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VADA Member Spotlight

Alex de Witt
Freeborn & Peters, LLP

This month’s spotlighted VADA member is Alex de Witt of Freeborn & Peters, LLP, in Richmond.  Alex is a graduate of the University of Virginia and George Mason University School of Law.  He is the current Chair of VADA’s Legislative Committee.  Alex also has served as Chair and Vice-Chair of our Policy Coverage Section.



1.         Where were you born?

Blacksburg, Virginia.

2.         Tell us about your spouse. Children? Pets?

My wife, Erika, and I have been together for almost 29 years.  We met in high school.  Erika teaches at a nursery school in Richmond, and is working towards a master’s degree in Teaching at the University of Richmond.  We have two beautiful daughters, ages 13 and 16, and two Aussiedoodles (both age 3).

3.         What type of law do you practice?

Civil litigation (primarily defense), insurance law, and flood litigation (National Flood Insurance Program).

4.         How long have you been a member of VADA?

Good question – maybe 15 years?

5.         What do you like most about practicing law?

There’s never a dull moment.

6.         What have you enjoyed most about your time in VADA?

Meeting colleagues from around the Commonwealth.  I have also enjoyed working with the VADA’s lobbyists and learning more about the legislative process.

7.         If you were in my office, one of the first things you would notice would be …

Files, binders, boxes … and a cup of coffee.

8.         What is the last movie or TV show you binge watched?

Atypical (Netflix), a comedy-drama which focuses on the life of an 18-year-old who is on the autism spectrum.  Very entertaining.  Highly recommend.

9.         What was your undergraduate major?

I double-majored in Classics and Philosophy, with a minor in English.

10.       What movie line do you find yourself quoting most often?

The following scene from My Cousin Vinny (1992):

Vinny Gambini:        Mr. Crane, what are these pictures of?

Ernie Crane:              My house and stuff.

Vinny Gambini:        House and stuff. And what is this brown stuff on your windows?

Ernie Crane:              Dirt.

Vinny Gambini:        Dirt. And what is this rusty, dusty, dirty-looking thing that's covering your window?

Ernie Crane:              It’s a screen.

Vinny Gambini:        A screen! It's a screen. And what are these really big things right in the middle of your view from the window of your kitchen to the Sac-o-Suds?  What do we call these big things?

Ernie Crane:              Trees?

Vinny Gambini:        Trees, that's right. Don't be afraid, just shout 'em out when you know.  Now, what are these thousands of little things that are on trees?

Ernie Crane:              Leaves.

Vinny Gambini:        Leaves! And these bushy things between the trees.

Ernie Crane:              Bushes.

Ernie Crane:              Bushes. So, Mr. Crane, you could positively identify the defendants, for a moment of two seconds, looking through this dirty window, this crud-covered screen, these trees, with all of these leaves on them, and I don't know … how many bushes?

Ernie Crane:              Looks like five.

Vinny Gambini:        Uh, uh.  Don't forget this one and this one.

Ernie Crane:              Seven bushes!

Vinny Gambini:        Seven bushes. So, what do you think? Isn't it possible you just saw two guys in a green convertible and not necessarily these two particular guys?

Ernie Crane:              I suppose.

Vinny Gambini:        I'm finished with this guy.

11.       What is at the top of your bucket list?

            Clean the attic.

12.       What was your first job?

Lifeguard.

13.       When I am not at the office, I like to …

            Spend time with family.

14.       What would your courtroom walk-up music be?

Listen To The Music by the Doobie Brothers

15.       What is the most memorable live concert you ever attended?

R.E.M.’s Green Tour (1989).

16.       If I wasn’t practicing law, I would be …

            Doing yard work … or walking the dogs.

17.       What is your favorite travel spot?

San Diego, CA (Pacific Beach).

18.       What talent do you wish you had?

            Photographic memory

19.       What quality do you admire most in other attorneys?

            Professionalism.

20.       What advice would you give to someone who just passed the bar?

Never be afraid to reach out to more experienced lawyers and ask a question.  As noted by Carl Sagan in The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark: "There is no such thing as a dumb question."

Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys

1915 Huguenot Road, Ste 301

Richmond, VA, 23235

804-649-1002

Executive Director: Sherma Mather

Director of Meetings: Amy Gilbody

Journal of Civil Litigation Managing Editor: Molly Terry

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