(703) 369-4738

Author archives: Yolanda Burnett


Tune In!

Bradley Marshall is a guest speaker on Crime Time: With Virginia Defense Attorney podcast. In this Episode 81: Teaching the Law to Law Enforcement, he provides insight on how law enforcement views criminal justice and their training. https://www.buzzsprout.com/1703185/11348714

This blog post is not intended to provide legal advice or substitute for the advice of legal counsel with respect to specific facts and situations. See disclaimer


Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. is Pleased to Announce!!

Vanderpool Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. (VF&N) is pleased to announce that Mr. Stephen Lofaso has joined VF&N as a senior associate. Stephen Lofaso is an accomplished litigator with an extensive background in business law, accounting, and business litigation.

Mr. Lofaso has a consistent record of getting positive results for his clients and as such, has effectively advocated and procured judgments or reached favorable settlements for his clients in cases ranging from breach of fiduciary duty, conversion (civil theft), breach of contract, civil conspiracy to injure business, tortious interference with contracts, detinue, unlawful detainer, and constructive eviction. Mr. Lofaso will continue his practice as part of the VF&N litigation practice group.

This blog post is not intended to provide legal advice or substitute for the advice of legal counsel with respect to specific facts and situations. See disclaimer


2022 Immigration Updates: A comprehensive CLE on Basic Knowledge on Immigration Law

Written by: Lisa Shea, Esq.

VFN Attorneys Lisa Shea, Meghan Philips, and Morsal Hashimee will be presenting a CLE on 2022 Immigration Updates:  The Latest on Crimimm (immigration consequences of crimes), Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, Other Humanitarian Relief, and What’s in the News

This comprehensive CLE will presume basic knowledge of immigration and will be updating participants on changes in immigration law that affect other areas of the law.  The presentation will also explain what has been happening in immigration news so that participants have conversation starters at dinner!  This four-hour CLE will include ethics credits and lunch.  There will be time for questions during and after the presentation.  We look forward to seeing you there! The event will take place on October 6, 2022, at the City Tavern from 12:00 PM to 4:30 PM.  Lunch will be included.  Please contact Peyton Gwinn at:  deputydirector@pwcba.org  to register.  CLE credit will be available.

This blog post is not intended to provide legal advice or substitute for the advice of legal counsel with respect to specific facts and situations. See disclaimer


Prince William County’s Pathway to the 2040 Comprehensive Plan: One Step Closer

Written by: Olaun Simmons, Esq.

The Prince William County Board of Supervisors have been working diligently to finalize the 2040 Comprehensive Plan. When it is adopted by the Board of County Supervisors, the 2040 Comprehensive Plan will help guide future land use and development for properties in Prince William County.  

The most recent draft of the Land Use Chapter of the 2040 Comprehensive Plan was issued in August 2022. The goal of the Land Use Chapter is to provide an official statement of the County’s vision for land use and to provide the aspirational goals for the County’s future development and growth.

Additionally, the “Pathway to 2040 Proposed Long-Range Use Interactive Map” provides information regarding the proposed long-range use designations for properties within the County including primary and secondary uses, compatible zoning districts, and density designations.

If you have questions related to the draft 2040 Comprehensive Plan and the ways in which it may affect your rezoning application, special use permit application, or the desired use of your property, please contact me at (703) 369-4738 or osimmons@vfnlaw.com.

This blog post is not intended to provide legal advice or substitute for the advice of legal counsel with respect to specific facts and situations. See disclaimer


Employment Law & HR Summit 2022 Featured

ELS Annual SummitFriday, October 7th, 2022: 8:00 am-5:00 pm


Historic District, 8310 Chatsworth Dr, Manassas, VA 20109


Recertification Credits: Submitted for 3 General and 2.75 Business HRCI credits & 5.75 SHRM Professional Development credits


Blackjack:  21 Employment Law Hot Topics, Kristina Spitler, Esq.

Paving the Path to Pay Equity, David Turetsky

Mental Health:  Upping the Ante for ADA Compliance, Kristina Spitler, Esq. & Monica Munin, Esq.

