Hirschler Invites You To Join the Celebration!
In March 1946, our founders, Major Edward S. Hirschler and Lieutenant Alan Fleischer returned from the Pacific Theater at the end of World War II. To save on expenses, the two lawyers shared office space in Richmond’s only “skyscraper.” From this modest start grew Hirschler – today, the seventh largest law firm in Virginia.
Over the next 10 months, Hirschler will reflect on 75 years of legal excellence and client service. We will celebrate the legacy of our founders and the core values that have shaped our firm – then and now. We will share what makes Hirschler unique: what inspires talented attorneys to join us and valued clients to rely on us as trusted advisors.
We look forward to providing ongoing coverage of our anniversary celebration. Please bookmark this page and revisit often.
In Their Own Words
“When I got back to Richmond [after Army service], I met Alan Fleischer from New York and we decided that two lawyers could starve to death as cheaply as one, and we started the firm of Hirschler Fleischer.” - Ed Hirschler
“We always practiced cleanly, fought hard. We’re fair and we’re honest. We keep bills on a minimum basis, unlike some firms that will appear with one partner and two associates. If we could do it with one of us, we did it that way.” - Alan Fleischer
“Draft as if you were writing a telegram and had to pay for every word.” - Ed Hirschler
"We never got what I call the ‘marshmallow business.’ It didn’t come easy to us that way. But I noticed we got a lot of cases because we did good work.” - Alan Fleischer
Alan G. Fleischer
“Alan’s original role in the firm was as a trial lawyer who brought a great sense of intensity to his case work. His killer instinct pushed toward the jugular vein of the opposition’s case. He never underestimated his opponents’ skills and constantly pressed his associates to think of innovative, creative ways to present their cases. There were no routine matters in Alan’s workload. Every case was critical to the client, and, accordingly, to the firm.” - Partner Jay Weinberg, Former Hirschler Chair Emeritus
“Alan was a shark. He was a consummate businessman and financier with street smarts who regularly exceeded the goals of his clients. His no nonsense practicality coupled with an incredible intellect, served his clients and his firm very well." - Partner Jim Theobald, Hirschler Chair Emeritus
“I asked my friend Marcus Weinstein to recommend a good ‘cat and dog’ lawyer, and he said that Alan Fleischer was the best ‘cat and dog’ lawyer in Richmond. That’s what we called people who didn’t give up.” - Mark Sternheimer, client of Alan Fleischer
“Ed and Alan were both great teachers in different ways. Ed went out of his way to be a mentor, even though we didn’t call it ‘mentoring’ back then. He delighted in trying to make the law understandable to all the young lawyers who came through the firm and to give us little lessons and hints and examples of how to behave and how to write.” - Chuck Long, Former Hirschler Partner
Edward S. Hirschler
“One of the things that really accounts for much of the rapid progress of our law firm was Ed Hirschler’s fascination with technology. We were among the first law firms in the city, for example, to have the forerunner of the Xerox machine. It was a called a Thermofax machine and it took about 30-45 seconds to get each page through the machine.” - Partner Jay Weinberg, Former Hirschler Chair Emeritus
“Long after [Ed] had retired from active practice – until fifteen days before his death – he continued to come into the office almost daily, working to improve his firm develop new clients, and train younger lawyers.” - Excerpt from Hirschler Fleischer: The History of a Law Firm
“Ed was a natural teacher, a mentor before the world became popularized. His standards were high. ‘He had no tolerance for error, grammatical or substantive and he brooked no indecision or intellectual laziness.’” - Jay Weinberg, Former Hirschler Chair Emeritus
“As an associate, you learned very quickly that Ed Hirschler never went to sleep before midnight and Alan Fleischer never slept past sunrise. As long as one of them was awake, you were fair game. Next to a superior mind and passion for the law, your ability to get by with four hours’ sleep a night was most helpful.” - Jay Weinberg, Former Hirschler Chair Emeritus
“I think the greatest single mindset that permitted the firm to grow and prosper was one in which the senior partners were receptive to young leadership. They permitted the young leaders in the firm to step forward and assert themselves, sometimes to the detriment of older leadership but always to the betterment of the institution.” - Chuck Long, Former Hirschler Partner
“What attracted me to [Hirschler] is that it was not a traditional main street firm where who you were and who your family was mattered. I saw this incredibly varied group of people with different backgrounds and different interest, and I thought I would be accepted for who I was.” - Mike Terry, Hirschler Partner
