James L. Chapman, IV

Jim focuses his legal practice on representing businesses and individuals in litigation. He is frequently hired in matters involving large loss exposure in injury, death and property damage cases. He also has extensive experience litigating commercial disputes.

Jim has tried over 100 cases to jury verdicts for his clients and formerly taught courses in Trial Practice and Federal Courts at Regent University School of Law. Jim speaks and writes on select topics of interest to the insurance, maritime and unmanned systems industries.

Apart from the practice of law, Jim is most proud of his service to his alma mater, Virginia Tech. From 2013 – 2017, he served on the governing Board of Visitors, and was Rector (Chair) of the Board in 2016 - 2017. Virginia Tech is a leading public research university with an annual budget in excess of $1.6 billion, enrolling over 30,000 students annually. The University motto is Ut Prosim, Latin for “That I May Serve,” which is Jim’s passion for both Virginia Tech and his clients.

Washington & Lee University School of Law, J.D., 1982
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, B.A., magna cum laude, 1979
Military Service
United States Army, Judge Advocate General's Corps, Captain
Bar/Court Admissions
Virginia State Bar
North Carolina State Bar
United States Supreme Court
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
United States District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia
United States District Court, Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of North Carolina
Community Involvement
Future of Hampton Roads, Inc. (President, 2000-2001)
Rotary International, Norfolk Sunrise Club (President, 2013-2014)
Representative Experience
Representative Matters
Articles and Presentations
  • Federal and state court litigation in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Maryland, New Mexico and California.
  • Defend businesses and individuals in casualty litigation arising from injury, death, property damage and other torts.
  • Vessel arrests and attachments to obtain security for maritime liens.
  • Maritime salvage disputes, including treasure salvage.
  • Lecturer on insurance and other topics of interest to the maritime industry.
  • Adjunct Professor of Law, Regent University School of Law (2001—2011)
  • Captain, United States Army, Judge Advocate General’s Corps (Active Duty 1982-1986).



  • Obtained defense jury verdict in $10,000,000 railroad worker asbestosis case
  • Obtained judgment of exoneration for a leading aggregate supplier arising from vessel casualty
  • Successfully defended marine equipment manufacturer in product liability defect case involving widespread structural failure claims
  • Obtained defense jury verdict in favor of raw materials supplier sued by manufacturer for $1,500,000 on claim of supplying contaminated product; jury awarded $900,000 to client on counterclaim against manufacturer
  • Obtained $48,000,000 maritime salvage award of gold treasure and $2,000,000 of other historic artifacts recovered from the 1857 wreck of the S.S. Central America
  • Obtained $16,000,000 jury verdict for bank defrauded in loan participation scheme
  • Obtained $600,000 judgment against vessel for damage to historic railroad bridge


  • Favorably resolved wrongful death claim by estates of three families collectively seeking $25,000,000 for drowning deaths at marina
  • Favorably resolved $10,000,000 claim for traumatic lower extremity amputation
  • Favorably resolved $20,000,000 claim for catastrophic brain injury to maritime worker
  • Successfully settled $20,000,000 marina fire loss claim for consortium of insurers following favorable liability ruling on summary judgment
  • Obtained favorable recovery on behalf of insurer in mass tort carbon monoxide poisoning and death cases against gas hot water system installer
  • Favorably resolved $2,000,000 dissident shareholder claim on behalf of majority shareholders of privately held mortgage brokerage without litigation


  • Borrower’s counsel for closely held commercial fishing business in complex $15,000,000 multi-vessel fleet refinancing transaction
  • Seller’s counsel for closely-held alcohol beverage distribution business in multi-phased $30,000,000 purchase