Leading Through Uncertainty, Bob Schneider

Beyond Ping Pongs, Perks and Programs:  What Matter’s Most Now? Rachel Druckenmiller


Speakers & Bios

Kristina Keech Spitler, Esq. represents and advises clients on business and employment issues and litigation including matters relating to hiring and firing, breach of agreements, non-competes and restrictive covenant agreements, discrimination, disabilities, and accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Fair Labor Standards Act (wage and hour law), Family Medical Leave Act, defamation, and other legal concerns for employers. In addition, her practice includes drafting and updating handbooks and policy manuals and drafting severance packages.

Ms. Spitler is a highly rated speaker and trainer on employment law issues. In 2010 and 2012, Ms. Spitler was named as one of Virginia’s “Legal Elite” in labor/employment law by Virginia Business magazine. In 2009, Ms. Spitler was recognized as one of Virginia’s Most Influential Women by Virginia Lawyers Media and received The Loy E. Harris Award from the Mayor of the City of Manassas in 2008.

Ms. Spitler graduated from the University of Virginia and then from Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary. She then served as a judicial law clerk for the Circuit Court Judges of the Thirty-First Judicial Circuit. She served as Chairman of the Board of the Prince William Chamber of Commerce in 2003-2004. Ms. Spitler was President of the Prince William Chapter of the Virginia Women Attorneys Association in 2009-2010 and served on the Virginia Women Attorneys Association Board of Directors. She co-chaired the task force creating Leadership Prince William Inc., was a member of the 2008 class, and served as Chairman of the Board of Regents. She helped create and served as President of Prince William SHRM Inc. and served on the Virginia SHRM State Council. She is currently serving as the Immediate-Past President of the Center For the Arts

Monica Munin, Esq. is an Employment Law & Litigation Associate at Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian. She advises clients on business, employment, and litigation issues, including those related to personnel management, hiring, firing, statutory and regulatory compliance, breach of contracts and other agreements, employment agreements, restrictive covenant agreements, discrimination, disability accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, Family Medical Leave Act, defamation, investigations, employee handbooks, severance packages, independent contracting relationships, and the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.  Miss Munin also assists employers in drafting integral documents such as employee handbooks, job descriptions, severance packages, restrictive covenants, and policy manuals. Miss Munin also has substantial experience defending state educational agencies and local educational agencies and advising on education law compliance and related issues. Miss Munin is a highly rated speaker on Employment and Education law and serves on the Board of Directors for the Prince William Chapter of the Virginia Women’s Attorney Association and the Prince William Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management. Miss Munin graduated from George Washington University and then from the George Mason School of Law. She strives to provide her clients with the tools and information they need to address current concerns and evade future vulnerabilities before they become problems. For questions related to employment or education law topics, please email Miss Munin at mmunin@vfnlaw.com.

David Turetsky I have over 30 years of experience in Analytics, HCM, HR, Talent Management, Compensation, HRIS, and Human Resources Analytics as an analyst, manager, executive, consultant, and entrepreneur. My passion is manager empowerment and employee engagement through total rewards management and analytics. It has been the topic that I often present to large audiences at national HR conferences such as WorldatWork, HR Tech, SHRM, PIHRA, and APA. I have been published in WorldatWork Journal, HR Executive magazine, and in other publications. An article I wrote in WorkSpan magazine on compensation communication across generations has won multiple awards. The Fifth version of the Compensation Handbook by Lance Berger has a chapter I co-authored on Global Compensation. The Sixth (current edition) has a chapter I authored on HCM Analytics.

Robert (Bob) A. Schneider, PhD Experienced Executive Director with a demonstrated history of working in the transportation/trucking/railroad industry. Strong business development professional skilled in Policy Analysis, Transportation Planning, Editing, Public Speaking, and Grant Writing.

Are your employees, leaders, or association members struggling with engagement, energy, resilience, and connection, especially in a virtual world? 🙋‍♀️ Are you struggling to keep them motivated?

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I’ve facilitated over 250 dynamic virtual learning experiences since March 2020. Learn more about how I’ve helped companies here: https://unmutedlife.com/for-organizations-employees.