“I think that we were one of the first firm in the city to have budgets and a business plan, as a opposed to just thinking, well, what’s going to come in the door will come in the door.” - Jay Weinberg, Former Hirschler Chair Emeritus
Living Our Values
A strong entrepreneurial spirit has guided the firm since its inception. In the 1940s, founders Ed Hirschler and Alan Fleischer hustled for business, often creating businesses of their own – an insurance company, a bank – to generate more legal work. “Creative capitalism” becomes a defining characteristic of the firm. That same entrepreneurial spirit was alive and well in the 1990s, when firm lawyers begin organizing hedge and private equity funds and matching venture capitalists with companies needing finance – the beginning of the firm’s national investment management practice. In 2011, Hirschler partner Seth Ginther helped found the U.S. Industrial Wood Pellet Association (USIPA), a world-class trade association in the sustainable renewable fuels sector. As executive director of USIPA, Seth has split time between the US and Europe for more than a decade – establishing long standing relationships with policy makers, regulators, entrepreneurs, and senior business executives in the European sustainability, ESG and decarbonization sectors.
Since its founding, Hirschler employees have been encouraged to bring fresh ideas and innovative ways of thinking to the firm and its clients.
Celebrating Community Stewardship
Hirschler believes in giving back to the communities in which we live and work. In 1993, the firm opened a successful branch office in Fredericksburg and became the town's largest law firm. Within a few years, firm lawyers seize a unique opportunity to relocate the office to a rehabilitated factory building on Jackson. Roughly a decade later, Hirschler’s Richmond office would make a a move from the Richmond Fed building to a more permanent location in the rehabbed Edgeworth Building on Tobacco Road.
Reimagining uses for commercial real estate is part of the firm’s DNA, but these office moves reflect more than creativity and vision: they are investments in our communities. All Hirschler employees are encouraged to balance a strong commitment to the firm and its clients with a strong commitment to community and family.
Over its 75-year history, Hirschler has weathered the tide of economic, political and social change. Key to this success has been the firm’s thoughtful approach to growth and financial management. During its early years, Hirschler grew its business and real estate practices strategically. By 1970, the firm had grown to 11 lawyers and became multispecialty with the addition of a litigation practice. Drawing on the success of the Fredericksburg office established in 1993, Hirschler grew again in 2016 through a combination with Leach Travell. The new office in Tysons immediately expanded the firm’ bench in key practice areas: bankruptcy, real estate and complex litigation.
Hirschler lawyers and staff contribute to the firm’s stability and resilience: growing their base of knowledge, maintaining strong market awareness and pursuing high quality, challenging work that inspires them to reach their professional potential.
Hirschler has long recognized that its clients are best served by a diverse group of lawyers. In 1953, the firm hired its first female lawyer, Elizabeth Taliaferro. Commenting on her experience, Elizabeth offered, “Nobody cared whether I was a woman or not. They just wanted me to do a good job." In the early 2000s, the firm continued its effort to create a diverse and inclusive culture launching the Women’s Initiatives Network to promote the development and success of women professionals. In 2018, Hirschler elected its first female president, construction lawyer Courtney Paulk, a leader in a male-dominated profession and industry.
Supported by the efforts of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Hirschler employees are encouraged work collaboratively and cooperatively with all members of the firm.
This Day in 1946
February 16, 1946: The first, commercially designed helicopter is tested in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
March 5, 1946: Winston Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech in Fulton, Missouri, popularizes the term and draws attention to the division of Europe. Many people consider Churchill's "iron curtain speech" the beginning of the Cold War.
“It is my duty however, for I am sure you would wish me to state the facts as I see them to you, to place before you certain facts about the present position in Europe. From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow.”
March 9, 1946: Baseball legend Ted Williams is offered $500,000 to play in Mexican Baseball League, but he refuses.
