A compassionate, dependable advocate for clients in challenging circumstances
Frances Caruso’s interest in a law career solidified when she served an internship in a legal aid office as an undergraduate student at Vanderbilt University. She saw the essential value that a skilled, compassionate lawyer could provide to someone entangled in the legal system.
“I wanted to be able to help people facing what can be overwhelming situations,” she says. “Someone’s ‘day in court’ is a life-changing, and often confusing, experience. I wanted to advise and advocate for those finding themselves in those circumstances. I know it sounds corny, but I became a lawyer because I wanted to help people.”
Frances’s primary practice areas at ThompsonMcMullan are family formation and employment law, along with a varied practice in litigation. Family formation and employment law have particularly interested her since law school from both an intellectual and personal standpoint. She finds the legal questions at the core of those practice areas endlessly compelling—“I have a genuine curiosity and enthusiasm for legal research and the intricacies of the law”—while appreciating the opportunity to help people with challenges at the center of their everyday lives.
“What is more personal than creating a family or dealing with an issue at your place of employment?” Frances says. “I work on questions that are extremely important to my clients, and I appreciate that I have that opportunity.”
No matter the challenge or client, Frances strives to be a dependable and genuine advocate for her clients, using her legal knowledge and authentic interest in their personal circumstances to make an emotional or difficult time in their lives less burdensome.
“I tend to enjoy and really thrive on listening to people and the counseling aspect of what I do,” Frances says. “I want to be the sounding board that they need and to provide the guidance and advice that will help them when they’re in a tough place.”
Frances joined ThompsonMcMullan after serving as a law clerk for the Henrico County Circuit Court where she prepared bench memoranda for judges’ civil and domestic dockets, drafted memoranda evaluating procedural and substantive law, and advised judges on rulings. She researched and analyzed issues arising in the course of litigation and hearings, and drafted opinion letters that discussed and supported the court’s decisions. Prior to her clerkship, Frances worked as a law clerk in the legal department of Carmax Inc., in the Office of General Counsel at the University of Richmond, and in the Fredericksburg Public Defender’s Office.
Originally from Montgomery Village, Maryland, Frances now lives in Richmond with her husband, daughter, and very loud beagle. A fan of all sports, she formerly held national and world titles in baton twirling and worked for Vanderbilt University football during college. She remains a huge Commodores fan.
Civil Litigation, Bankruptcy, and Administrative Law
Elder Law, Estate Planning, and Family Formation
Employment Counseling and Litigation
- Family Formation: Assisted reproductive technology contracts, post-birth legal proceedings, adoption proceedings
- Employment: Defense of EEOC charges, employee handbook and policy drafting and audits, representation of employer in litigation
- Litigation: Representation in state and federal lawsuits covering a wide variety of issues, such as fiduciary and chancery litigation, landlord/tenant, breach of contract, tort liability, construction and insurance defense
- University of Richmond School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 2015
- University of Richmond Law Review, Manuscripts Editor
- Client Counseling and Negotiation Board, President
- Alternative Dispute Resolution Society Board, Member
- Phi Delta Phi, Honor Society, Member
- CALI Award Winner, Regulating Reproduction, Spring 2015
- Awarded Top Student, Legal Writing/Law Skills Course, Fall 2012
- Vanderbilt University, B.A. with Honors, Sociology and Psychology, 2012
- Selected by peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© “Ones to Watch,” in the field of Commercial Litigation and Insurance Law (2021)
- Virginia Business Magazine’s “Legal Elite,” Young Lawyer (Under 40) (2019)
- All Virginia courts, including the Supreme Court of Virginia
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
- Virginia State Bar
- American Bar Association, Family Section, Assisted Reproductive Technologies Committee
- Richmond Bar Association
- Henrico Bar Association
- Metro Richmond Women’s Bar Association
- Vanderbilt Alumni Association, Richmond Chapter
- Alpha Delta Pi Alumnae Association, Richmond, VA Division
- Epiphany Lutheran Church Nursery School, Board Member
- Sports Backers’ President’s Council, Community Engagement Committee