I’m a catalyst and a trailblazer on a mission to…

🔥 Activate and awaken HOPE, resilience, and connection in leaders and teams
🦋 Guide leaders and teams to navigate change and uncertainty with greater confidence
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💪 Facilitate experiences that invite people to rise up with resilience and connect at a human level

I create dynamic and transformational learning experiences – keynotes and workshops – that are energizing, interactive, actionable, and FUN! (And I might even sing 😉)

Attendees leave my sessions feeling hopeful, connected to each other, energized, empowered, refreshed, recharged and ready to face the day.

⭐️ Here’s what clients are saying:

“Rachel’s presentation – moreover, her delivery – was top notch. It’s hard to get folks to engage in a virtual setting, but she seems to have it down to a science.” N.L., Legal Association

“Rachel was outstanding! Her energy and enthusiasm were contagious and the content was the perfect mix of personal and professional development. She was the perfect speaker for our event and our team has requested she be a repeat speaker at future events.” K.J., CPA Firm

“We strategically placed Rachel in the afternoon to reinvigorate the team. Quite a few of our team left this feedback in the survey: ‘More from Rachel! Anything to help with stress/ balance. We will definitely be bringing Rachel back! ” J.V., Global Bank

🔥 Keynotes & Workshop Topics that Light Me UP! 🔥

🗣 Unmute Yourself: Elevating Your Courage, Confidence, and Career
🧠 Mindset Reset: Take Back Control of Your Mind
💪 I’m Still Standing: Rising Up with Resilience When Life Knocks You Down
🤝 The Soul Behind the Role: Igniting Intentional Leadership
🏅 Lead with Strengths: Bringing Out the Best in Yourself & Others
🖥 From Zoomed Out to Dialed In Elevating Employee Engagement in a Virtual World

For speaking or media inquiries:
☎️ : 443-722-6878
👩‍💻 : www.UnmutedLife.com
📧 : rachel@unmutedlife.com

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SHRM or Consortium Member

Fee as of 9/1/2022 US $129.00

Fee as of 9/10/2022 US $169.00

Non Member

Fee as of 9/1/2022 US $169.00

Fee as of 9/10/2022 US $199.00

Credit Status: Submitted for 5 HRCI & SHRM Professional Development Re-certification Credits



The Mixed Use District  – A Flexible Approach to Use and Density

Written by: Olaun Simmons, Esq.

In 2021, Prince William County adopted a new zoning district entitled “Mixed Use District (MXD).” The new Mixed Use District seeks to provide a thoughtful approach to development because it allows for flexible land development, promotes
transit-oriented development, and encourages a mix of residential and commercial uses in a single zoning designation. Under the MXD umbrella, there are three tailored mixed-use zoning designations that provide specific details and guidance regarding allowable uses and density.

Mixed Use District-Neighborhood (T-2)

The Mixed Use District-Neighborhood (MXD-N) is intended for smaller-scale mixed-use developments that are surrounded by lower-density residential areas, as well as in neighborhood corridors, or at the edges of town centers. The MXD-N allows for by-right uses such as single-family detached homes, craft breweries, and coffee shops; secondary uses such as child-care facilities and farmer’s markets, and special uses such as kennels and indoor shooting ranges. In terms of density, the MXD-N has a Transect 2 designation which allows for a residential density of 0 – 4 du/acre and non-residential density of 0 – 0.23 FAR.

Mixed Use District-Community Zoning District (T-3 and T-4)

The Mixed Use District-Community Zoning District (MXD-C) is intended to encourage a diversification of uses, including residential, commercial, and civic uses. The MXD-C is intended for a variety of sites and in smaller mixed-use areas that are well served by transit. The MXD-C allows for by-right uses such as distilleries, hotels, and religious institutions; secondary uses such as attached single-family dwellings and farmer’s markets; and special uses such as bed and breakfasts, retail stores, and restaurants. In terms of density, the MXD-C allow for more density than the MXD-N. The MXD-C has two transect designations: T-3 and T-4. Transect 3 allows for a residential density of 4 – 12 du/acre and non-residential density of up to 0.57 FAR, and Transect 4 allows for a residential density of 8 – 24 du/acre and non-residential density of up to 0.1.38 FAR.

