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An immersive litigator who connects with clients, as well as judge and jury

When she represents clients in litigation, Rachel Adams immerses herself in her clients’ businesses to become part of their team.

“When you’re representing an organization, you have to know the day-to-day life of your client’s business to represent them effectively,” Rachel says. “I enjoy embedding myself with clients and connecting to them on a one-on-one basis. You can’t get that depth of information from reading documents — you have to sit down with your clients and gain an understanding of their world.”

It’s this immersion mentality — “knowing the facts backwards and forwards” — she brings to clients across an array of industries in her passion as a litigator, where she represents clients in complex civil litigation and arbitration matters, including administrative law disputes, constitutional officer actions, shareholder derivative suits, wrongful death and premises liability actions, construction defect arbitrations, and more. As a litigator, she has served on large case teams, where she has coordinated large-scale document productions and drafted dispositive motions.

Prior to joining ThompsonMcMullan, Rachel was a commercial litigation associate for an AmLaw 100 firm in Washington D.C.  There, she mastered the fundamentals — and on-your-feet art — of trial and arbitration litigation in high-stakes, bet-the-company cases. “Being a successful litigator means not only being aggressive and zealous in representing your client, but having the ability to connect on a personal level with judge or jury,” she explains. “You want to be in tune with your audience.”

And, she notes, while litigators are seen as advocates, rather than counselors, she appreciates taking the next step with clients after litigation has been resolved. “It’s important,” she says, “that we are there to help our clients take the next steps to analyze lessons learned, comply with judge’s orders, and equip them for success in the future.”

Prior to her time in private practice, Rachel served as a judicial intern for the Hon. David J. Novak in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and as a deputy clerk for the Fairfax County Circuit Court, which sparked her interest and catapulted her into law school.

Representative Experience


  • Represents clients in Virginia state and federal courts by drafting pre-trial motions and written responses to discovery, conducting depositions of individual and corporate representatives, and participating in all phases of trial, including opening statements, direct and cross examinations, closing arguments, and post-trial motions
  • Represented developer of high-end condominium project sued in arbitration by condominium unit owners’ association and individual unit owners alleging breach of contract, breach of warranty, misrepresentation, and consumer protection act violations, resulting in an award of attorneys’ fees
  • Defended automotive repair company against claims for breach of contract, fraud, and violations of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act
  • Represented officer of a closely held corporation in shareholder derivative suit in federal court; drafted dispositive motion resulting in the court dismissing claims brought pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1964 (RICO)
  • Represented a national hospitality company in nationwide class action in which plaintiffs alleged privacy and discrimination claims; drafted memoranda in support of motion for preliminary approval of class action settlement and joint motion for final approval of class action settlement
  • Responded to civil investigative demands and inquiry letters from congressional committees, state attorneys general, and other government authorities in connection with congressional and state investigations


  • Defends government employees, constitutional officers, and elected officials in numerous Section 1983 lawsuits pending in state and federal courts
  • Obtained dismissal of Monell claim, brought pursuant to Section 1983, against Sheriff’s Office related to conditions of local jail
  • Obtained dismissal of gross negligence claims brought against Sheriff in Virginia state court
  • Obtained outright dismissal of deliberate indifference claims and violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) claims, brought pursuant to Section 1983, and gross and willful and wanton negligence claims under Virginia law, asserted against an ADA coordinator with Sheriff’s Office
  • Defended and obtained outright dismissal of constitutional challenges to Virginia animal cruelty statutes, brought against local Sheriffs and Commonwealth’s Attorneys, on grounds that the plaintiffs lacked Article III standing to assert such claims
  • Defended Sheriff and Sheriff’s deputy in action asserting violations of the plaintiffs’ Due Process rights and Fourth Amendment rights, under Section 1983, and state law claims for defamation, malicious prosecution, and tortious interference with contract and business expectancy, resulting in the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissing action in lieu of responding to motion to dismiss


  • Selected by peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© “Ones to Watch” in the fields of Commercial Litigation and Government Relations Practice (2023-2024), Energy Law (2024)
  • Selected to the Super Lawyers Rising Stars List, Business Litigation category (2023-2024)
  • Virginia Business Magazine’s “Legal Elite,” Young Lawyer (Under 40) category (2021-2023)
  • Virginia Lawyers Weekly Up & Coming Lawyers List (2022)


  • University of Richmond School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 2017

    • Editor-in-Chief, Richmond Law Review
  • American University, B.A., 2012


  • All Virginia Courts including the Supreme Court of Virginia
  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit


  • Virginia State Bar Young Lawyers Conference
  • Virginia Bar Association
    • CLE Committee Chair, Young Lawyers Division
  • Local Government Attorneys of Virginia
  • Lewis F. Powell, Jr., American Inn of Court
  • Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
    • Virginia Finest Honoree (2021)
    • Young Professional Leadership Council, Virginia Chapter
    • Chair, Finest Committee, Young Professional Leadership Council (2023-2024)
  • My Princess Project
    • Board Member (2021)
  • Former Head Coach, Girls on the Run of Greater Richmond (2015-2017)
  • Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
    • Associate Trustee (2019-2021)


Billy Tunner and Rachel Adams to Present at 2024 VARJ Annual Conference

Billy Tunner and Rachel Adams to Present at CASC Spring Institute

Rachel Adams to Present at Richmond SHRM Legal Update

2023 VARJ Annual Conference

Virginia Sheriff’s Institute Spring Conference

Attorneys to present at CASC Executive Program


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