David F. Dabbs Counsel

Dave advises and represents employers and related parties, primarily on wage and hour, ERISA litigation, and issues arising in the sale and downsizing of businesses and facilities (including severance benefits and WARN and OWBPA compliance). His work frequently involves quantitative analysis and close issues of statutory and regulatory interpretation.

Dave also has a broad background in all aspects of employment law, including applications, contracts, handbooks, policies, terminations, releases, and restrictive covenants. With over 25 years of experience, he has over the course of his career regularly advised and defended employers in connection with discrimination and retaliation issues, including ADA and FMLA compliance.

Before returning to McGuireWoods, where he spent nearly the first two decades of his legal career, Dave gained experience advising, representing, and consulting for privately-owned businesses, non-profit employers, and individuals. This background gives him a unique perspective into clients’ legal issues, business goals, and long-term objectives.

Dave is a native Tennessean but a long-time resident of Richmond. He received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1991.

"I had a former client repeat back to me after 25 years what I had described as “Dave’s two rules of employment law.” Rule number one was, “Say what you mean,” and Rule number two was, “Do what you said.” Those “rules” still capture a lot of how I try to advise clients."


Served as counsel of record in nearly 100 cases in the Eastern District of Virginia.

Argued multiple cases successfully in U.S. Courts of Appeal.

Conducted legal compliance audits for employers ranging from a few dozen to a few thousand employees.

Representation of employers in EEOC and U.S. Department of Labor investigations involving hundreds of employees.

Representation of clients on FLSA claims and in collective actions involving EAP (executive, administrative, and professional) exemptions, sleep and travel time, tip credit, and omissions from regular rate.

Valuation of wage and hour claims involving factual uncertainty and multiple contested legal issues.

Representation of clients in ERISA litigation involving severance pay, life, health, and disability insurance, removal and preemption issues, and pension regulation on behalf of insurers and Fortune 100 corporations.

Particular industry background in:

  • Restaurants
  • Healthcare (including home health)
  • Local government (including police, fire, and EMS)
  • Property maintenance & services
  • Real estate brokerage
  • Residential retirement communities
  • University of Virginia School of Law, JD, Editor-in-chief, Virginia Law Weekly, 1991
  • Duke University, BA, Economics and Computer Science, magna cum laude, 1986

Virginia Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section

Richmond Bar Association

Pro se Pro Bono Mediation Project, University of Richmond Law School and the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia

  • Virginia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia
  • Interviewee, "Family And Medical Leave Act Under Review," Air Talk with Larry Mantle, KPCC 89.3, Southern California Public Radio, February 6, 2007
  • Presenter, "Trends and Recent Developments in Employee Benefits Administration and Litigation," Society for Human Resource Management, Annual Meeting, San Diego, California, June 21, 2005
  • Presenter, "Only the Tip of the Iceberg: Eye-Opening and Little-Known Facts about the DOL's New Overtime Regulations," 9th Annual Advanced Employment Issues Symposium, M. Lee Smith Publishers LLC, Las Vegas, Nevada, November 12, 2004
  • Instructor, Seminars on Overtime Requirements and Exemptions, Payroll Management in Virginia and Virginia Payroll Basics,  Lorman Educational Services, Inc., 2001-2004
  • Speaker, "Top Ten Mistakes in Wage and Hour Law," American Payroll Association, Richmond Chapter, June 19, 2002
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