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Lisa Palmer O’Donnell


Bertini O’Donnell & Hammer, PC
999 Waterside Drive, Suite 1010
Norfolk, Virginia 23510



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James Madison University, B.S. 1986
George Mason University School of Law, J.D. 1990

Professional/business/civic/nonprofit organizations in which you are/have been involved and positions held:

Vice President of Virginia Trial Lawyers Association; American Association for Justice (Fellow, National College of Advocacy); Federal Bar Association (1995-2005 and President, Tidewater Chapter 2001-2002); American Inns of Court, Hoffman-I’Anson Chapter (1993-1998); Virginia Trial Lawyers Foundation Board of Directors; Virginia College of Trial Advocacy; Boyd-Graves Conference, current member of Steering Committee

Who were the important mentors you have had and how did they impact your career?

Although not in the legal profession, I consider my mom to be my most important mentor. With three children, she always held at least a part time job. I never felt that I was slighted in any way by having a working mother and she was always there when we needed her. She managed family, career, social and even volunteer work with church and youth group remarkably. By her example, I never once questioned that I, too, could balance family and career. I never worried that I might have to choose between one and the other. As a result, I’m blessed to have two incredible sons, a great husband and a fascinating career.

What do you consider your biggest personal and/or professional accomplishment and why?

My biggest accomplishment professionally hasn’t been one particular event, rather it is the daily trust and confidence that my clients place in me to handle serious legal matters for them. And I am extremely proud to be a partner with two remarkable women attorneys, Lisa Bertini and Amberley Hammer.

What advice would you give to a young person graduating from college this spring?

In this difficult economic time where jobs are scarce for young people, find what makes you unique and different and explore how you can market your own gifts and talents. Respect those who are your superiors and know that they want you to be the best you can be.

How do you achieve a balance between your professional life and your personal life?
Learn how to turn off work during family and social time. Much easier said than done!

When you were growing up, what did you want to be?

I wanted to be a veterinarian or a nurse. Unfortunately, science was not my best subject in school!

What is your favorite book or movie and why?

I recently read “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein. I loved the simplicity of this story told from the perspective of the family dog.

What are two things about you that not many people know?

I taught ballet during my college years and once gave lessons to a high school football team. And perhaps this is obvious by my choice of a favorite book, but I’m a passionate dog lover!

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