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2021’s ‘Unsung Legal Heroes’ announced

Virginia Lawyers Weekly is pleased to present the Class of 2021 “Unsung Legal Heroes.” Now in its fifth year, this program recognizes the Old Dominion’s most talented and dedicated legal support professionals.

The “Unsung Legal Heroes” awards honor law firm employees who have consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty, often behind the scenes.

The honorees in this year’s class include accounting and finance professionals, law firm administration, human resources, IT/operations, paralegals, legal assistants, legal secretaries, law clerks and receptionists.

One reader wrote to express thanks and appreciation to the hundreds of court clerks, deputy clerks, legal assistants, paralegals and judges’ chambers staff in Virginia’s circuit and district courts who continued to work on site every day of the pandemic to keep the trial courts open. We at Virginia Lawyers Weekly agree that these professionals epitomize unsung heroes.

As attorneys will tell you, they are only as good as the team that supports them. Some of these professionals cast the first impression as the first face clients see upon entering a firm. Others work their magic behind the scenes. All are vital to a law firm’s success through their commitment to customer service. Their hard work and team spirit has not gone unnoticed.

A special section featuring profiles of the honorees will be published in December.

Please join us in congratulating these top-notch legal professionals from across the commonwealth.

The 2021 Unsung Legal Heroes honorees are:


  • Stacy Cuskelly, Bean Kinney and Korman, Arlington
  • Grace Knighton, Goodman Allen Donnelly, Glen Allen

Firm Administrator

  • Michael Byser, Hampton Circuit Court, Hampton
  • Danna Chavez Calvi, Legal Aid Justice Center, Falls Church
  • Leigh Dunnagan, Glenn Robinson Cathey Memmer & Skaff, Roanoke
  • Tricia Muller, Chesterfield Circuit Court, Chesterfield
  • Megan Pfeifle, Cook Craig & Francuzenko, Fairfax
  • Angela Shiflett, MartinWren, Charlottesville
  • Mandy Truman, Pathfinder Injury Law, Glen Allen
  • Donna Winters, Consumer Litigation Associates, Newport News

Human Resources

  • Anita Mattox, Gentry Locke, Roanoke


  • Melissa Elliott, Vandeventer Black, Norfolk
  • Clifton Fuller, Hunton Andrews Kurth, Richmond
  • Kerry O’Neill, Vandeventer Black, Norfolk
  • Quinton Washington, Hunton Andrews Kurth, Richmond

Law Clerk

  • Dominika Bui, Alexandria Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, Alexandria

Legal Secretary

  • MaryAnn Abate, O’Hara Law Firm, Falls Church
  • Jennifer Akers, Slominski Law, Lynchburg
  • Margaret Collard, Harman Claytor Corrigan & Wellman, Glen Allen
  • Selma Modeste, DiMuroGinsberg, Alexandria
  • Lynne Rhoades, Venable, Tysons
  • Anne Whitt, Roger W. Mullins, Tazewell


  • Misty Brooks, Golightly Mulligan & Morgan, Virginia Beach
  • Tedilee Chiara, Rutter Mills, Norfolk
  • Kara Crane, Geoff McDonald & Associates, Richmond
  • Debra Gellert, Blankingship & Keith, Fairfax
  • Debra Kiggins, Vandeventer Black, Norfolk
  • Wendy Lough, Farrell & Croft, Manassas
  • Katie Sistek, MercerTrigiani, Richmond
  • Stephanie Washington, Hook Law Center, Suffolk
  • Gretchen Williams, Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney, Norfolk


  • Melissa Ross, Farrell & Croft, Manassas