Do you work for a Virginia corporation or business?

Was it started in Virginia?

Does it have offices in Virginia?

Even if you have never stepped foot in the Commonwealth, you may have an employment contract governed by Virginia law. How do you know? They are called “choice of law provisions” and can be found in most professionally written employment contracts.

There may be a paragraph that says
CHOICE OF LAW: This contract and the terms therein are governed by Virginia law. Should litigation arise from the construction, enforcement or breach of this Contract, parties agree the Circuit Court of X County will be proper jurisdiction..”

I often have folks that call us and want us to help, only to find out they have a non Virginia choice of law provision, which means I can’t provide any advice (unless its West Va – I am licensed there too).

So before you call an attorney (1) Check to see if you have a choice of law provision. (2) Then check to see if there is a jurisdiction listed or selected. Does the agreement call for Arbitration? We Arbitrate employment claims and will handle matters in most Virginia Circuit Courts, but always good to know what you are looking at before you call.

Now, Why would your contract contain Virginia law if you didn’t work in Virginia? It may be the business is incorporated here, has a principal place of business here, or maybe, the attorney who wrote the contract thought Virginia law was more employer friendly. Sometimes, choice of law provisions can be held invalid – so again, if you have any question, call a Virginia employment attorney or someone who specializes in contract issues.

Lauren Ellerman

Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at