My practice emphasizes commercial real estate and business. I primarily represent
lenders, investors, builders and developers in real estate acquisition, development,
financing, outsales, commercial leasing and construction contracts; the establishment
of commercial condominium and owners associations and representation and advice
in matters relating to business entities and their operation.
I have been practicing law in Northern Virginia since 1979. My family has been in
the area since 1906 and we continue to be involved in investments in Washington
area real estate. I graduated from University of North Carolina in 1972, served
as a naval officer from 1972 until 1976, and graduated from the University of Virginia
law school in 1979 when I joined Fagelson, Schonberger, Billowitz and Duvall. I
practiced with that firm and its successors until 2010 when I opened my own practice
as John Fagelson, PLC.
In addition to my legal practice I am involved in professional and community activities
including current service on the Burke & Herbert Bank & Trust Company advisory board
and the Kennedy Center Circle's board and, previously, two terms on the board of
the Northern Virginia Chapter of the National Association of Office and Industrial
Parks (NAIOP) and two terms on the board of the Alexandria Friends of the Torpedo
Factory Arts Center. I have also written and lectured for various professional and
trade associations and publications.
A student at a master class once asked the great jazz pianist Marian McPartland
what was the key to a career as a professional musician. Her answer was "Show up
on time for the gig ready to play".
I have always thought that her reply speaks to the nature of professionalism more
broadly than for musicians alone. It is not enough to be skilled at what you do.
A true professional must understand what the people who hire you expect and be prepared
to perform to meet their needs. My approach to the practice of law has always focused
on understanding my clients businesses and their needs. I am interested in what
my clients do and they have in response taught me what I need to understand in order
to represent them well. It was a restaurateur who explained to me that if the lease
requires the tenant to keep the sidewalk clean, then I had to check the work letter
to make sure the landlord provides a hose bib in the front so that he wouldn't have
to use busboys to carry pots of water from the kitchen. I still find my client's
businesses fascinating and each client I have helped for thirty years has helped
me do a better job every other client.