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■ 2017 VIRGINIA LEGAL ELITE


Jim Lang


Pender & Coward PC Virginia Beach


ENVIRONMENTAL LAW


Title: Shareholder Other legal specialties: Riparian property rights Birthplace: Orange, California


Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of Southern California; law degree (summa cum laude), Case Western Reserve University School of Law; master of laws


degree in environmental law (high honors), The George Washington School of Law Spouse: Susan


Children: James (27), Katelyn (22) and Laura (21)


Hobbies or pastimes: My wife and I volunteer as mentors in the UpCenter’s “Team Up Mentoring Program” working with at-risk youth.


First job as a lawyer: I had my “first job” as a lawyer during the summer after my second year of law school, when I was assigned to the Navy Legal Services Office in Norfolk.


Fan of: Football: University of Southern California Trojans; base- ball: Los Angeles Dodgers.


Favorite vacation spot: The Chautauqua Institution in south- western New York


Recently read books: “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance, “The House of Morgan” by Ron Chernow and “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander


Career mentor: In 1995 the Captain commanding the Navy Legal Office in Washington, D.C. elevated me to the position as his second-in-command. He took a genuine interest in me. I am a far better person now because of what he did for me.


How has your Navy career influenced your law practice? My Navy career began as an 18-year-old enlistee assigned to maintaining and operating nuclear reactors. That assign- ment was cut short, and I was re-directed to college on a Navy scholarship and then to flight training in Pensacola, Fla. I flew in the P-3 Orion submarine-hunting aircraft for almost two years, at which point I was re-directed to law school (again on a Navy scholarship). Flight training taught me that all aviators make mistakes, and that the living aviators are the ones who caught their mistakes and corrected them. In my legal work, I double-check “facts” before including them in my outgoing correspon- dence and in briefs that I file with the court. Also in the Navy, I learned that an officer is known by his or her “professional reputation,” which influences career assignments and the ability to advance. This impor- tant lesson applies equally to my legal practice. An attorney’s reputation with the bar and with the bench matters. Integrity and trustworthiness are vital to the attorney’s ability to meet his or her ultimate responsi- bility — which is to solve clients’ problems.


58 DECEMBER 2017 Photo by Mark Rhodes


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