As the Richmond Times-Dispatch observed in a recent feature story, Washington and Lee alumna Lynn Tavenner, of the Law School Class of 1989, has been deeply involved in some of the highest-profile bankruptcy cases in the Richmond area in recent years.
Lynn and her law partner, Paul Beran, run Tavenner & Beran P.L.C., which one retired bankruptcy judge called "the very definition of a quality boutique firm" in the Times-Dispatch piece.
According to the paper, Tavenner & Beran "have played some role in nearly every major bankruptcy case to hit the Richmond region in the past five years." Some of the names will be familiar: Circuit City, LandAmerica and the State Fair of Virginia.
Both Lynn and her partner were specializing in bankruptcy and restructuring cases at the Richmond firm LeClairRyan when they decided to join forces and strike out on their own. They believe their model has worked because they have specialized in one area.
As Lynn told the T-D, a firm of their size has flexibility. In larger firms, she noted, "if you spend a gazillion hours on a case and then at the end of the day, for whatever reason, it doesn't pan out, that could be a huge issue somewhere else, but here it's not."
Lynn said that she had wanted to be a lawyer since seventh grade, but that it was only when a W&L professor suggested that she apply for a clerkship in the bankruptcy court that she began heading in that direction.
And while some of their cases have involved major companies, their work runs the gamut, with some of their smaller clients dealing with more difficult circumstances.
"In many instances, some of our most successful cases have been small mom and pops because you can actually see the results at the end of the day," Lynn said. "That is gratifying."
Speaking of bankruptcy, another W&L Law alumna, Rebecca Connelly, of the Law School Class of 1988, was formally invested as the U.S. bankruptcy judge for the Western District of Virginia on Sept. 28, in a ceremony in Roanoke. She is the first woman to hold that position. Becky was elected to the position in January.
Prior to her appointment, Becky served as a standing trustee for the Western District, which stretches from Winchester to Lynchburg and to the state's western tip. Her chambers are in Harrisonburg.