March 22, 1946: The first U.S. rocket leaves the Earth's atmosphere (50 miles up).
April 7, 1946: 10th US Masters Tournament, Augusta National GC: American Herman Keiser wins his only major title, 1 stroke ahead of tour money-leader Ben Hogan; first Masters in 4 years because of World War II.
April 12, 1946: LPGA Titleholders Championship Women’s Golf, Augusta CC: Louis Suggs wins her first major title by 2 strokes from Eileen Stulb.
April 15, 1946: The first television network was created, as the DuMont Television Network linked New York and Washington by coaxial cable. A two-hour program featuring speeches, "along with a short play, a quiz show, and a dance routine" were broadcast simultaneously on both stations.
April 16, 1946: The United States made its first successful launch of a V-2 rocket, captured from Germany and tested at the White Sands Proving Ground. In all, 63 were fired for various purposes as part of American development of its own missile program.
April 18, 1946: The United Nations World Court opens.
April 24, 1946: In the United States, the Blue Angels stunt flying team was formed by the U.S. Navy.
May 9, 1946: 1st hour-long entertainment TV show, "NBC's Hour Glass" premieres.
May 16, 1946: “Annie Get Your Gun” musical by Irving Berlin, Dorothy and Herbert Fields opens at Imperial Theater NYC, starring Ethel Merman and featuring "There's no Business Like Show Business."
May 18, 1946: Reggie Jackson, American Baseball Hall of Fame right fielder (14-time All Star)), born in Wyncote, Pennsylvania.
May 28, 1946: 1st night game at Yankee stadium (Senators 2, Yanks 1).
June 7, 1946: US Supreme Court bans discrimination in interstate travel.
June 13, 1946: 1st transcontinental round-trip flight in 1-day, California-Maryland.
June 14, 1946: Donald Trump, 45th US President, real estate tycoon (Trump Towers) and TV personality (The Apprentice), born in NYC, New York.
Each month, we will celebrate the life and legacy of Hirschler leaders past and present.
Remembering Robert A. (Bob) Cox, Jr. (1923–2020)
Robert A. Cox Jr., joined Hirschler in 1965, becoming the third partner in the small firm that also had three associates. During the 1970s, which were years of dramatic growth for the firm, he was the first managing partner. In 1975 his name was added to the firm when it became Hirschler, Fleischer, Weinberg, Cox & Allen. Mr. Cox served as managing partner a second time in the 1980s.
Among his clients were some of Richmond’s most influential real estate developers. He handled legal work for the area’s largest corporate center, Innsbrook. Bob was fond of saying that the last time he personally performed a title examination was for the land which ultimately became Innsbrook. He recognized that the practice of law is a service, that there is no substitute for timeliness, and that a lawyer should be readily accessible to his clients. These standards were always evident in his practice and became imbedded in the culture of the firm. Bob continued to handle matters for long-time clients well into his 90s.
Jim Weinberg offered a moving tribute to Bob in the Summer 2020 issue of Senior Lawyer News published by the Virginia State Bar. Jim highlights Bob’s long and distinguished career at Hirschler and his many contributions as leader, mentor, teacher and colleague. The article is warm remembrance of the firm’s former leader, a man who was passionate about the his family, his clients and the practice of law. Click here to read Jim’s tribute.
Honoring Jay M. Weinberg
Adapted from Hirschler Fleischer: The History of a Law Firm, Mary Miley Theobald, 2007
Born in Norfolk in 1932, Jay M. Weinberg grew up in Portsmouth and received his Bachelor of Arts in English (1954) and legal education at the University of Virginia. The Army interrupted his first year of law school with a call to active duty, and he served two years in the counterintelligence corps before being honorably discharged as a captain. When he finished law school in 1959, he joined the three partners at Hirschler, Fleischer and Sadler. He became a partner in 1962, and in 1975 the firm’s name was changed to Hirschler Fleischer Weinberg Cox and Allen.
