Thursday, March 21st, 2019

Pender & Coward Story


PENDER & COWARD

Character and commitment to community count

by Candance Moore


From left: Rick Matthews, Jessica Hayes, Kevin Hubbard, Drew Kubovcik, Ben Hubbard<BR>Photo courtesy Knox Studio

From left: Rick Matthews, Jessica Hayes, Kevin Hubbard, Drew Kubovcik, Ben Hubbard
Photo courtesy Knox Studio

The law firm of Pender & Coward has strengthened its commitment to Chesapeake by opening a more dynamic office in the heart of Greenbrier. This full-service law firm, with strong roots in Chesapeake, is excited about its expanded presence, which reflects its continued commitment to the city.

Those who frequent Greenbrier may recognize the location as the former offices of attorneys Kevin Hubbard and Ben Hubbard. Kevin, a Chesapeake resident who has practiced law in the city since 1985, has assumed the role of managing shareholder for Pender & Coward’s Chesapeake office. In January of this year, Kevin and Ben joined Pender & Coward’s team of over 35 attorneys serving clients in the area.

“A number of our attorneys lived in Chesapeake before we established our first Chesapeake office in 2008,” CEO Rick Matthews says. “Kevin and Ben fit in with us perfectly. This community is a vibrant part of Hampton Roads, and we’ve been investing in it for decades. Our new office is very much an organic result of those relationships.”

Everything at Pender & Coward seems to revolve around relationships, from the attorneys’ personal interest in their clients to the collaborative environment they create among their colleagues. As Rick  explains, “Attorneys are simply parents and neighbors who happen to practice law for a living, and they’re better at their craft when they put their community first. It’s an old school approach in the modern business climate, but the firm’s stellar reputation and incredible success are proof that it works.”

Since its inception in Norfolk in 1889, Pender & Coward has played an impressive role in shaping the landscape of Hampton Roads, earning the praise of everyone from city leaders and developers to blue-collar workers. It has navigated million-dollar settlements, defended local governments in high-stakes cases, backed more than a few Davids as they took on Goliaths, and helped families stay together in the midst of crisis.


“Well-rounded people
make better lawyers.
We’ve held tight to that philosophy.
Success brings with it
a certain obligation to give back.
When young attorneys join us,
they know they’ll have some freedom
to pursue community interests.”

—Rick Matthews



 After serving as Assistant City Attorney in Virginia Beach for six years, Rick Matthews entered private practice with his own small firm. Merging with Pender & Coward in 1990, his practice flourished in litigation, finance law, and labor issues—all the while staying true to the firm’s belief in serving the community. He moved with his family to Greenbrier, ultimately serving as a Cub Scout Master and baseball coach during his sons’ school years.

As his career advanced to the level of CEO, and the firm took more high-profile cases, Rick remained active in his community. He served as a leader for the Greenbrier Athletic Association, as President of the Emerald Greens Homeowners’ Association, and made time to judge competitions at Regent University Law School.


Attorney Kevin Hubbard joined the firm of Pender & Coward in January 2108. <BR>Photo courtesy Knox Studio

Attorney Kevin Hubbard joined the firm of Pender & Coward in January 2108.
Photo courtesy Knox Studio


“Well-rounded people make better lawyers. We’ve held tight to that philosophy,” Rick remarks. “Success brings with it a certain obligation to give back. When young attorneys join us, they know they’ll have some freedom to pursue community interests.”

And pursue those interests they have. Bob Samuel, a firm shareholder, has served as Chairman of Chesapeake Housing Authority for 24 years. Chesapeake resident Jim Lang, a US Navy veteran and waterfront property and environmental lawyer, participates in a mentoring program for children. When Chesapeake Rotary Club introduced its wildly popular wine festival, Pender & Coward supported the event and continues to host a chalet each year. When CHKD needed volunteers to answer phone calls during pledge drives, Pender & Coward was there.

Kevin recalls being impressed by the people at Pender & Coward long before he joined. “We get to know each other in this business,” he notes. “I developed a friendship with Bill Lascara at Pender & Coward, and I found that every time I called him, I had a great experience. The whole team was knowledgeable, generous and easy to work with.”

Ben shares a similar sentiment: “When I had to refer my clients to someone with specific experience, Pender & Coward took great care of them. It was always advantageous to have a contact at the firm.”

Initially having one office in Virginia Beach, Pender & Coward received more and more calls that pulled the firm in many directions. As word of mouth spread rapidly, the growing demand for service led the firm to open additional offices in Chesapeake and Suffolk.

When the Honorable John Brown closed his law practice to become a judge in 2008, Pender & Coward acquired his office on Cedar Road. With it came attorney and former prosecutor Drew Kubovcik.

Drew, a Chesapeake native, was an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, cracking down on drunk drivers before going into private practice. He could often be found visiting local high schools (pro bono) to intervene in teenagers’ lives before they had to meet him in a court hearing. He was an effective prosecutor with a sympathetic heart. Pender & Coward wasted no time in recognizing his value.

“When Pender & Coward invited me to stay, I gladly agreed,” Drew remembers with a smile. “Before they had an office in Chesapeake, they already had a solid presence in the Chesapeake court system.”


