Return to story
BY CHELYEN DAVIS
Virginia has a good legal climate, at least from a business perspective.
That's according to a national ranking from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Legal Reform.
Virginia came in seventh, with Delaware ranking No. 1. West Virginia ranked last, just behind Louisiana and Mississippi.
The survey polled 1,125 attorneys and executives for big corporations--companies with annual revenues of at least $100 million--about their impressions of what it's like to litigate cases in each state.
Those lawyers ranked states on impartiality of judges, competence of judges, jury fairness, how they deal with issues of venue and class action suits.
From the perspective of corporate lawyers, Virginia appears to be a pretty good place to be if you have to go to court.
Virginia came in third for having "meaningful venue requirements," and for its treatment of class action suits.
The polled attorneys also ranked Virginia third for judges' competence, although they were less complimentary when it came to judges' impartiality and juries' fairness. The lawyers ranked Virginia 18th for impartiality and 15th for fairness.
The corporate lawyers ranked Virginia ninth for "overall treatment of tort and contract litigation" and 12th in terms of damages awarded.
According to the Chamber, a state's perceived legal climate is becoming more relevant to businesses when they weigh relocating or expanding, because more of those polled said it's a factor in such decisions than they did five years ago, before the recession.
Twenty-eight percent of those polled in the survey said a state's legal environment was "very likely" to affect important business decisions, while 42 percent said it was "somewhat likely" to be taken into consideration.
The Chamber says that makes a state's legal environment important to economic growth.