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J. Buckley Warden IV


‘What does not kill you makes you an excellent trial attorney’

Most clients would call Buckley Warden brutally honest. “That level of honesty may cost me work, but it sets appropriate expectations in our relationship and a precedent of trust,” says Buckley. “Some attorneys will promise whatever the client wants to hear in order to get the work. I will never do that.”

Such honesty also creates client confidence in Buckley’s role as a litigator, where he represents and defends small- and medium-sized businesses, including construction companies, in complex commercial litigation.

Buckley’s years of in-the-trenches litigation experience began with a trial by fire. His first boss passed away five months after he began practicing; his second put “enormous faith” in him, to the point where Buckley was handling jury trials solo in his first year. “I was thrown in the deep end very early and nearly sank several times, but I survived,” says Buckley, who for six straight years has been named to Super Lawyers’ Rising Stars in the area of civil litigation. “What does not kill you makes you an excellent trial attorney.”

Buckley’s advocacy skills and focus on client goals have won him clients’ confidence in bet-the-company litigation. When trial is unavoidable, he is at home in a courtroom, giving clients an upper-hand in a world where trials spark fear into the hearts of individuals and businesses. Buckley has served as first-chair counsel in complex matters in both state and federal courts, in cases with multiple parties on both coasts, and on issues with seven figures or just a few thousand dollars at stake. Yet the challenge of achieving the client’s goal efficiently is the same in any size or type of case.

“I love solving problems that need creative solutions and enjoy putting together a novel path to achieving the client’s goal,” he says. “I am your attorney when you have a novel claim that needs a novel solution—usually with no insurance, scarce resources…and time pressure, just to make it more interesting.”

His other love? Taking depositions. “I have a knack for picking up on what a witness is saying, seeing a deception, and asking questions for hours to fully develop what the witness is hiding, why, who else knows, et cetera,” he says. “Taking a deposition that settles a case is an extremely satisfying experience, and one I have had the pleasure of achieving, several times.”

In peacetime, Buckley advises clients on their business operations by drafting contracts, developing processes, and making deals that balance risk and reward. He has won clients’ favor for his skill in breaking down technical aspects of the law into clear, goal-oriented, and actionable advice.

“I am not exaggerating when I say that the work is a joy and I would do it as a hobby if I was independently wealthy,” he says. Outside of the office, Buckley loves coaching and cheering on his two sons, Logan and Grayson, as they play baseball and football. Buckley also plays softball and volleyball and runs weekly to keep up with his growing boys. Continuing with the brutal honesty thing: Buckley is a terrible golfer.


Civil Litigation

Professional Licensure, Administrative, and Regulatory Disputes

Representative Experience

  • Representation involving commercial agreements, corporate lending, acquisitions, fraud, insurance, construction, bankruptcy, defamation, and restrictive covenants
  • Breach of contract resolution, both defense and plaintiff side, for all manner of contracts, including experience with construction and management contracts
  • Business splitting or reorganization resolution
  • Negotiations of all kinds involving defamation, contract creation, and operating agreement
  • Catlett v. Winchester Medical Center (2016-2018). Won a $5 million defamation claim by a doctor against the health system. Buckley represented the hospital and Vice President of Medical Affairs, and won the verdict after five-day jury trial.
  • Taylor & Parrish v. Graves (2017-2018). A seven-figure business split dispute involving declaratory judgment claims over the interpretation of the operating agreement buy-out provisions.
  • Sennett v. Major Clarity (2017-2018). A seven-figure business split dispute involving interpretation of the operating agreement and company intellectual property contracts.
  • Huh v. Allianz (2017). A seven-figure non-compete and tortious interference with a contract dispute involving a departing executive insurance employee.
  • Commerce Statler v. Fire & Life Safety America et al. (2018-2019). A seven-figure construction defect case in Texas for Richmond-based company. Successfully removed the client from the litigation, while maintaining the relationship with the owner and general contractor.


  • International Law Office and Lexology 2018 Client Choice Awards, Virginia Litigation Attorney, exclusive winner
  • Selected by peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in the field of Commercial Litigation (2021-2024), Litigation – Health Care (2021-2023), and Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law (2024)
  • Virginia Business Magazine’s “Legal Elite,” Young Lawyer (2014, 2019); Civil Litigation category (2017-2018); Construction (2019-2023)
  • Selected to the Super Lawyers Rising Stars List, Civil Litigation category (2013-2020), General Litigation category (2021-2023)
  • Selected by current members to join Secured Link Society (SLS) (2021-present)


  • University of Richmond School of Law, J.D. magna cum laude, 2008
    • Articles Editor of the Richmond Law Review
    • Order of the Barristers
    • Moot Court Board
    • Trial Advocacy Board
    • Law School Admissions Committee
  • Furman University, B.A., Political Science and Philosophy, magna cum laude, 2005
  • Law clerk to The Honorable G. Edward Welmaker, Retired Resident Judge of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit of South Carolina


  • All Virginia courts including the Supreme Court of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina
  • U.S Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • South Carolina State Bar


  • Board Member, Old Hundred Athletic Association
    • Secretary and Partnership Chair
    • Association coach
  • Virginia State Bar
  • Richmond Bar Association
  • Virginia Bar Association
  • Volunteer Judge, University of Richmond School of Law Trial Advocacy Board
  • Leader, Police and Community Safety Liaison, Hallsley Community
  • Huguenot Little League Coach

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