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City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
Communications & Public Information
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Page updated Apr 28, 2009 7:50 PM

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City of Alexandria Names New City Attorney, James L. Banks

April 28, 2009

News Highlights:

  • Following a nationwide search, City Council appoints James L. Banks as City Attorney
  • Banks previously served as city council member, Vice Mayor and Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Richmond, VA
  • Banks serves as a member of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board of Directors

More Information:

  • Office of the City Attorney: 703.838.4433  

After a nationwide search, the Alexandria City Council has appointed James Banks as City Attorney, effective May 4. He replaces Ignacio Pessoa, who stepped down from the position in December 2008. As City Attorney, Banks will be the legal advisor to the City Council, the City Manager, and all departments, boards, commissions, and agencies of the City. The City Attorney renders opinions, on request; is responsible for drafting ordinances, deeds, affidavits, bonds, leases, and other legal papers; represents the City as counsel in civil cases; and institutes and prosecutes legal proceedings on behalf of the City.

Prior to joining the City, Banks worked for Seyfarth Shaw LLP, as partner to its labor and employment practice. Previously, he served as partner for McGuire Woods LLP, and served as a substitute judge in Richmond in Virginia’s Thirteenth Judicial District from 1998 to 2002. In addition to his legal expertise, Banks possesses public and non-profit sector experience, serving as a member and Vice Mayor of the Richmond, VA City Council and as Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Richmond. In Richmond, Banks also served as president of the Board of Trustees for the Friends Association for Children, a nonprofit provider of childcare, family and educational services for low-income residents, and was board member and general counsel for the Southside Community Development and Housing Corporation, a nonprofit community development corporation. Currently, Banks serves as member of the Virginia Law Foundation Board of Directors, and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board of Directors.

Banks, a graduate of Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, received his law degree from the University of Virginia.

For more information, contact Andrea Blackford, Communications Officer, Office of Communications, at 703.519.3489 or