  • “American Justice: The Intersection of Legal Liability and Autonomous Systems”, 2019 Unmanned Systems Symposium, AUVSI (October 2019)
  •  To Be Forgotten…or Not to Be Forgotten?, Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel Annual Meeting, Debate Panel Moderator (August 2, 2019)
  • Mitigating the Cost of Data Breach, Defense Research Institute (DRI), Data and Security Dispatch, Volume 4 Issue 2 (October 4, 2018)
  • American Justice: At the Intersection of Legal Liability and Autonomous Systems, presented at the 2nd Annual Unmanned Systems Conference (October 9-10, 2018), Sponsored by the AUVSI Ridge & Valley Chapter, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia
  • Tools, Toys and Torts:  What You Need to Know about Aerial Drones in Virginia, sponsored by Norfolk and Portsmouth Bar Association (September 20, 2018)
  • FRA-Mandated Conductor Training Programs: Don’t Let Yours Become a Train Wreck, sponsored by Virginia Railroad Association (October 2, 2017 Annual Meeting)
  • Shipping and Maritime Law 2014, Roundtable Panel, presented by Corporate Live Wire (October 2014)
  • Deconstructing a Jury Trial, presented to Norfolk and Portsmouth Bar Association (2011)
  • Red Letter Clauses in Marina Slip Leases, presented at SEALI Annual Meeting (2008)
  • Marine Insurance Claims and Practice, presented at Lorman Marine Insurance Seminar (2007)
  • Ten Tempting (But Improper) Closing Arguments, presented at SEALI Annual Meeting (2004)


News and Updates
Week in Review: Autonomous Roundup
Posted on October 6, 2021
The Race Is On The fastest driverless speeds yet achieved will occur during the Indy Autonomous Challenge on October 23, 2021. Insurers Increase Investments in Drones, Robots Insurance companies are increasing their investments…...
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Week in Review: Autonomous Roundup
Posted on September 29, 2021
How robotics Will Transform The Workplace As We Know It As companies scramble to increase their reliance on robotics and automation, the workplace as we know it will undergo a series…...
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Week in Review: Autonomous Roundup
Posted on September 10, 2021
Watch a Driverless Truck Operate 100 Percent Autonomously in Highway Traffic It’s not every day that you get to see a self-driving semi-truck going down the highway.  The autonomous vehicle craze…...
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Week in Review: Autonomous Roundup
Posted on September 2, 2021
Autonomous Drones Could Speed Up Search And Rescue After Flash Floods, Hurricanes, And Other Disasters During disasters, it can be extremely dangerous to send in first responders, even though people may…...
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Week in Review: Autonomous Roundup
Posted on August 23, 2021
”Ten Years Ago This Was Science Fiction”: The Rise Of Weedkilling Robots Carbon Robotics’ robot weeders—which are nearly three meters long, weigh 9,500 lbs, and resemble a car—clamber slowly across…...
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Eight Crenshaw, Ware & Martin, P.L.C. Attorneys Named to 2022 Best Lawyers® in America List
Posted on August 19, 2021
Norfolk, VA, — Crenshaw, Ware & Martin P.L.C. is pleased to announce that Best Lawyers has recognized four of the Firm’s attorneys as “Best Lawyers in America”, two as “Lawyer of…...
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Week in Review: Autonomous Roundup
Posted on August 12, 2021
Nation's Largest Self-Driving Electric Shuttle Network Launches On August 10, 2021, the country’s biggest fleet of low-speed, self-driving electric shuttles were unveiled on Colorado’s School of Mines campus  in a major…...
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Week in Review: Autonomous Roundup
Posted on August 4, 2021
Autonomous Quadrotor Beats Two Human Pilots In A Drone Race Researchers from the University of Zurich have created a new, faster algorithm that allowed an AI-powered drone to consistently beat human…...
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Week in Review: Autonomous Roundup
Posted on July 26, 2021
Self-Driving Store Hits the Road in California Santa Monica-based company, Robomart, has debuted its store-hailing platform.  This platform, the first of its kind, allows customers to hail an automated store on…...
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Week in Review: Autonomous Roundup
Posted on July 8, 2021
Walmart Drone Delivery Soars Ahead The retail company announced that has invested in the drone service provider, DroneUp, to bring drone delivery to Walmart stores.  Walmart plans to open its first…...
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