Practice focuses exclusively on environmental law and administrative law -- in particular, the Clean Water Act (CWA) wetlands program, the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other federal regulatory programs that affect the use of land. Experience in permit negotiation, litigation of policy issues, lobbying Congress and the Administration, enforcement defense, and compliance counseling. Representative clients include development companies, agricultural and mining companies, state and local agencies, and trade associations. She has extensive experience with federal environmental agencies both in Washington and in district and regional offices. Virginia is an adjunct professor for the University of Miami School of Law Program in Real Property Development.
- Assisted applicants in obtaining wetlands permits and related endangered species approvals and in documenting NEPA compliance for major development projects in over 25 states, including Florida, California, and Arizona.
- Lead counsel in landmark wetlands cases, including NMA v. Corps of Engineers (invalidating the "Tulloch Rule," which illegally claimed authority to regulate excavation and land-clearing activities in wetlands); NAHB v. Corps of Engineers, which established that nationwide permits are rules subject to immediate judicial review; and Hoffman v. EPA, holding that the federal government must demonstrate an interstate commerce nexus in order to assert CWA jurisdiction over a wetland.
- Lead counsel for water agencies in litigation rejecting an Endangered Species Act challenge to the Bureau of Reclamation's operation of the lower Colorado River.
- Lead counsel in obtaining Corps permit for $1.2 billion redevelopment project in New Jersey and in successfully defending it in federal court.
- Testified in Congress numerous times on CWA policy issues.
- Led coalition of trade associations in obtaining Congressional legislation requiring the Corps of Engineers to establish an administrative appeals process.
- Lead counsel in landmark settlement under the federal construction stormwater program.
- Extensive experience litigating the meaning of "the waters of the United States."