From left: Attorneys Kevin Hubbard, Drew Kubovcik and Jessica Hayes <BR>chose to join the team at Pender & Coward because of the firm’s exceptional reputation.  <BR>Photo courtesy Knox Studio

From left: Attorneys Kevin Hubbard, Drew Kubovcik and Jessica Hayes
chose to join the team at Pender & Coward because of the firm’s exceptional reputation.
Photo courtesy Knox Studio

Drew still handles traffic and criminal cases, as well as civil litigation, transactional law, and insurance defense. He’s also involved in the Chesapeake Board of Zoning Appeals, Chesapeake Public Schools Educational Foundation, and Old Dominion Aquatic Club.

For the next decade, Pender & Coward quietly contributed to some of Chesapeake’s largest endeavors. In fact, the firm’s eminent domain work made Veteran’s Bridge possible in Grassfield. Yet thanks to its diverse team of professionals with a broad range of practice areas, the firm continued to help businesses, local governments and ordinary citizens.

When the Elizabeth River’s infamous floating junkyard seemed to be immovable, and constant complaints to the powers-that-be went unanswered, an exasperated landowner reached out to Pender & Coward’s water and environment lawyer, Jim Lang. A dramatic battle in federal court brought victory to the  firm’s client at long last, and  cleaned up a portion of the Elizabeth River.


“It’s important to have lawyers
who can win cases,
but we place equal emphasis
on strong moral character.
We look for those traits
in individuals who apply here.
Relationships are truly our focus.”

—Rick Matthews



When the case ended and the floating junkyard was removed, Jim went one step further. He went beyond his client’s expectations and rallied a team of over 50 volunteers—including Pender & Coward attorneys and staff—to clean up and restore the damaged shoreline. Jim partnered with The Elizabeth River Project and others to create the firm’s Restore the Shore—a community service project dedicated to the removal of trash and debris along the shore and the replanting of native wetlands grasses to sustain the shoreline

“It’s important to have lawyers who can win cases, but we place equal emphasis on strong moral character,” Rick affirms. “We look for those traits in individuals who apply here. Relationships are truly our focus.”

In addition to its strong business practice, Pender & Coward has an equally strong track record in areas of family law and divorce, estate planning and elder law. Two of the firm’s attorneys are members of the prestigious American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, including Chesapeake resident Patrick Maurer. Scores of the firm’s attorneys have been recognized by Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers and Virginia’s Legal Elite.

“When we add a new practice area, we excel in that field,” Rick explains. “We’re not just a large firm that does a few things well; we have the right people to do many things well.”

All of the firm’s offices are technologically linked so that attorneys are able to collaborate from any distance and provide convenient, efficient service to clients. A business investor, for example, may begin with a transactional attorney to assist with acquisitions, only to discover an immigration complication or a trademark dilemma. The full-service team at Pender & Coward can simultaneously provide all services in-house.


From left: Kevin Hubbard, Drew Kubovcik and Rick Matthews. <BR>Photo courtesy Knox Studio

From left: Kevin Hubbard, Drew Kubovcik and Rick Matthews.
Photo courtesy Knox Studio


Should a Hampton Roads entrepreneur seek to partner with a business overseas, or perhaps to help a loved one in a foreign country, Pender & Coward connects  clients with local experience in all 50 states and in all corners of the globe through its established affiliation with Meritas, an alliance of independent law firms covering every major city worldwide.

As Kevin and Ben continued to collaborate with Pender & Coward, the idea of joining the firm began to take shape.

Kevin had spent the last 30-plus years building his own reputation for legal excellence in Chesapeake. He routinely handled multimillion-dollar business deals while making time for community involvement. He serves on the Chesapeake Airport Authority, Chesapeake Ducks Unlimited, and TowneBank Advisory Board.

Ben has practiced law in the area for over 40 years, developing a sophisticated construction law practice representing commercial and industrial contracting firms. Ben is a recognized leader in construction law in Southeastern Virginia. A Vietnam veteran, he served as commander and executive board member of American Legion Post 35.

“I owned a farm south of Hickory,” Ben recalls with a warm smile. “Those were the days before there was any kind of traffic bypass, so we were more isolated. I’ve been here through Chesapeake’s growing pains. Much more growth awaits us, and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Kevin and Ben Hubbard officially joined Pender & Coward in January. The renovated Greenbrier office is now fully operational, and an open house event is planned for May.

Pender & Coward now has 39 attorneys and dozens of support staffers who work in 25 practice areas. The firm’s diverse team of experienced professionals is committed to helping business and individuals thrive throughout Southeastern Virginia and Coastal North Carolina.


“I chose to come
to Pender & Coward
because of their
exceptional reputation.
Now that I work here,
I’ve seen that
they really do care about people.”

—Jessica Hayes

  

The firm’s newest addition to the team, Jessica Hayes, is a Western Branch High School alumnus who focuses on estate planning and elder law. Along with other firm colleagues, she is also licensed to practice in North Carolina.

“I chose to come to Pender & Coward because of their exceptional reputation,” Jessica says. “Now that I work here, I’ve seen that they really do care about people.”




Pender and Coward

222 Central Park Avenue
Virginia Beach, VA 23462

490-3000 cell:490-6280

709 Greenbrier Parkway, Suite B
Chesapeake, VA  23320
757-490-2900

117 Market Street
Suffolk, VA  23434
757-502-7345



www.pendercoward.com