Douglas J. Sanderson

Top rated family law attorney in Fairfax, Virginia

McCandlish Lillard
Douglas J. Sanderson
McCandlish Lillard

Practice Areas: Family law, Real estate, Business & corporate; view more

Licensed in Virginia since: 1977

Education: The George Washington University Law School

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2008 - 2010, 2015 - 2023

McCandlish Lillard

11350 Random Hills Road
Suite 500
Fairfax, VA 22030 Visit website


Principal attorney at McCandlish Lillard, Douglas J. Sanderson handles cases in the areas of family law, including mediation and collaborative law; real estate, and business and corporate law in the northern Virginia area. In his family law practice, Mr. Sanderson counsels and represents people who need legal assistance relating to divorces, separation agreements, child custody and visitation, equitable distribution, and support (spousal and child, as needed), as well as, on a happier note, pre-nuptial agreements.  His practice includes litigation, though he strives to employ other methods of problem-solving for his clients that avoid or minimize litigation, including mediation and collaborative divorce. He consistently has been named a Legal Elite in Family Law by Virginia Business Magazine, as well as a SuperLawyer.

Mr. Sanderson earned a Bachelor of Arts in economics in 1974 from Trinity College. He then attended George Washington University’s National Law Center, where he obtained a Juris Doctor in 1977. For his high ethical standards and long list of successful results, he holds the highest peer rating possible of AV Preeminent* from Martindale-Hubbell.

For over two decades Mr. Sanderson has served ARTSFAIRFAX (formerly the Arts Council of Fairfax County, Inc.) as volunteer legal counsel. For his 29+ years of service to ARTSFAIRFAX), he was recognized in 2016 with a Certificate of Merit from the Fairfax Federation of Citizens Association. He also has been involved with Communities of Faith United for Housing, Habitat for Humanity, Legal Services of Northern Virginia, Inc. (including 2 terms as its President), Temple Rodef Shalom and the then-Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce. 

A frequent writer, Mr. Sanderson has published articles on topics related to, most recently, software programs used to facilitate problems that divorced or separated couples face with coordinating times and expenses for their children, as well as, previously, issues involving limited liability companies, real estate, loan documentation, and commercial lending. The software piece was published in the national Family Advocate magazine of the American Bar Association's Family Law Section.

* AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

Practice areas

Family law, Real estate: business, Business/corporate

Focus areas

Alimony & spousal support, Child support, Custody & visitation, Divorce, Juvenile law, Prenuptial agreements, Marital property, Mediation & collaborative law, Same sex family law, Condominiums & cooperatives, Landlord/tenant, Mortgage & refinance, Business formation and planning, Limited liability companies, Partnership, Contracts, Business organizations

  • 50% Family law
  • 30% Real estate: business
  • 20% Business/corporate

First Admitted: 1977, Virginia

Professional Webpage:

Pro bono/Community Service:
  • Volunteer legal counsel to ARTSFAIRFAX, formerly called the Arts Council of Fairfax County, Inc. (1991 to present)
  • Past Member, Board of Directors, Communities of Faith United for Housing, 2009
  • Past Member, Board of Directors of Legal Services of Northern Virginia, Inc. (President from 1993 through 1996).
  • Listed in Who’s Who publications for the South and Southwest, for America, for American Law, and for the World
  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated attorney, Martindale-Hubbell
  • Certificate of Merit, Honored by Fairfax Federation of Citizens Associations, March 4, 2016, 2016
  • "SuperLawyers" magazine has named me as a SuperLawyer in its northern Virginia and in its Washington, DC editions., SuperLawyers
  • “Virginia Business” magazine has named Mr. Sanderson as one of its “Legal Elite” attorneys in Virginia, in the practice area of family law, in all but one year since the inception of the list in 2000, based on a statewide survey of attorneys by the magazine., Virginia Legal Elite, Virginia Business magazine
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia
White Papers:
  • See law firm web site.
Educational Background:
  • The George Washington University National Law Center, Washington, DC, 1977
  • Trinity College, Hartford, CT, B.A., Major: Economics, 1974
Industry Groups:
  • American Bar Association
  • Collaborative Practice Of Northern Virginia
  • Fairfax Bar Association
  • Loudoun County Bar Association
  • Virginia Bar Association
  • Virginia Collaborative Professionals

Office location for Douglas J. Sanderson

11350 Random Hills Road
Suite 500
Fairfax, VA 22030

Phone: 571-418-6995


12 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2008 - 2010, 2015 - 2023

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