Thomas F. Coates III
804-285-3426 (Real Estate)
Thomas Coates co-founded the firm of Coates & Davenport in 1974. He is an officer, director and stockholder of the firm, and serves on its executive committee. Mr. Coates is noted as a generalist with an unusually broad and diverse background and range of practice experience.
Mr. Coates began his practice as a U.S. Army lawyer from 1969-1971 (as Brigade Legal Officer, Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, and as Assistant Staff Judge Advocate, Camp Samai San, Thailand, 1970-1971). Upon leaving military service, Mr. Coates joined the Richmond law firm of Venable and McCarthy, where his initial areas of concentration were civil rights, criminal defense and personal injury. While there he served as co-counsel for the plaintiff in the precedent setting case, Holt v. City of Richmond, which after a month-long trial in the Eastern District of Virginia, and appeals, finally resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court ordering a permanent change in the voting system for elections of members of Richmond's City Council, from an at-large to a ward voting system, thus assuring proportionate representation in City government of Richmond's black voter population and forever altering the political climate and complexion of Richmond politics and government. From mid-1972 to mid-1974, Mr. Coates served as Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney for the City of Richmond. While there, he successfully prosecuted thousands of criminal cases, including over fifty felony trials.
Mr. Coates resigned his position as a prosecutor in mid-1974 to establish the firm, which has been known as Coates & Davenport since 1987. His primary areas of practice are litigation, transactions, corporate, and divorce and family law. Some highlights of his practice with the firm include the following:
Litigation - Mr. Coates is a seasoned and skillful litigator at all trial and appellate levels, and has successfully represented individual and corporate clients in virtually every form of litigation. A notable success in this area includes an $8,000,000 settlement won on behalf of an oppressed minority stockholder in a closely-held Maryland corporation. He has also successfully represented numerous other parties (both minority and majority principals) in suits involving shareholder and partnership disputes, as well as parties to litigation involving land title disputes, trademark and intellectual property issues, employment claims, tort and personal injury claims (including medical and legal malpractice and products liability), construction litigation and contract disputes.
Transactions - Mr. Coates has an extensive background in real estate and business transactions of all sizes, types and levels of complexity, from residential and commercial real estate purchases and sales to major corporate mergers and acquisitions. His most complex single engagement to date was as co-lead counsel (with partner David Davenport) for the purchaser in a successful $110,000,000 leveraged buy-out of a national van line company, a transaction involving eight tiers of financing (including international banking arrangements and two layers of junk bonds), transfers of personal and real estate assets in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and a follow-on fully registered (and sold) $10,000,000 securities offering to provide equity capital. He also handles numerous less complex commercial transactions, including purchases and sales of businesses and business interests of all types, professional practices, apartment properties, office buildings, hotels, oil, gas and coal properties, etc.
Corporate - Mr. Coates is much sought after as a general business and corporate legal advisor to numerous small to medium sized businesses, professional practices, their principals and management, on matters such as organizational structuring and restructuring, debt and equity (venture) capital formation, strategic planning and marketing, contract negotiation, risk management, executive compensation and severance, restrictive covenants, intellectual property protection, and prevention and/or resolution of shareholder/partnership/limited liability company membership-management disputes. He has served as a board member of a number of corporations, including several advertising and marketing firms, a pharmaceutical clinical research firm, and many others. In the late 1990's he served as chairman of the organizing committee and as an initial director in the successful formation and start-up of a Richmond area community bank. He has also served on the boards of several Richmond-based non-profit educational and charitable organizations.
Divorce and family law - Mr. Coates also maintains an active practice in the field of divorce and family law and related property and equitable distribution matters. He has instructed other Virginia attorneys at continuing legal education programs on various aspects of family law. Due to his experience in business and corporate matters, Mr. Coates' family law practice is primarily directed towards cases wherein significant property interests and business valuation issues are likely to be involved.
Year Joined Firm
Areas of Practice
- Divorce and Family Law
- 50% of Practice Devoted to Litigation
- Virginia, 1969
- U.S. District Court Eastern District of Virginia, 1971
- U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit, 1972
- U.S. Tax Court, 1987
- Washington and Lee University School of Law, Lexington, Virginia
- J.D. - 1969
- Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA
- B.A. - 1966
- Swander v. Swander, 2001 Va. App. LEXIS 419 (Court of Appeals of Virginia 2001)
- Hendrick v. Brown & Root, Inc., 50 F.Supp. 2d 527 (U.S. Dist. Court E.D. Va 1999)
- Parks v. Parks, 1998 Va. App. LEXIS 85 (Court of Appeals of Virginia 1998)
- IAC International v. James, 1996 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21859 (U.S. Dist. Ct. E.D. Va. 1996)
- Gelletly v. Gelletly, 1996 Va. App. LEXIS 39 (Court of Appeals of Virginia 1996)
- Griswold v. Commonwealth, 21 Va. App. 22; 461 S.E.2d 411 (Court of Appeals of Virginia 1995)
- Hughes v. Gentry, 18 Va. App. 318; 443 S.E.2d 448 (Court of Appeals of Virginia 1994)
- Everett v. I-Net, Inc., 900 F2d 251 (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit 1990)
- Wiecking v. Allied Medical Supply Corp., 239 Va. 548; 391 S.E.2d 258 (Supreme Court of Virginia 1990)
- Morris v. United Virginia Bank, 237 Va. 331; 377 S.E.2d 611 (Supreme Court of Virginia 1989)
- Miles v. Richmond, 236 Va. 341; 373 S.E.2d 715 (Supreme Court of Virginia 1988)
Professional Associations and Memberships
- American Bar Association
- American Association for Justice
- Virginia State Bar, Member, Business Law Section and Family Law Section
- Virginia Trial Lawyers Association
- Bar Association of the City of Richmond
- Henrico County Bar Association
- Chesterfield County Bar Association