Mixed Use District – Urban Zoning District (T-5 and T-6)

Finally, the Mixed Use District – Urban Zoning District (MXD-U) is intended to encourage the development or redevelopment of mixed-use centers that combine new or existing retail development with a variety of housing, offices, studios, live-work space, civic buildings, and other complementary uses arranged in a cohesive, compact, and walkable environment. The MXD-U zone must be located along existing or planned high-capacity multi-modal transportation corridors. The MXD-U allows for by-right uses such as assisted living facilities, multi-family dwellings, and hotels; special uses such as attached single-family dwellings on lots in excess of one acre; and special uses such as restaurants and self-storage centers.  In terms of the allowable density, the MXD-U allows for the most density. The MXD-U has two transect designations: T-5 and T-6. Transect 5 allows for a residential density of 20 – 50 du/acre and non-residential density of up to 2.30 FAR, and Transect 6 allows for a residential density of 50 -100 du/acre and non-residential density of up to 3.0 FAR.

The new MXD zoning designation is designed to provide developers with the flexibility needed to obtain the desired mix of commercial and residential uses and density on the site. The flexibility provided by the MXD will also be useful for developers who are seeking to revitalize aging properties within Prince William County.

This blog post is not intended to provide legal advice or substitute for the advice of legal counsel with respect to specific facts and situations. See disclaimer


Department of Labor Announces Enhanced Enforcement of Trench-Related Safety Standards

Written by: Monica Munin, Esq.

The United States Department of Labor announced enhanced enforcement initiatives intended to address a sharp rise in trench-related fatalities on July 16, 2022. In the announcement, available here: Alarming rise in trench-related fatalities spurs US Department of Labor to announce enhanced nationwide enforcement, additional oversight | Occupational Safety and Health Administration (osha.gov), the United States Occupational Safety & Health Administration (“OSHA”) indicated that the agency is considering referring cases for criminal prosecution as part of a “crackdown” on trenching and evacuation violations. The agency noted that “enforcement staff will consider every available tool at the agency’s disposal.”

Twenty-two (22) individuals employed in trenching and excavation work met their demise during the first six months of 2022, more than the 15 deaths recorded for all of 2022. Jessica E. Martinez, co-executive director for the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health commented on the enhanced enforcement initiative, stating “there is no reason—ever—for a worker to die unprotected in a trench collapse…workers have been building trenches for literally thousands of years. We know how to do it safely: Slope the trench at a safe angle, shore it up, or shield workers with appropriate safety equipment.” Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health, Doug Parker, added “The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is calling on employers engaged in trenching and excavation activities to act immediately to ensure that required protections are fully in place every single time their employees step down into or work near a trench…In a matter of seconds, workers can be crushed and buried under thousands of pounds of soil and rocks in an unsafe trench. The alarming increase in the number of workers needlessly dying and suffering serious injuries in trenching accidents must be stopped.”

Generally, OSHA requires employers to provide workers with a safe workplace. As applied to trenching and excavation, OSHA requires the following specific protections:

  • Daily inspection of the trench by competent persons
  • Cave-in protection measures
  • A safe manner to enter and exit the trench
  • The removal of equipment and material from the edge of the trench
  • Verification each day that the trench is free of standing water and atmospheric hazards
  • A protective system for trenches five feet or deeper
  • A protective system designed by a registered professional engineer for trenches 20 feet or deeper

OSHA has also developed the following “slogan” for trench safety:

  • SLOPE or bench trench walls by cutting back the trench wall at an angle inclined away from excavation.
  • SHORE trench walls by installing aluminum hydraulic or other types of supports to prevent soil movement.
  • SHIELD trench walls by using trench boxes or other types of supports to prevent soil cave-ins.

OSHA takes the position that all trench fatalities are preventable, and the imposition of criminal penalties adds to the number of reasons employers should seek out advice from an attorney familiar with OSHA requirements to avoid such citations. If you have a question regarding compliance with OSHA Safety Standards as it pertains to trenches and excavation, or anything else, please email Monica Munin, Esq. at mmunin@vfnlaw.com for more information.

