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John Hawthorne

Mr. Hawthorne heads the Real Estate and Land Use practice at Protorae Law.  He maintains an extensive transactional practice which includes matters with a specific emphasis on the leasing of commercial real estate, sales and purchases of commercial real estate, commercial financing and the development of commercial real estate.  Such matters have included the negotiation of complex purchase and sale transactions and leases involving historic buildings, franchises, restaurants, church properties, retail establishments, multi-party leasing arrangements and tenancy in common agreements.

Mr. Hawthorne has a particular concentration in the handling of complex real estate matters in ongoing litigation disputes.  He advises clients throughout complex commercial real estate litigation matters with a primary focus on easement and boundary line disputes, injunctions preventing the sale and encumbrance of real estate, complex commercial landlord-tenant disputes and other various contractual disputes involving the leasing and ownership of real estate.

In addition to his legal representation, Mr. Hawthorne has spoken at various state bar and chamber functions as well as continuing legal education classes focusing on commercial leasing, land use and commercial real estate litigation.  He is an Area Representative and Chair of the Commercial Real Estate Committee of the Virginia State Bar’s Real Estate Section, serves as Vice Chair of the Real Estate Practice Section of the Fairfax Bar Association, and is a member of the Real Estate Section of the Virginia Bar Association.  He is licensed to appear before all Virginia state courts, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Mr. Hawthorne graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. He earned his law degree from George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School where he served as chief justice of the Moot Court Board and was a student member of the George Mason American Inn of Court.

Mr. Hawthorne lives in Fairfax County with his wife and three children.

Representative Matters


Northern Virginia Real Estate Investors

  • Representation of numerous small business real estate investors who purchase real estate through the open market and foreclosure sales
  • Representation includes general advice on the purchase and sale of real estate through foreclosure, unlawful detainer proceedings, counsel at settlements, negotiation of purchase and sale contracts, lease negotiations and representation of various civil claims related to the investment of real estate

Northern Virginia Real Estate Investors

  • Representation of owners of existing businesses in the Commonwealth who engage in passive and exclusive matters involving real estate
  • Provide counsel to such business people who purchase real estate for their existing business or provide loans to existing employees secured by purchase money liens

Property Manager / Real Estate Brokerage

  • General counsel for a Northern Virginia real estate brokerage and affiliated property management company
  • Representation in all general transactions and disputes including unlawful detainer actions, contract negotiations and general broker matters

Bender v. Shawver, Fairfax County Circuit Court, 2012

  • Represented a defendant residential owner in a declaratory action over the existence of an easement across the Defendant’s real estate; obtained favorable settlement for the Defendant which included a vacation of the alleged easement

Hansen v. Franks, et al, Prince William County Circuit Court, 2010

  • Represented plaintiff in an injunction to prevent the foreclosure of real property owned by the plaintiff
  • Sought to enjoin creditor from foreclosing for failure to bring non-judicial foreclosure action within the time periods prescribed by the Code of Virginia

Little v. Loer, Gloucester County Circuit Court, 2011

  • Representation of descendant owners of real property in Gloucester County, Virginia in an action to set aside lien and obtain damages for conversion of assets by former owner

Optimos v. Panthaki, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, 2006

  • Representation of California defendant in the personal jurisdiction portion of a contractual claim by Virginia company

Jackson v. NFCU, Fairfax County Circuit Court, 2006

  • Represented plaintiff in an action for temporary injunction to prevent the wrongful foreclosure of real property owned by the plaintiff
  • Obtained temporary injunction for plaintiff without the posting of a bond by the plaintiff

Speaking Engagements and Seminars

  • Contracts Gone Bad: The Litigator’s Wish List for Transactional Lawyers,” Virginia State Bar Annual Meeting, Virginia Beach, VA, June 19, 2015.
  • “Commercial Real Estate From A to Z,” National Business Institute Seminar, Fairfax, VA, June 1, 2015.
  • “Legal Aspects of Navigating the Leasing Environment of the Post-Metro Tysons Corner Market,” TysonsRegional™ Chamber of Commerce Fireside Chat, Tysons, VA, June 18, 2014.
  • “Commercial Leases: Negotiating Key Provisions,” Lecturer, Fairfax, VA, September 30, 2013.
  • “The Decision to Litigate,” Arnold & Porter LLP, Guest Speaker at Roundtable Breakfast Series, McLean, VA, November 6, 2008.
  • Lecturer, Presentations and Seminars educating real estate brokers on various real estate topics involving the sale of residential and commercial real estate, 2003-Present.

Honors and Awards

  • 2018 – 2015 Virginia Legal Elite – Real Estate/Land Use, Virginia Business