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About me


John F. Sawyer represents businesses and individuals in federal court and in state courts throughout the Hampton Roads region.  He routinely handles guardianship and conservatorship cases as well as will and trust disputes and other fiduciary litigation.  He has twice appeared before the Virginia Supreme Court on will and estate cases.  He is also certified as a Guardian ad litem for incapacitated persons.  His cases have involved multi-million dollar loan workouts for financial institutions, significant estate litigation involving real property and forensic accounting issues, Clean Water Act regulatory compliance and litigation, injunction hearings, and contract disputes.  Mr. Sawyer also has an active creditors' rights practice where he assists clients in the collection of accounts receivable and delinquent debt obligations.  Mr. Sawyer was selected for inclusion in the 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014 Virginia Super Lawyers listing.  He is President  of the Norfolk Collegiate Alumni Board, a past member of Session of Second Presbyterian Church of Norfolk, active on committees with local bar associations, and volunteers his time with the REACH program and as a youth coach for Norfolk United Soccer Club.


Practice areas


  1. Elder Law: 40%
  2. Guardianship: 35%
    13 years
  3. Banking: 25%
    13 years



Free consultation (30 minutes)

Payment types:

Cash, Check, Credit card

Attorney endorsements

2 total 

Are you an attorney? Endorse this lawyer

  • Kellam Thomas Parks

    I highly recommend John for Guardianship/Conservatorship matters. I had the pleasure of working with John for a number of years at Wolcott Rivers Gates where I saw first-hand his depth of knowledge, professionalism, and dedication to his clients. He remains my go-to person for these kinds of cases now that I have my own firm. I regularly refer my clients to him for assistance and they universally have been extremely happy with his work.


    Kellam Parks Family Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

  • Stephen Patrick Pfeiffer

    John Sawyer is a fantasic attorney and the person I trust with all of my cleints' guardianship and banking needs. He is committed to excellence in all aspects of work from the intial client meeting to representing their interests in court.


    Stephen Pfeiffer DUI and DWI Attorney
    Relationship: Co-worker

Contact info

Wolcott Rivers Gates

Convergence Center IV
Suite 500
Virginia Beach, VA, 23452


VAAuthorized to practice law200303/31/2016
We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Rising StarSuper Lawyers2015
Rising StarSuper Lawyers2014
Rising StarSuper Lawyers2013
Rising StarSuperLawyers2012
Rising StarSuperLawyers2011
Rising StarSuper Lawyers2010
Rising StarSuper Lawyers2008
Richard Reeves Baxter Award for Excellence in WritingDickinson School of Law, Pennsylvania State University2003
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
PartnerWolcott Rivers Gates2003 - Present
Association namePosition nameDuration
Norfolk Collegiate School Alumni BoardPresident2012 - Present
Sertoma Club of NorfolkMember2008 - Present
Virginia State BarMember2003 - Present
Norfolk and Portsmouth Bar AssociationCommittee Member2003 - Present
Virginia Beach Bar AssociationMember2003 - Present
Second Presbyterian ChurchSession Member2003 - Present
Virginia Bar AssociationMember2003 - Present
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
Henderson v. Ayres & Hartnett, P.C., 285 Va. ___ 120463, ___ S.E.2d ___ (2013)Affirmed
See all legal cases 
Publication nameTitleDate
Penn State International Law Review"Shipbreaking and the North-South Debate: Economic Development or Environmental and Labor Catastrophe?", 20 Penn St. Intl. L. Rev. 535, 20022003
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson School of LawLawJD - Juris Doctor2003
College of William and Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of LawHistoryBA - Bachelor of Arts1997
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
Continuing Legal EducationLandlord Tenant Law: Surviving in a Difficult Economy2012
Continuing Legal EducationEnvironmental Issues in the Foreclosure Process2010
Continuing Legal EducationJudgment Enforcement: Post Judgment Collections2008