CLAIRE GUTHRIE GASTAÑAGA- PARTNER

picture of Tricia Dunlap, CEO and business attorney

Partner Claire Guthrie Gastañaga is a respected legal advocate, problem solver, and mentor. She brings a wealth of experience to the firm and its clients, advising non-profits and small businesses on governance, certification, and employment law issues. She is licensed in Virginia (1974) and Washington, D.C., (1983) and was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States in 1980 on the motion of Nicholas deB. Katzenbach, a former Attorney General of the United States. During her career, Claire has been both lawyer and client and has significant management experience, particularly in the public and non-profit sectors. She’s been chief deputy attorney general of Virginia and the “hiring partner” for that “law firm,” argued cases in the United States and Virginia Supreme Courts, served as in-house counsel to a major university, helped build a higher education practice at a major international law firm, served as the interim president of a women’s college, ran her own consulting firm, and headed a non-profit that grew into a multi-million dollar organization on her watch. Claire is a former Richmond chapter president and member of the national board of directors of the National Association of Women Business Owners and a former member of the Virginia Small Business Advisory Board. She was the SBA’s Virginia Women in Business Advocate of the Year in 2003. She currently serves on the Board of Governors of the Diversity Conference of the Virginia State Bar and the Boards of Directors of the Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association and Legal Reform for the Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled. In addition to providing legal advice and representation to small businesses and non-profits as a member of the Dunlap Law firm, Claire will continue to be a Change Servant engaging in non-legal advocacy and governance consulting.

When she’s not working, Claire is cooking or gardening. She’s a bit ashamed to admit that during her appearance on Jeopardy, she didn’t know that the right question for a Southern cooking answer was “what is wilted salad?”

Bar Memberships:

  • Virginia State Bar Member (1974 to present)
  • District of Columbia Bar Member (1982 to present; currently inactive)
  • United States Supreme Court Bar Member (1980 to present)

 

Honors and Awards:

  • 2019 Leader in the Law, Virginia Lawyer’s Weekly
  • 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award, Corporation for National and Community Service and Office of the President of the United States
  • 2015 Fellow, Virginia Law Foundation
  • 2015 OUTstanding Virginian, Equality Virginia
  • 2015 Appreciation Award, APNAA, Virginia Chapter
  • 2013 Bernard D. Mayes Award, Serpentine Society, University of Virginia
  • 2010 Influential Women of Virginia Award, Virginia Lawyer’s Media
  • 2008 Chairman’s Award, Virginia Small Business Advisory Board Member of the Year
  • 2006 Honoree, Galaxy Gala, Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance
  • 2004 NAWBO National Chapter Public Policy Advocate of the Year
  • 2003 SBA Virginia Women in Business Advocate of the Year
  • 1996, 1997 and 1999 Pacesetter, Southern Women in Public Service
  • 1996 Leadership Metro Richmond
  • 1994 Outstanding Woman Award for Law, Richmond YWCA
  • 1988 Elected first Fellow of the National Association of College and University Attorneys
  • 1986 Outstanding Woman Attorney in Virginia, Virginia Women Attorneys Association and Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association
  • 1974 Initiated, Raven Society, University of Virginia

Education

  • University of Virginia, J.D.
  • Michigan State University, B.A.

Professional Associations

  • Metropolitan Business League
    • Member (2021 to present)
    • Member, Advisory Council (2022 to present)
  • Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association
    • Member (2021 to present)
    • Legislative Co-Chair and Director (2021 to present)
  • Virginia Council of CEOs
    • Member (2014 to 2016)
  • National Association of Women Business Owners, Member (2001 to 2012)
    • Member, National Board of Directors (2007 – 2010)
    • National Vice President for Public Policy (2005-2006)
    • Atlantic Region Coordinator, National Public Policy Council (2004-2005)
    • Member, Board of Directors-Richmond Chapter (2001-2005)
      • President (2003-2004)
      • Past President (2004-2005)
      • President-elect (2002-2003)
      • Chair, Government Relations Committee (2001-2002)
    • Member, Board of Directors, Richmond NAWBO Foundation (2006 to 2009)
  • National Association of Collect and University Attorneys
    • Member (1976 to 2002)
    • Member, Board of Directors (1984-87)

Community Activities

  • Member, Board of Directors
    Legislative Reform for Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled
    Richmond, Virginia; 2021 to present
  • Member, Board of Directors
    Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth Council
    Richmond, Virginia; 2010 to 2015
  • Member, Board of Trustees
    Poe Museum
    Richmond, Virginia; 2005-2011
  • Member, Board of Directors
    Richmond Gay Community Foundation (now Diversity Richmond)
    Richmond, Virginia; 2008-2012
  • Member, Board of Directors
    Richmond Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau
    Richmond, Virginia; 2003 to 2007
  • Member, Richmond Commission on City Government
    City of Richmond
    Richmond, Virginia; 2003
  • Member, Virginia Advisory Planning Committee
    Help America Vote Act 2003
    State Board of Elections
    Richmond, Virginia; 2003 to 2005
  • Member, Board of Trustees
    Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School of Government and International Studies Foundation
    Richmond, Virginia; 2001 to 2007
  • Chair, Virginia Women’s Leadership Project
    The Virginia Foundation for Women
    Richmond, Virginia; 2001 ro 2005
  • Member, Board of Trustees
    The Virginia Foundation for Women
    Richmond, Virginia; 1997 to 2005
  • Member, Executive Committee
    Commission to Re-Engineer City Government
    City of Richmond
    Richmond, Virginia; 1996 to 1999
  • Member, Board of Directors and Founder
    Make Women Count PAC and Make Women Count, Inc.
    Richmond, Virginia; 1992 to 1999; 2001 to 2004
  • Member, Board of Directors
    Council on America’s First Freedom
    Richmond, Virginia; 1990 to 1993
  • Member, Advisory Board
    Richmond AIDS Ministry
    Richmond, Virginia; 1990 to 1994
  • Member, Resources Development Board
    Women’s Resources Center
    University of Richmond
    Richmond, Virginia; 1991 to 1993