This blog post is not intended to provide legal advice or substitute for the advice of legal counsel with respect to specific facts and situations. See disclaimer


National Night Out

VF&N Shareholder Bradley Marshall was excited to join our client, the Town of Haymarket, for their annual National Night Out celebration!  Bradley is the Town’s prosecutor for misdemeanor and traffic offenses.  National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. Furthermore, it provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.  Pictured: Bradley Marshall and Haymarket Police Chief Allen Siebert.

This blog post is not intended to provide legal advice or substitute for the advice of legal counsel with respect to specific facts and situations. See disclaimer


The Importance of A Guaranty.

Written by: Guy Jeffress

The decision of the Supreme Court of Virginia in Grayson v. Westwood Buildings L.P., 300 Va. 25, 859 S.E.2d 651 (2021) highlights the need to confirm a tenant’s financial ability to pay the rent during the term of a lease and obtain personal guaranties regarding the same.

The facts of the cited case are complex but can be briefly summarized as follows: Landlord obtained judgments for unpaid rent against tenants. Landlord, upon finding that the tenants and their principals had engaged in a number of transactions that left the tenant entities all but insolvent, filed suit against both tenants and other parties claiming, in part, that the defendants engaged in a series of fraudulent conveyances and sham transactions designed to avoid the judgments. The trial court found in favor of landlord making each of the remaining defendants jointly and severally liable for unpaid rent, awarding the landlord attorney fees, and imposing sanctions. On appeal, however, the Supreme Court of Virginia reversed the trial court, vacated the judgments, and entered the opinion as final judgment. The court noted that the “badges of fraud” relied upon by the trial court to support its findings “did not apply here.” The opinion also noted that the landlord failed to perfect landlord’s security interest in tenant’s inventory and other assets (as landlord was permitted under the terms and conditions of the lease) and did not obtain a signed personal guaranty from principals of the tenants.

The purpose of this article is not to undertake a deep dive in the law of fraudulent conveyances but to illustrate some basic strategies a landlord could use to avoid an outcome similar to that in the above-referenced case.

First, as regards landlord lien rights we have noticed that many landlords are quick to negotiate their lien rights away. The lien right is a powerful remedy to landlord. If a tenant objects because the rights of a lender or lessor of equipment are primary, offer to subordinate landlord’s lien rights to that of the primary lien holder until such time as the primary lien is satisfied or extinguished. It is better to be in a subordinated position than to waive the lien rights altogether.

Second, obtain personal guaranties from tenant principals and their spouses. Under Virginia law guaranty agreements must be independent agreements that are supported by separate consideration. The terms and conditions of a guaranty should also include certain waivers including a waiver of the application of certain Virginia statutes. The absence of said waivers could delay or jeopardize a landlord’s recourse against the named guarantor.

Third, when vetting a tenant, a landlord should undertake sufficient due diligence to accurately determine the tenant’s management structure and its credit worthiness. Additionally, the landlord should try to keep tabs on a tenant’s financial condition throughout the term of the lease by including language in the lease that allows the landlord to request, from time to time, financial disclosures from a tenant which are (preferably) audited or certified as true and correct by a principal of the tenant.

Fourth, we advise letting one of our lease attorneys review letters of intent prior to sending them to prospective tenants. Our financing and lease attorneys frequently notice issues in letters of intent that put the landlord on its hind legs before the first draft of the lease is even circulated.

Fifth, do not negotiate against yourself and offer concessions the tenant does not ask for, and do not give into the frequent lament of tenant brokers, “it’s not market” without substantial and verifiable data to back it up.

Recent changes in the economy and lender practices are prompting building owners to review their lease forms. If you are feeling challenged by current circumstances or have not reviewed your lease forms in the last few years consider having the lease attorneys at Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C., review your lease and lease-related documents.

Call one of the attorneys at Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C., or email and let us see if we can assist you.

This blog post is not intended to provide legal advice or substitute for the advice of legal counsel with respect to specific facts and situations. See disclaimer



Written By Lisa Shea, Esq.

