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James W. Theobald

Chairman Emeritus

(804) 771-9513 phone
(804) 644-0957 fax


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Practice Areas


Jim Theobald is a developer's lawyer. He has assisted some of the nation's largest developers and retailers in making their projects a reality for more than three decades with Hirschler Fleischer. From contract negotiations through rezoning, licensing and permitting, entity structuring, financing and leasing, Jim brings creative, aggressive advocacy to bear in finding a way to make a deal work. His ability to forge a consensus among groups of disparate interests has earned him a reputation as one of the area's top land use attorneys.

Relevant Experience:

  • Negotiated and documented the acquisition, sale and financing of the historic Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia in a $37,000,000 transaction involving a New York syndicator, Manufacturer's Hanover Bank and Prudential Bache Securities.
  • Represented one of the nation's largest discount appliance chains in acquiring sites throughout the country. Also structured sale/lease back transactions, including those with foreign investors, and other financing related to the acquisition and development of store locations.
  • Participated in the assembly, contract negotiations, rezoning, acquisition and financing for numerous mixed-use developments for a large Virginia based developer. Also participated in the preparation of the owner's association/golf membership documents.
  • Has represented numerous national "big box" retailers in the acquisition, rezoning and approval process in various portions of Virginia.
  • Has provided representation with regard to the formation of planned communities, including condominium documentation.


  • Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, J.D.
  • College of William & Mary, B.A.

Pro Bono/Community Service:

  • Richmond Goodwill Industries (Board of Directors)
  • Past yoga Instructor at Veterans Administration Hospital in PTSD Program
  • Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce (Board of Directors)
  • Venture Richmond (Board of Directors)


  • Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, Real Estate Law, Land Use and Zoning Law, Woodward/White, Inc., 1993-2012, 2018
  • Named a “Leader in the Field,” Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use, Southern Virginia, Chambers USA:  America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, 2004-2015, 2017 and 2018
  • Selected for inclusion as a “Super Lawyer,” Land Use/Zoning, Virginia Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2013-2017
  • Named to "Legal Elite" (Legal Services/Pro Bono), Virginia Business, 2017
  • Received Chambers USA’s highest ranking, Real Estate:  Zoning/Land Use, 2016
  • Ranked in Chambers USA 2015Named "Richmond Lawyer of the Year," Land Use and Zoning Law, The Best Lawyers in America, Woodward/White, Inc., 2015
  • Honored as one of the Top 100 Virginia Super Lawyers and one of the Top 50 Richmond, Virginia Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2013
  • Named to Virginia’s Best Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in America, 2012
  • Named to “Legal Elite” (Real Estate/Land Use), Virginia Business, 2003-2004, 2006-2014, 2016-2016
  • Virginia Commonwealth University’s Real Estate Circle of Excellence
  • Fellow, American College of Real Estate Lawyers
  • Fellow, The American Bar Foundation
  • AV Rating, Martindale-Hubbell


  • Richmond Bar Association
  • American Bar Association (Member, Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section)
  • Virginia State Bar (Real Property Section)
  • Home Building Association of Richmond (PAC)
  • Richmond Real Estate Group
  • American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL), Fellow

Firm Involvement:

  • Chairman Emeritus 
  • Past President of the Firm
  • Former Chair, Real Estate Section
  • Founder, Weinberg Land Use Forum

Bar Admission:

  • Ohio, (inactive)
  • Virginia