Douglas J. Sanderson

Top rated Business & Corporate attorney in Fairfax, Virginia

McCandlish Lillard
Douglas J. Sanderson
McCandlish Lillard

Practice Areas: Business & Corporate, Family Law, Real Estate; view more

Licensed in Virginia since: 1977

Education: The George Washington University Law School

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2008 - 2010, 2015 - 2024

McCandlish Lillard

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


Attorney Douglas J. Sanderson, a principal at McCandlish Lillard, brings over four decades of rich experience to his multifaceted practice in Fairfax and Leesburg, Virginia. With a strong focus on family law and domestic relations, commercial real estate, and business organizations and transactions, he is committed to providing solutions-focused legal services. His journey began with a concentration in real estate litigation, gradually shifting to real estate transactions before embracing family law. This transition was fueled by his passion for working closely with individuals during pivotal moments in their lives, striving to make a meaningful personal impact.

In his legal practice, Mr. Sanderson skillfully navigates the complexities of family law, including issues related to divorce, child custody and spousal support, and drafts prenuptial agreements. His approach emphasizes problem-solving and minimizing litigation, embodying his dedication to reducing stress and legal expenses for his clients. He is a trained practitioner of collaborative divorce and actively participates with the Collaborative Professionals of Northern Virginia organization, further showcasing his commitment to fostering nonadversarial solutions in family law disputes.

Mr. Sanderson’s proficiency extends to the realms of business and commercial real estate law. He advises and represents business owners and real estate professionals in various transactions, such as property acquisitions, lease negotiations and business financing. His holistic approach ensures that all legal aspects are handled meticulously, from organizing business entities to managing complex real estate developments. His dedication to nonlitigation solutions in these areas aligns with his overall strategy of serving clients through proactive and strategic legal counsel.

Mr. Sanderson’s professional accolades include consistent recognition as one of Virginia's "Legal Elite" by Virginia Business magazine. His commitment to excellence is further evidenced by his peer-review rating of AV Preeminent* through Martindale-Hubbell, recognizing his high ethical standards and professional ability. Additionally, he actively contributes to his community, providing volunteer legal services and serving on several nonprofit boards, illustrating his dedication not only to his clients but also to the broader community. His comprehensive approach, shrewd legal acumen and community involvement make him a distinguished advocate and trusted adviser in the Virginia legal sphere.

*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 Ratings™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

Practice areas

Business/Corporate, Family Law, Real Estate: Business

Focus areas

Adoption, Alimony & Spousal Support, Business Formation and Planning, Business Organizations, Child Support, Condominiums & Cooperatives, Contracts, Custody & Visitation, Dissolution, Divorce, Domestic Violence, Father's Rights, Juvenile Law, Landlord/Tenant, Limited Liability Companies, Marital Property, Mediation & Collaborative Law, Mortgage & Refinance, Name Change, Partnership, Paternity, Prenuptial Agreements, Same Sex Family Law, Sub-chapter S Corporations

  • 40% Business/Corporate
  • 30% Family Law
  • 30% Real Estate: Business

First Admitted: 1977, Virginia

Professional Webpage:

Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • Spousal Support Guideline Changes Following the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (May 2019)
  • Subordination, Non-Disturbance and Attornment Agreements: Meeting the Legitimate Goals of Landlords, Tenants and Lenders; Negotiation Techniques
  • Contract Basics
  • Commercial Lending Requirements and Loan Documentation in Virginia: The Commitment and Planning Process (October 7, 2004)
  • The Legal Implications of Obergefell v. Hodges, co-authored with John Farrell (2015)
  • Online and Software Programs To Facilitate Parenting Time Arrangements, Support Obligations and Payments, as published in the ABA Section of Family Law’s Family Advocate magazine (Winter 2018 edition)
  • Commercial Lending Requirements and Loan Documentation in Virginia: Real Estate Issues (October 9, 2004)
  • Preventing [LLC] Problems Up Front
  • Owning Real Estate in a Land Trust for a Limited Liability Company
  • “Virginia Business” magazine has named Doug as one of its “Legal Elite” attorneys in Virginia
  • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated Attorney, the Highest Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Named by American Registry as One of “Americas Most Honored Lawyers - Top 1%
  • The Best Lawyers in America©
  • Avvo Rated Top Lawyer
  • Super Lawyer
Educational Background:
  • Trinity College, Hartford, CT, B.A., Major- Economics 
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).
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia
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


13 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2008 - 2010, 2015 - 2024

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