Special/Signature Issues » Top 40 Under 40

Jennifer Ligon, 39

Partner, Williams Mullen


At the law firm of Williams Mullen, Jennifer Ligon helps to advise hospitals and physicians on state and federal health care law.

“I do a lot of certificate of public need work,” says the 39-year-old attorney. “It’s a state law that requires facilities to get permission before they add hospital rooms or get operating rooms. I serve as kind of a strategic partner to businesses to help them navigate the health care industry. From a state level and a federal level, it’s constantly changing.”

For some time, she’s also been helping young lawyers in Richmond navigate the ethical and technical corners of the legal profession. After she received her juris doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, where she was on the editorial board of the Virginia Law Review and served as a Dillard Fellow, Ligon started her mentorship of young law students through the Metropolitan Richmond Women’s Bar Association. It enabled her to partner with University of Richmond law students, which she did for several years. “And now I work with Virginia Bar Association’s Young Lawyers division, helping them find their footing in the legal field.” This year, she was given the Sandra P. Thompson Award, based on her lifetime commitment to the Young Lawyers group.

There is a whole host of energized, eager, well-intentioned young lawyers entering the profession, says Ligon. “We’ve always had a plethora of folks who get into it for the right reasons and make the best of their law degree to give back to their communities, whether it’s pro bono or through their employers or volunteer service.”

Ligon has a screenshot on her computer that shows the eight dimensions of wellness. It’s important to her. “We have to give ourselves grace,” she says. “And we have to lead with kindness, compassion, and understanding. None of us have walked a mile in anyone else’s shoes, so we should all be allies.” An avid Syracuse University fan – it’s where she got her undergraduate degree – she enjoys reading nonfiction and spending time with her husband Chad and two young girls, Coralie and Avalyn.