These days, there are many immigration lawyers and notarios promising immigrants that they will have an opportunity to get a green card without even thoroughly analyzing the facts of their case.  They will simply say, “Yeah, no problem, I can get you a green card.” 

Although it is wonderful to hear that you could qualify for a green card, if you actually qualify for it, it is not wonderful if someone tells you they can get you a green card just to take your money and for you to later learn that you don’t qualify. 

Immigration law is extremely complex and changes all the time.  In order for a lawyer to assess what kind of case you have, and the relief you could qualify for, a thorough consultation is needed.  Many lawyers will give you a free 10 or 20-minute consultation, but that is not enough time for you to ask questions, give the lawyer enough facts about your case, or receive a thorough analysis of your situation before you spend thousands of dollars and risk your entire immigration case. 

Making a decision about your immigration case is one of the most important decisions you will ever make.  It could dictate whether you are allowed to stay in the United States; whether you will be granted legal status; and whether you spend thousands of dollars for the good of your case or are just wasting your money. 


Recently, I spoke with a client that had one of these free consults from a well-known social media attorney.  When the client called the lawyer, he was directed to a foreign-qualified lawyer who did not know American law well.  The person my client spoke with did not ask important questions that would have dramatically changed the legal advice from the client qualifying to do a waiver and consular processing to being permanently barred from immigration relief.  Even without all the needed information, he announced that my client qualified and that the cost would be several thousand dollars.  It was when my client sought a second opinion that he discovered that it was not so straightforward; his case might have some inadmissibility grounds that are more complicated than the lawyer explained to him, such as criminal records, smuggling, and multiple re-entries.

Another gimmick lawyers use is to advertise that they have an office in the city where you live but they really don’t.  They pay for advertising to make it look like they are local, but they are actually in another city or even state.  And, while it is not essential that your lawyer be local if that is what you are looking for, you have the right to know whether you will be able to have in-person contact with your lawyer. In other words, a lawyer should be clear on their website where they are located.


If you are looking for quality legal advice, you should expect to pay a reasonable fee for a consultation.  Ask friends and family for a referral and check out the background of the lawyer. For example, you should find out if there are any bar complaints against the lawyer.  During a paid consultation, the lawyer should thoroughly screen your immigration background and that of any family members who could impact your own immigration status.  Take any immigration and criminal documents you have to the consultation.  If you or your family member(s) have an A-number or alien number, make sure you take it with you. Any options for relief should be explained and you should be given an opportunity to ask questions about your future case.  Ask the lawyer if he/she has experience in the kind of case you have and what the costs will be.  Make sure your lawyer provides you with a written engagement agreement explaining the case and the fees.  Your lawyer may need to do a freedom of information act (FOIA) request to get further information about your case before making a final plan of action.

Upon hiring the lawyer, stay in contact with him/her to ensure that you are meeting important deadlines and providing the information needed to do the case.  Working with a lawyer on your immigration case is a team effort.  The lawyer has obligations, and so do you.  Your lawyer needs to use his/her best legal expertise to put together a thorough and timely case based on current law and vigorously advocate for your interests.  You have an obligation to pay your lawyer and provide credible information, evidence, be on time for appointments, and keep the lawyer updated on important developments such as changes of address and phone number.

With a positive outlook and cooperation between you and your lawyer, you should have a successful experience.  Although outcomes are not guaranteed, many cases can be won with diligent efforts. 

If you are interested in knowing your immigration options, please call us at 703-335-2009  to schedule your consultation. We will be happy to help you achieve your American Dream!


Lisa Shea is a shareholder at Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, P.C. She is leading the firm’s Immigration practice, as well as Immigration Chair for the Prince William County Bar Association.  If you have additional questions or concerns contact Lisa Shea at or call us at 703-335-2009.

www.immigrantsfirst.com (for information about immigration solutions)
www.vfnlaw.com (for information about solutions in other areas of law)

This blog post is not intended to provide legal advice or substitute for the advice of legal counsel with respect to specific facts and situations. See disclaimer