With energy and confidence, and with a courtroom record comparable to those of much older lawyers, Alex Xanttopoulos, now in his mid-30s is emerging as one of Northern Virginia's standout young divorce attorneys. Now only eight years removed from law school, he is already a familiar presence in the courthouses of Northern Virginia - Fairfax, Arlington, Loudoun and Alexandria in particular - where he has demonstrated a unique aptitude for family-law litigation. He joined the firm of renowned matrimonial lawyer David Roop in 2010, and was named a partner in 2016. Xanttopoulos (pronounced Zan-TOP-a-lous) possesses many of the best qualities of an effective litigator: He's by all accounts ferociously competitive and he brings a to-the-point clarity to his communications. Moreover, he gained insight into the law earlier than most: His father spent a career as trial lawyer, both in California and Virginia, and his mother has held key corporate counsel positions with Bank of America. His uncle, too, was a United States attorney and civil litigator in South Florida. As such, "My family gave me a natural interest in the law. I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do long before most people."
Xanttopoulos and his two younger brothers grew up in Pleasanton, California, in the Bay Area; as a teen his family moved to Fairfax County. In high school he lettered in several sports; he ultimately graduated from Oakton High School. At The College of Charleston, he also played college athletics while earning a degree in business. After graduating he spent a year in Reno, Nevada, working in the office of Jones Vargas, at the time one of the largest law firms in the state (only 30 lawyers; it's since been merged with an Arizona firm.) The following year, already well familiar with South Florida, he entered the University of Miami law school, graduating near of the top of his class. He clerked for a prominent South Florida judge, and handled business tax matters for a firm in Coral Gables.
From the start, though, he naturally gravitated to trial advocacy and moot court exercises; law firms that recruited Xanttopoulos recognized his potential right away. He joined the respected Fairfax-based litigation and criminal practice, Greenspun Shapiro (formerly Greesnpun, Shapiro, Davis & Leary), where his superiors "threw me into the mix early, sending me to court almost every day. They wanted to see what you could do." Much of the work was related to criminal defense, and "going to court every day is what criminal defense lawyers do" A few of his early cases were divorce matters, and that work put him on the radar of Roop's expanding practice. Less than two years out of law school, Xanttopoulos already had valuable litigation experience, a rarity nowadays.
Today about 90% of Xanttopoulos's practice is dedicated to family law, with the rest derived from civil - and criminal - defense matters not infrequently related to domestic relations. His business background and experience in taxation, too, have been a big asset, as his cases grow more financially complex. In 2015 Xanttopoulos set legal precedent in a contentious Loudoun County Circuit Court case: He represented a would-be husband who wanted returned a $50,000 engagement ring after his fiancee broke things off. Last year an appellate court upheld the ruling in a related case in that the conditional gift - the ring - should indeed be returned, after "the breach of a promise to marry" - another sharp reminder that marriage agreements are no less a contract than any other these days.
Today Xanttopoulos, married with a young daughter, maintains an energetic pace, and his trajectory now suggests he'll be representing domestic-relations clients for years to come. Away from the courtroom he still plays basketball regularly, and, with his brothers and parents all nearby, "we're pretty good about looking after each other." He adds: "I feel fortunate - I've had great influences already in my career, and that's help make me an effective lawyer. My clients recognize that - and they appreciate it."