We Protect your Waterfront, Maritime, and Environmental Rights
Over 30 years of experience defending Virginians who live, work, and play on the water.

Who We Serve

Virginia Residents

Residential cases directly impact the riparian and littoral rights of waterfront property owners. Whether you’re looking to build a pier on your property or need help dredging a waterway to access the water again, Jim Lang’s advanced legal degree in environmental law, the decades of legal experience built up by the four attorneys on the Pender & Coward  Waterfront Law Team, and the team’s experience working with the Virginia Marine Resources Commission and other regulatory agencies, equips them with the hard-earned know-how that helps their clients clear up waterfront land development legal issues.

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Commercial Representatives

Your company has a lot on the line when acquiring commercial or industrial waterfront real estate.  You need a trusted, knowledgeable legal advisor for that and also when something comes up that threatens your ability to operate your waterfront business in the face of environmental and other types of challenges.  Our four-attorney Waterfront Law Team, backed by the strength of the Pender & Coward law firm, has decades-long experience in federal and state courts, in federal and state agencies, local boards and commissions, and  negotiating deals between private parties.

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Do you know your rights?

Piers and Docks

Building a Pier or Dock for Your Virginia Waterfront Property


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Oyster Aquaculture

Oyster Planting Ground Leases, Floating and Bottom Cages


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Virginia Wetlands Compliance and Provisions


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Poultry Farms

Industrial Farming Along the Eastern Shore


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Waterfront Land Development

Environmental Law Legal Services for Development


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Waterfront Property

Commercial and Residential Buildings on the Waterfront


Our Team is Here to Help You



Our Experienced Team of Attorneys

Jim Lang and his team at Pender & Coward, P.C. work hard to protect the rights of Virginians who live, work, and play on the 3,285 square miles of water in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Jim and his team have decades of experience taking care of people like you throughout Virginia in all matters related to waterfront (riparian) property rights,
maritime & admiralty law, and environmental law.


In The Community

Going the extra mile. For Jim Lang, his fellow attorneys, and staff members at Pender & Coward, P.C., this Restore the Shore community service project was the natural next step in a more than three-year highly successful legal effort to clear an inlet of some 30 hulking, rusting vessels. Watch the video below to learn the story of the Restore The Shore Project.

"Jim's maritime background was really essential to putting this all together."

- Bob Kerr, Kerr Environmental Services

Commonly Asked Waterfront Law Questions



What are Riparian Rights in Virginia?

 Riparian rights is a legal system that allocates the right to use water and bottomland among owners of waterfront property. Our experienced team of attorneys can help you navigate your riparian rights under Virginia law. Owning waterfront property is no small investment, and all waterfront property owners are purchasing their property and the riparian property rights that come with it.




How Do I Build a Pier in Virginia?

A common reason for living on the water is so property owners can have access to deeper water through a pier. Building a pier may seem simple, but there are a variety of disputes that can arise and hinder construction. Our team shares the common pitfalls that waterfront property owners face when pier building.




How Do I Use Riparian Rights to Establish a Riparian Area?

A riparian area is unique to each waterfront property. Under Virginia law, only a Court can establish the riparian area for a waterfront property. This process can be quite extensive and complicated. Learn more about the requirements waterfront property owners must meet to establish their riparian area.




Do I Control What Happens on the Water at My Waterfront Property on a Creek, River, Bay or Shore of the Sea?

Waterfront property owners must depend on bottomland ownership if they want to control the water on their waterfront property. For properties on a creek, river, bay, or shore of the sea, the requirements for bottomland ownership may differ. Learn more about how bottomland ownership can impact your riparian rights, and how to navigate it.



Recent Articles Written By Jim Lang and The Team

Jim Lang and his team are published authors and thought leaders in waterfront (riparian) property rights law, maritime & admiralty law, and environmental law.
Waterfront Law Team Supports Lynnhaven River NOW
Waterfront Law Team Supports Lynnhaven River NOW
On Saturday, March 11, the Waterfront Law Team volunteered with Lynnhaven River NOW to support a waterway cleanup at West Neck Creek in Virginia Beach. Read the full article.
A New Tool to Manage Eastern Shore Groundwater Usage
A New Tool to Manage Eastern Shore Groundwater Usage
Our team has closely followed the evolution of groundwater regulations on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, with a particular focus on the impact upon the limited groundwater supplies caused by the numerous large poultry operations which make up a majority of Accomack County’s economic base. Read the full article.
Waterfront Law Team Supports the Virginia Lakes and Watersheds Association’s Bi-Annual Virginia Dam Owner Training Seminar
Waterfront Law Team Supports the Virginia Lakes and Watersheds Association’s Bi-Annual Virginia Dam Owner Training Seminar
The Virginia Lakes and Watersheds Association asked Waterfront Law Team attorney, Jim Lang, to teach at its all-day seminar in Richmond for dam owners in Virginia, held on March 4, 2023. Read the full article.

Contact Our Team of Experienced Lawyers

Fill in the information (to the right) to reach Jim Lang and his team.


Contact Jim Lang

Email: jlang@pendercoward.com

Phone: (757) 502-7326.


Maritime Emergency?

Call or text Tom Berkley 24 hours a day

Phone: (757) 572-2657