The current issue of Virginia/West Virginia Super Lawyers & Rising Stars magazine (available online, digitally, via app, and of course in magazine form) takes us inside the creative mind of Ann K. Sullivan, an employment lawyer at Crenshaw, Ware & Martin in Norfolk.
A problem-solver extraordinaire, Sullivan impressed her law school dean by throwing a bake sale to raise funds so that the school could pay a speaker. The dean recommended her to Frank Crenshaw, and the rest is history.
Sullivan tells us about her experiences at the U.S. Supreme Court, and how she had a feeling-when the reticent Justice Clarence Thomas asked a question favorable to her side-that she was on the winning side. And indeed, she got the Supreme nod for her client’s right to damages from an insurance company last year.
Sullivan doesn’t believe in taking “no” for an answer. Her motto: “There’s a solution to every problem.” She says she hasn’t found a challenge yet “that I couldn’t solve in some way, shape or form.”
Her paralegal, Suzi North-Sheehan, says, “Ann is an emphatic fighter for justice, for the little guy, for the underdog. … She works to change the world. That’s part of the charm of her.”
We also hear from Ralph L. “Bill” Axselle Jr., a former legislator who served in the Virginia House of Delegates for 16 years without once losing an election. Here’s what he wants people to know: Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle really do have the public’s interest at heart.
Since retiring as a politician, Axselle has kept his hand in public policy, lobbying for change from the outside. As a government law attorney at Williams Mullen, his clients range from the Richmond International Raceway to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. And a feather in his cap: He helped bring Nordstrom to Richmond.
Bennett Fidlow, at Schroder Fidlow in Richmond, talks about being a successful entertainment lawyer 3,000 miles away from Hollywood; and litigator Susan Brewer, CEO of Steptoe & Johnson, tells what it’s like to be the first woman to head a major West Virginia law firm.
In addition, several attorneys weigh in on which historic figures they’d love to do lunch with. We hear from Michele Mulligan, Of Counsel, MercerTrigiani in Richmond; Arlene Starace, Grenadier, Anderson, Starace & Duffett in Reston; Michael Barney, Of Counsel, Kaufman & Canoles, Virginia Beach; and Edward L. Allen, at Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen, Fredericksburg.