Thompson. “And I think we’re starting a new one.” In fact, the Northern Virginia divorce-law community – approaching 200 lawyers, by many estimates — has seen a cascade of change in recent years: Since 2008 prominent older lawyers have retired or scaled back their practices. One-time protégés have launched their own firms. And, with surging economic and population growth in the region, caseloads and court dockets have continued to soar. Divorce flings have more than doubled in Virginia’s four northern counties since 1985, to at least 4,000 divorces annually. And by all accounts the profession has grown even more competitive.