Rita serves as the firm’s full-time deputy general counsel, responsible for providing legal advice to the firm on every aspect of its workplace- and employment-related decisions, policies and practices.  In this role, Rita regularly partners with lawyers and staff members of management throughout the firm to provide guidance in meeting the firm’s business, risk management and employee relations objectives.

Before assuming the role of deputy general counsel, Rita practiced as a partner on the firm’s labor and employment team for two decades. Her labor and employment practice focused on the litigation of employment-related claims before state and federal courts and administrative agencies, representation of management in labor issues, and advice to management, human resources professionals and in-house counsel on all aspects of employer-employee relations. Rita also designed and facilitated a series of programs providing practical, interactive and customized workplace training to management, supervisory and non-supervisory employees.

Rita has substantial experience representing clients in areas including equal employment opportunity and employment discrimination, sexual harassment and other unlawful harassment, workplace torts, employment contracts and noncompete litigation, and wrongful discharge litigation. Her labor practice has included significant experience in union organizational campaigns and representation elections, defense of unfair labor practice charges, NLRB trials, advice on labor-management relations and union avoidance, and collective bargaining negotiations.

Rita is admitted to practice before the US Supreme Court; the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit; and the US District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia. After earning her law degree, Rita served as a law clerk for the Honorable Robert R. Merhige, Jr., of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.


  • Trained thousands of managers and supervisors nationwide in risk management and effective employee relations related to harassment, discrimination, hiring, discipline, discharge, performance management, reductions in force, managing a unionized workforce, and maintaining union-free status.
  • Managed employment litigation throughout the United States for a Fortune 500 company.
  • Represented a Fortune 500 company in successful resolution of a wage and hour collective action.
  • Successfully resolved Department of Labor and Immigration and Naturalization Service claims of numerous child labor and immigration violations against Fortune 500 company.
  • Successfully prosecuted several unfair competition/non-compete agreement cases.


Honors & Recognitions

  • Named among the Top 25 Women, 2007-2010, and Top 50 Women, 2013. Selected as a Super Lawyer for Employment & Labor, The Washington Post Magazine and Virginia & West Virginia Super Lawyers Magazine, 2006-2023
  • Named among the Legal Elite for Labor/Employment Law, Virginia Business magazine, 2005-2007, 2009-2020



JD, University of Richmond School of Law, magna cum laude, J. Westwood Smithers Medal (awarded to student graduating first in class), Editor-in-Chief, University of Richmond Law Review, 1986

BA, French & Foreign Affairs, University of Virginia, with distinction, 1980




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