Five Loudoun Attorneys Seek Judgeship


While Loudoun moves closer to filling its long-sought fourth Loudoun Circuit Court judgeship, there is a new scramble to determine who will take the seat.

After years of lobbying by the local delegation, the General Assembly in 2015 approved a fifth 20thCircuit judgeship—a fourth in Loudoun—to help the circuit handle its mounting caseload. However, it has been working shorthanded for the past two years.

The vacancy was created when Judge Burke F. McCahill retired late in 2016.

Leesburg attorney Alex N. Levay had been poised to take that seat, having won the endorsement by the Loudoun Bar Association and ruled as qualified by the General Assembly.

But rather than fill the seat, the Assembly stripped funding for the judgeship, leaving it empty. The seat remained authorized but unfunded until May of this year, when the state legislature passed a budget that funded every judgeship in the state, effective July 1.

For the past two years, Levay remained the likely candidate join the bench. However, he withdrew his name from consideration last month because of family matters that will require more of his time.

After receiving Levay’s notice, the Loudoun Bar put out a call to solicit interest from other candidates. Five attorneys have applied for the Bar’s endorsement, according to attorney Rhonda Paice, who chairs the Bar’s Judicial Qualifications Evaluation Committee.

They are Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Sean Morgan; Lorrie Sinclair and Matthew Snow, who are partners in the same Leesburg law firm; Leesburg attorney Danell Palladine; and Kristin Quirk, an associate at Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy. Morgan and Sinclair were among the candidates considered for the seat two years ago.

There is at least one other candidate in the mix. And Fauquier County Commonwealth’ Attorney James P. Fisher appears to have a head start.

Fisher served as deputy commonwealth’s attorney in Loudoun before being appointed to Fauquier’s top prosecutor post in 2011 and then elected to a full term in 2015. His term expires in 2019.

Although he did not apply for the Loudoun Bar endorsement, last week Fisher became the first—and only—candidate for the 20th Circuit seat to appear before a joint session of the House and Senate Courts of Justice Committees, which will determine which candidates are qualified to be appointed to judgeships during the upcoming session.

In Loudoun, the five candidates will be vetted by the Bar’s Judicial Qualifications Evaluation Committee, which will make recommendations to the general membership. The Bar is expected to hold a general membership meeting on Jan. 9 to vote on its recommendation to the state legislature.

The 20th Circuit includes Loudoun, Fauquier and Rappahannock counties. The new judge is expected to be based in Loudoun.

2 thoughts on “Five Loudoun Attorneys Seek Judgeship

  • 2018-12-16 at 8:21 am

    It is regretful ,that Levay withdrew. However, Mr. Fisher is a superb candidate. It is unfortunate that the Loudoun Bar does not solicit input from the citizens on the candidates. Without community input the legislators receive a very limited view and information about the candidates.

    Some of the candidates on this list are concerning, the local selection process prevents input from local citizens.

  • 2018-12-18 at 6:16 pm

    Nice feelings, how about some information next time or do you just smear the whole group Everytime you post?

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