Jay was hired primarily for his tax law expertise, but he was soon drawn into the real estate world when neither Ed Hirschler nor Alan Fleischer was available to handle a client’s zoning matter. Over the years, he handled virtually all forms of sophisticated real estate matters, including the acquisition, rezoning, financing, syndication, development, adaptive reuse, and sale of major residential communities, apartment complexes, shopping centers, industrial parks, and office buildings. “Jay understood the needs of all parties to a dispute,” says Jim Theobald, “and he would cobble together a consensus where everyone felt they had achieved their goals. He did this without raising his voice, pounding the table, or threatening anybody.”
Vitally interested in education, Jay served nine years as a member of the board of Virginia Commonwealth University and two as its rector, and as vice-chairman of the board of the Medical College of Virginia Hospitals. As a member of both boards, he was intimately involved in the strategic planning for the University and the VCU Health System, and the establishment of the Virginia Biotech Research Park and VCU’s School of Engineering. Unselfish with his time, money, and expertise, he served on many nonprofit boards and was president of the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond and the Jewish Community Center.
Jay officially retired in 2009 and currently resides in Florida with his wife Marilyn.
Honoring James W. Theobald, Chair Emeritus
The most important skill Hirschler Chair Emeritus Jim Theobald uses as a real estate and land use lawyer is one he didn’t learn in law school. In real estate transactions where developers, zoning and government authorities, neighborhood groups, historic preservation advocates and other stakeholders have competing interests, Jim has built a reputation for helping everyone find common ground. Whether it’s finding locations for national big-box retailers or advising Richmond area leaders on land use policies, Jim is usually the man-in-the-middle bringing all sides together.
Jim received an early lesson in balancing the interests of historic preservation and developers as a third-year associate at Hirschler in the early 1980s when he supported a client’s rescue of Richmond’s Jefferson Hotel, the century-old landmark that was a virtual palace when it opened in 1895 and then fell into decline after World War II. The complex deal was an early lesson in finding consensus; he recalls that even the orientation of Thomas Jefferson’s statute in the lobby had to be negotiated.
Another example of finding consensus was Richmond’s Innsbrook development, a nationally recognized mixed-use project that has unfolded in stages for years. One of Jim’s clients owned a third of the park and wanted to develop a mixed-use urban development to include residential and retail uses within what was then still mostly an office park. Some single-family homes and businesses in the area initially opposed the idea. Jim proceeded in deliberate fashion, gradually clarifying the plans, listening to neighbors’ concerns and working with the county’s land use staff, and today Innsbrook is considered a model for bringing urban live-work-play concepts to a suburban office development.
Jim earned his undergraduate degree from The College of William & Mary and his law degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. He spent three years proving himself – and learning about real estate – at a title company before joining Hirschler in 1980. Approximately 12 years later, the firm asked him to be president. He served in that role, essentially the firm’s chief operating officer, for 12 years before becoming chairman in 2004 and chair emeritus in 2018.
Locally, Jim is a longtime member of the Richmond Bar Association, the Home Builders Association of Richmond and the Richmond Real Estate Group. He is also a member of the Virginia State Bar, American Bar Association and the prestigious American College of Real Estate Lawyers. In a career spanning three decades, Jim has been actively involved in and served on the boards of the Richmond of Chamber of Commerce and Venture Richmond.
As one of the premier development lawyers in the nation, Jim has been honored many times by his peers and clients. Notably, he has been top-ranked by Chambers USA for commercial real estate in Virginia since the guide’s inception in 2004. Once dubbed “the dean of land use,” by the Chambers USA editorial team, Jim’s prominence helped the firm’s real estate practice maintain its Band One ranking for 15 consecutive years.
Outside the office, Jim has many interests and hobbies. A longtime supporter of injured veterans and a certified yoga instructor, he taught yoga classes at the local Veterans Administration hospital for many years. From humble beginnings as a bass player with a junior high garage band, he has continued to play in a classic rock band for more than 30 years helping individuals and organizations raise funds for charity. In 2015, Jim and his wife Mary joined four other couples to create Valley Road Vineyards, an award-winning winery near the mountains of western Virginia.
Honoring Michael H. Terry, Executive Vice President Emeritus
In a distinguished career spanning more than 35 years, partner Mike Terry is renowned for pioneering work in commercial real estate transactions, leading complex multimillion-dollar work-outs involving the consolidation and restructuring of multiple operations and companies in the United States and Canada, representing owners, principal and lending institutions.
