Robert W. McFarland Partner

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Focusing on civil litigation, Rob concentrates his practice on commercial litigation (including business and contract disputes, commercial lease and real estate matters, construction, and insurance coverage); intellectual property; trust and estate litigation; financial and consumer services; municipal liability, tort, products liability and personal injury; and representation of employers in all facets of employment litigation.

Rob joined the firm in 1985 upon completion of a federal clerkship for the Honorable John A. MacKenzie, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. He has tried more than 130 cases to juries, as well as dozens of non-jury trials. He has appeared in every federal and state court in southeastern Virginia, and in other states, and has successfully argued appeals before the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Virginia.

A majority of Rob’s practice is in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia’s Norfolk and Newport News divisions. Because of his experience and familiarity with these federal forums, he regularly represents non-Virginia based employers and corporations in federal litigation.

Rob is a past president of the Tidewater Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. He has authored several articles on federal practice, discovery, expert witnesses and damages, and regularly lectures on federal and state practice and procedure, discovery, expert witnesses and municipal liability. Extremely active in the Norfolk community, Rob presently serves as secretary and trustee to Norfolk Collegiate School, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Westminster-Canterbury on the Bay, and Trustee for the Hermitage Museum.


  • Representation of the board of directors of a publicly traded corporation in a shareholders’ derivative action.
  • Representation of marine salvage company in obtaining a $110 million salvage award and title to the artifacts recovered from the expeditions to the wreck of the RMS Titanic.
  • Representation of a large U.S. bank in suit for religious discrimination and FMLA violations; jury verdict, affirmed on appeal.
  • Representation of public school system in teacher’s suit alleging First Amendment violations for removal of religious materials; summary judgment affirmed by 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Representation of an international chemical manufacturer in asbestos wrongful death action: jury verdict.
  • Successful trials in the areas of business litigation; construction; covenants not to compete; contracts; employment discrimination; and real estate.