Adam R. Nelson

Adam R. Nelson

ThompsonMcMullan, P.C.

Recognized since 2024

Richmond, Virginia

Practice Areas

Real Estate Law

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‘Getting the law right’ for commercial real estate and business clients

When Adam Nelson started here fresh out of law school in 1995, his office was next to John Thompson, the namesake founder of ThompsonMcMullan.

“I sat down on one of those first days and he told me one thing: ‘Get the law right. We’re too small to get it wrong,’” Adam recalls. “The idea was that we were perfectly capable of going up against larger firms, but only if we got the law right.”

Getting the law right, for Adam, means attention to detail and caring – professionally and, yes, personally, too – for every client matter.

In Adam’s real estate and business transactions practice, he listens carefully to each client to understand the business and the need, rather than merely “jumping into drafting” or “pulling a form off a shelf” to resolve a legal issue. He recognizes that every legal agreement is an aspect of managing a client’s business relationship, from a one-time transaction like selling a business or a property, to a long-term transaction such as leasing a building.

To succeed, Adam pulls from not only more than two decades of legal experience, but also five years’ experience as a corporate financial analyst and his background in psychology. “I often tell people that the most important degree I earned is my psychology degree,” he says. “So much of my work is about understanding people.”

As Adam tells his law school students in advanced transactions classes: the deal drives the drafting, so the lawyer must understand the deal before drafting a document. Your job, he tells his students, is to fix problems for your client and get your client’s deal done, while protecting your client as best you can. “Or, if you cannot protect your client,” he says, “you need to let your client know this truth, so your client can decide whether to walk away from the deal.”

When asked why he had stayed with Adam for more than two decades, a long-standing client of the firm said that Adam is “a businessman with a law degree, who has made me money, and who really cares about me.”

Adam joined the firm after graduating from University of Virginia School of Law; prior to that, he earned his psychology degree and a Master’s in Business Administration (Finance) from the Pennsylvania State University, graduating first in his MBA class. After graduating, he served as a corporate financial analyst for Ford New Holland, Inc., the agricultural subsidiary of Ford Motor Company.

Contact & Links
  • 100 Shockoe Slip, Third Floor
    Richmond, VA 23219
  • Penn State Great Valley, B.A., Psychology, graduated 1985
  • Penn State, MBA, Finance, graduated 1987
  • University of Virginia, J.D., graduated 1995
Bar Admissions
  • Virginia, Virginia State Bar, 1995
  • Penn State Alumni Association - Richmond Chapter Member
  • Congregation Beth Ahabah Brotherhood - Board of Directors
  • Congregation Beth Ahabah - Member
  • ChamberRVA Hanover Business Council - Cabinet Member
  • Hanover County Bar Association - Member, Past President, President Elect, Program Organizer, Secretary, Treasurer
  • Richmond Bar Association - Member
  • Virginia Bar Association - Member, Community Service Program Charter Member
Court Admissions
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Courts for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia
  • All Virginia courts, including the Supreme Court of Virginia

ThompsonMcMullan, P.C.
Headquarters: Richmond, Virginia

15 The Best Lawyers in America® awards

5 Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch® in America awards

Best Law Firms Badge Visit Website View Firm Profile

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® 2024 for work in:
  • Real Estate Law
  • Virginia Lawyers Weekly “Go To Lawyers” for Commercial Real Estate Law (2023)

  • AV Peer Review Rated in Martindale-Hubbell

  • Selected to the Super Lawyers Virginia List, Business/Corporate Law category (2014-2016)

  • Virginia Business Magazine’s “Legal Elite,” Real Estate/Land Use category (2012-2022)


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