The Columns

Law Alum Sailed into a Career

— by on February 1st, 2012

The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk featured a fascinating first-person story by Washington and Lee Law alumnus Phil Davey, of the Class of 1974, on Jan. 23, as part of the newspaper’s “At work with” feature.

Phil is a partner in the Norfolk firm Davey & Brogan, P.C., and specializes in maritime law. He entered the W&L Law School after serving in Vietnam (and taking his LSATs in Danang).

After his first year of law school, he worked as a police officer on the Virginia Beach boardwalk. During that time, he interviewed with a law firm. As he told the newspaper, he was “prepared to be a little defensive” because he didn’t rank in the top half of his class. “Instead, to my amazement, I was asked if I had ever brought a ship to anchorage or gotten a ship under way from anchorage, or if I had ever brought a ship to a dock with tugs or gotten a ship under way from a dock with tugs.” 

Why, yes, as a matter of fact. Phil served with the Navy on board an amphibious ship. His love of the sea came early; his father worked for a steamship company, and Phil grew up in Peru. The family traveled between Peru and New York by water, with Phil traversing the Panama Canal more than once.

He got that first job. After working with maritime law for a couple of firms, he started his own firm in 1990. It handles a wide variety of cases, based on a list of recent trial experience.