MARY G. COMMANDER was born in Norfolk, Virginia in 1956. She graduated with honors from Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia in 1974. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia where she served as an elected member of the University Senate. In 1981, she graduated with honors from University of Richmond School of Law in Richmond, Virginia. During law school, she was a member of the Law Review Staff (chosen based on grades and a writing competition); Moot Court Board (chosen based on brief writing and oral argument competition) and McNeill Law Society (honorary academic society). Her article was selected for publication in the University of Richmond Law Review in the Summer, 1981 edition.
Following graduation, Ms. Commander served a one year judicial clerkship (1981-82) with The Honorable John A. MacKenzie, Chief Judge, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Norfolk, Virginia. Since 1982, she has been engaged in the practice of law in Norfolk, Virginia and surrounding areas.
For 18 years, Ms Commander served as an Administrative Hearing Officer for the State of Virginia in addition to her regular practice. She conducted hearings and decided cases involving employee grievances and terminations.
For 7 years, Ms. Commander served as a substitute judge sitting in Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts and General District Courts throughout the Hampton Roads area on a regular basis.
Ms. Commander is qualified and admitted to practice before The United States Supreme Court; United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit; United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia; United States Tax Court; United States Court of Federal Claims and all Virginia courts.
Ms. Commander is certified by the Supreme Court of Virginia as a guardian ad litem for children and as a guardian ad litem for incapacitated persons.
She also is certified by the Supreme Court of Virginia as a mediator in family cases in all Virginia courts and as a mediator mentor.
Ms. Commander is a member of the American Bar Association (Family Law Section); Virginia State Bar (Family Law Section); Virginia Trial Lawyers Association; Family Law Association of Hampton Roads, Virginia Women Attorneys Association; Norfolk – Portsmouth Bar Association.
Ms. Commander is a current member of the Virginia State Bar Board of Governors of the Family Law Section, current member of the Virginia State Bar Board of Governors of the Senior Lawyers Section, Board of Trustees of the National Center for Family Law, University of Richmond School of Law. She also was an elected member of the Virginia State Bar Council, the entity that governs lawyers in Virginia. She is a past member of the Boards of the Community Mediation Center, the Mt. Trashmore YMCA in Virginia Beach, and the Old Dominion University Athletic Foundation.
Ms. Commander has an “AV” rating (highest) from Martindale-Hubbell and a “10” rating (highest) from AVVO.
She is a member of the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating and is a Cooperating Attorney with the Lambda Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Ms. Commander also is a certified Norfolk Master Gardener Volunteer and actively involved in the rescue of former racing greyhounds (with two of her own at home).
She also had articles selected for publication in the University of Richmond Law review in 1981 and 1991 and in the Virginia Family Law Quarterly in 2015. She has lectured extensively on Family Law topics throughout Virginia since 1985.