Courtney Moates Paulk's photo

Courtney Moates Paulk

Litigation Section Chair

(804) 771-9523 phone
(804) 644-0957 fax

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Practice Areas

Courtney Moates Paulk is chair of Hirschler Fleischer’s litigation section and a member of the firm’s Board of Directors.  She also serves as the firm's hiring officer.

Leveraging deep experience in the construction industry, Courtney advises public and private owners, developers, contractors and subcontractors on a broad range of business matters and disputes, including:

  • The negotiation and drafting of contracts (design-bid-build, CM-at-Risk, design-build and construction management)
  • Early dispute avoidance and dispute resolution
  • Jury and bench trials, mediation and arbitration
  • Claims and disputes arising from delay and inefficiency, defective work, payment disputes, performance and payment bonds, mechanic’s liens, design and construction and other project related matters.

Courtney partners with her clients to understand their business objectives and help them achieve the best possible results. Her knowledge of the construction industry allows her to anticipate potential issues and to offer pragmatic solutions to help mitigate disputes.

Courtney is an active member of the Associated General Contractors, serving on the Richmond District Executive Committee of the Virginia Chapter and the Contract Documents and AIA-AGC Joint Committees of AGC America. She is a member of the ABA Litigation Section and Forum on the Construction Industry, as well as the Virginia State Bar Construction Law and Public Contracts Section.

Recently named a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, Courtney has earned numerous accolades throughout her career. She has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” in construction litigation by Virginia Super Lawyers and as a member of the “Legal Elite” in construction law by Virginia Business. She maintains an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell.

In addition to practicing law and her firm administration duties, Courtney is an internationally accomplished Open Water Marathon Swimmer.  In 2013, Courtney became the 79th person and 29th woman to achieve the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming (  To achieve this goal, Courtney swam 28.5 miles around the island of Manhattan in both 2011 and 2012, swam across the English Channel in 2012 and across the Catalina Channel in 2013.  In 2014, Courtney became only the 7th person to swim the 20 miles across Cape Cod Bay; in doing so, she set the record for the fastest crossing among both women and men.  Courtney brings to her law practice the same passion, drive and work-ethic she devotes to her open water marathon swims.  More information about Courtney’s swims can be found here.

While in law school, Courtney served as president of the Trial Advocacy Board, vice-chancellor and member of the McNeill Law Society (an honorary academic society reserved for law students who have achieved a ranking in the top 10 percent of their law school class), and vice-president of the Law Student Chapter of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association. Courtney also represented the law school in local, state, and national trial competitions. At graduation, she received the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association Student Advocate Award for excellence in trial advocacy.

Relevant Experience

  • Represented an owner in negotiating a $50 million CM-at-Risk contract with creative uses for contingency, staged-completion dates, bonuses for achieving certain milestone dates and shared-savings.
  • Represented a General Contractor in a 17-day trial against a roofing subcontractor in which the court awarded all damages sought by the GC, denied the relief sought by the roofing subcontractor and awarded the GC attorneys’ fees.
  • Represented a Design-Builder against a mechanical subcontractor in a six-day arbitration arising from four federal government projects in which the mechanical contractor was seeking damages for delays, disruption and inefficiency. The arbitrator denied all relief sought by the mechanical contractor.
  • Represented a German manufacturer in a mediation arising from claims for delay and inefficiencies resulting in a schedule analysis to determine cause for purported delays.
  • Represented a drywall subcontractor in a mediation arising from claims for additional work and delays.
  • Represented a public owner in a mediation against a General Contractor and design professionals for claims arising out of construction defects related to roof construction.
  • Represented a Design-Builder in a dispute with an insurance company and subcontractor  arising from a fire on a government project.
  • Represented a General Contractor in an insurance coverage dispute related to an explosion involving new work and an existing building.
  • Represented a General Contractor in a claim by an Owner claiming defective work on a parking lot.


  • University of Richmond School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude
  • Mary Washington College, B.A., with honors

Published Works/Speaking Engagements

Pro Bono/Community Service

  • Sports Backers, Board Member
  • American Heart Association, Go Red Executive Leadership Team
  • Greater Richmond Aquatics Partnership, Counsel to the Board of Directors


  • Named a “Leader in the Field,” Construction, Southern Virginia, Chambers USA: Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, 2018
  • Named a "Recognized Practitioner," General Commercial Litigation, Virginia, Chambers USA, 2017
  • Selected for inclusion as a “Super Lawyer,” Construction Litigation, Virginia Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2010-2017
  • Named among the "Most Influential Women in Virginia," Virginia Lawyers Weekly, 2015
  • Named to "Legal Elite" (Construction), Virginia Business, 2006-2011, 2013-2014, 2016-2017
  • Selected for inclusion as a “Rising Star,” Virginia Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2007-2009
  • Honored as one of the Top 25 Female Virginia Super Lawyers, Virginia Super Lawyers, 2011
  • Fellow, The American Bar Foundation
  • Martindale-Hubbell: AV Peer Review Rated
  • Winner, Grid Magazine's Naming Contest
  • Richmond Attorney Swims English Channel

Read More:


  • Virginia State Bar
  • Virginia Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Richmond Bar Association
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • Associated General Contractors of America; Contract Documents Committee, AIA-AGC Joint Committee

Firm Involvement

  • Board of Directors
  • Recruiting Committee - Hiring Officer
  • Chair of Litigation Section

Bar Admission

  • Virginia