The helmsman of high-profile transactions and real estate developments in Richmond and throughout Virginia and the Southeast, Mike led the construction loan work out of Riverfront Plaza; served as owner’s counsel in connection with the structure of the Gateway Plaza project in downtown Richmond; as general real estate and finance counsel for ARCAP, LC, a large manufactured home community (MHC) investor operator with offices in Tidewater; for SunTrust Bank, representing the lead agent in construction loan financing for the MeadWestvaco Building in downtown Richmond; and for Fairfax County government, developing and leasing office buildings at Fairfax Government Center.
Among peers around Richmond, Mike is exceptionally well known and regarded as a “lawyer’s lawyer”. A legal titan whose skill and experience brings a sterling touch to the transactions and relationships he manages. Among accolades and high-profile clients, he remains profoundly low-key, even humble.
Joining the firm in 1982, Mike is a past chairman of the real estate section. He was appointed to the Hirschler board of directors in 1995, and served as executive vice president from 2002 to 2018, during which time he played a key role in the firm’s financial and strategic planning.
A deep and abiding drive to purposefully serve clients is Mike’s ultimate motivator. “You’ve heard the adage about taking ownership of your work,” he says. “For me, it goes far beyond. I feel deeply and personally responsible for my clients’ success. They hire me to make sure that I effectuate their needs. I’m not sure if that’s a sense of duty or a sense of pride, but you have to be driven by a desire to make clients successful in achieving their goals. It’s what motivates me.”
Mike’s contributions to the legal profession are many. He is the author of four chapters in Contract Law in Virginia, published by the Virginia Law Foundation and numerous published articles pertaining to real estate. Until recently, he lectured on real estate matters for the Virginia Bar Association. Other contributions – advancing the profession through principles of excellence – are measured by the single gold standard of his enduring success in client relationships that span decades.
Mike’s talents and interests might have led to an entirely different end one in stark contrast to the elegant practice of law. The love of equestrian sport, both Western and English, proved a life-long pursuit and a natural segue for his pro-bono work with the Virginia Reining Horse Association. He and his wife spent many years breeding and training quarter horses, and enjoying family time with their children who grew up riding and showing horses.
Hirschler Celebrates Its First Annual Spirit Day
On October 24, 2018, Hirschler hosted an internal celebration to mark the rollout of its new brand identity and redesigned website. Now celebrated annually each October, Hirschler Spirit Day is filled with activities that allow lawyers and staff to show their firm pride.
Hirschler Named Among Top Places To Work in Richmond by Richmond Times-Dispatch
Thanks to the generous feedback of its employees, Hirschler was recognized as a "2020 Top Workplace" in the Richmond region by the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The firm was recognized in the publication’s small business category.
Marie Ehrlich Celebrates 40 Years at Hirschler
As she likes to remember it, Hirschler professional assistant Marie Ehrlich was 10 years old when she began her career at Hirschler; in February 2021, she celebrated an astounding 40 years of service to the firm. On her first day - February 16, 1981 - an eager Marie walked into Hirschler’s offices at the Massey Building and began her long and storied career. Her role may have changed a bit over the years but her enthusiasm and dedication for her position remain the same.
Hirschler is fortunate to have several longtime employees: lawyers and staff who have chosen to make the firm their professional home for decades. We are grateful to be a firm that inspires their loyalty!
Hirschler's Annual Summer Event
Family Fun at Hirschler
The firm that plays together, stays together! Each June, Hirschler hosts employees and their families for a summer kick-off event. Whether gathering for a baseball game, games of shuffleboard or yard games, the event allows employees and their families to get to know each other in a fun, casual setting. After taking a year off during the pandemic, we’re hoping for the “all clear” on a summer 2021 event!
Staff Appreciation Week
Each April, Hirschler pauses to recognize the hard work and dedication of its extraordinary staff with a full week of festivities. Staff Appreciation (SAW) has become an important tradition at Hirschler – even more so this year, as our staff tackled the twists and turns of a global pandemic. Exceptional staff support is a hallmark of the Hirschler experience.