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Lelia Winget-Hernandez

A compassionate, personal approach to solving problems

“We  care about our clients and their goals and treat them  the way we would like to be treated by our own lawyers–with authenticity, respect, and responsiveness.  We want our clients, and their loved ones, to feel supported and understood in their interactions with us and our firm.”

A lot of people tell us we don’t seem like lawyers—and we always take that as a compliment.  I do love being a lawyer.  It is a privilege to help people and to gain their trust and confidence.  But, I certainly understand why so many people view lawyers as distrustful. Michael and I approach cases differently. There’s two of us and we work very closely together. We each have our own different styles and different perspectives, and that adds  real value for our clients. Together, we can accomplish so much more than either one of us could alone.

We also care about our clients. We take a more personal approach than many of our colleagues in the estate planning field. We try to be more approachable and responsive.

A third factor that distinguishes us from most of our colleagues is our experience in complex litigation. Our prior experience handling multi-million dollar federal and state civil litigation cases enables us to spot and plan for issues that may arise and solve problems proactively. It is our goal to keep our clients and their loved ones out of court and out of conflict, but when conflict does arise or if it already underway we’re ready to go to court and advocate for our clients to get the right results.

We have some personal experience in elder law and special needs advocacy that affects our practice. My mother passed away from dementia in 2018. I experienced firsthand that persons dealing with the challenges of facing dementia and cognitive decline are very vulnerable, that they deserve to be treated with respect, and that we need to preserve their dignity.

We also have a daughter with special needs. Developing plans for her and for others, I have come to appreciate and admire persons with special needs and their families and caregivers who love them and advocate for them. Each person has something unique to offer and the families that protect and advocate for them are extraordinary.  

Much of the legal work in long term care planning for older adults, such as planning for long-term care and appointing financial and healthcare decision-makers, is similar to the work we do to protect children and adults with special needs. Preserving dignity and autonomy to the greatest extent possible, respecting their wishes and advocating for them—these are all essential and very rewarding for us.

Estate planning allows us to use our legal knowledge and experience while still doing something good for individual people. Not many attorneys get to say that

I am a proud graduate of the University of Virginia and the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii where I was a co-editor of the law review and graduated in the top of my class.  My son, Zach, was born the summer between my 2nd and 3rd year of law school and I was pregnant with my daughter, Madeleine, when I took the Virginia bar.  My law career started with clerking for United States Magistrate Judge David G. Lowe, in Richmond, but being a mom to Zach and Madeleine was and is my greatest joy.  After my clerkship, I worked part-time as an attorney and then started my own practice, before joining the Virginia Office of the Attorney General in 2006.  

I was a Lead Attorney in the Civil Investigations Squad of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit at the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) in Richmond, Virginia from 2006 to 2013.  During my time at the OAG, I supervised a team of attorneys investigating and litigating against pharmaceutical companies, lab services companies, and medical device manufacturers for fraud against the Virginia Medicaid program.  I led several national investigative teams and received an award for investigative excellence from the United States Council of the Inspectors General for my work on behalf of the Commonwealth of Virginia on the Abbott Laboratories Investigative Team.  15th Annual Awards Ceremony  

The following are links to some of the cases I investigated and litigated while at the OAG:  

In 2013, I left the OAG and opened a law practice in Zion Crossroads, Virginia with my husband, Michael Winget-Hernandez.  Michael also has a background in complex civil litigation, and together we combine our unique perspectives and talents to provide excellent legal representation and compassionate and personal service to our clients. 

We won the Business of the Year Award from the Fluvanna Chamber of Commerce in 2017 and the Reader’s Choice Best Law Firm Award from the Rural Virginian in 2019. 

I am a Certified Elder Law Attorney, one of only nineteen attorneys in Virginia who have earned this certification, and I serve on the Board of Directors of the Virginia Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

I am an E-500 RYT certified yoga instructor. I enjoy reading, working in the yard and riding the Peloton in my free time. I am happiest when I am with my husband, our children and our pets – having my own law practice and working with my husband and family allows me to indulge my love of the law and my love for my family each and every day.  I feel incredibly fortunate to have the life and the law practice that I have built with Michael and my family.