Samuel T. Bernier


804-503-7488 (D)

Sam Bernier concentrates his practice on the defense of health care providers in medical negligence actions and licensing matters. He also works regularly with health care providers and constitutional officers responding to section 1983 civil rights claims. Sam has additional experience defending other complex civil matters, such as products liability, toxic tort, premises liability, and employment cases. He has been named to the list of Virginia Super Lawyers Rising Stars list each year since 2016.

Sam began his legal career as the pro se law clerk to then U.S. Magistrate Judge Honorable M. Hannah Lauck (now a U.S. District Judge) at the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.  There he supported Judge Lauck and four District Court judges on section 1983 civil rights claims brought pro se by incarcerated individuals, and both federal and state writs of habeas corpus.  Before law school, Sam worked as the Environmental Code Compliance Officer for Essex County, Virginia, assisting builders and home owners to comply with the Chesapeake Bay Act and other conservation regulations.

Sam is a veteran of both the United States Marine Corps infantry and the Hawaii Army National Guard infantry.  From January 2005 to January 2006, he deployed to Baghdad, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  While in Iraq, he earned the Army Commendation Medal and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.


  • University of Richmond, TC Williams School of Law (JD – cum laude)
    • McNeill Writing Competition, Winner – 2010 & 2011
    • Journal of Law and Technology, Associate Articles Editor
  • Hawaii Pacific University (BA – Environmental Studies)


  • Medical Malpractice Defense
  • Health Care Licensing
  • Employment
  • Premises Liability
  • Products Liability
  • Toxic Tort
  • Local Government Defense
  • Local Government Employee Defense

Bar Admissions:

  • Supreme Court of Virginia
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia


  • Samuel T. Bernier, et al., Theories of Recovery and Defenses, in Medical Malpractice Law in Virginia (Malcolm P. McConnell, III ed., 4th Ed. 2017)
  • Samuel T. Bernier, et al., Negotiation and Settlement, in Medical Malpractice Law in Virginia (Malcolm P. McConnell, III ed., 4th Ed. 2017)
  • Death to Dying Declarations: The Case for Killing a Hearsay Exception, 29 J. Civ. Litig. 197 (2017)
  • Is All of Your Electronic Patient Information Secure?, Virginia Dental Journal (October 2013).
  • Comment, SexTual Healing: Solving the Teen-to-Teen Sexting Problem in Virginia, 14 RICH. J.L. & PUB. INT. 357 (2010).

Professional Honors, Affiliations & Activities:


  • Member – Defense Research Institute


  • Member – Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys
    • Board of Directors – Membership Chair (2019-present)
    • Member – 2020 Annual Meeting Committee
    • Member – 2018 (50th Anniversary) Annual Meeting Committee
    • Medical Malpractice Section Chair (2017-2018)
    • Medical Malpractice Section Vice-Chair (2016-2017)
  • Member – Virginia Chapter of the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management


  • Member – Henrico County Bar Association
    • Director, 2019–present
  • Member – Richmond Bar Association
  • Member – John Marshall American Inn of Court
  • President – Colonies Swim & Tennis Club, Henrico, Virginia
  • Secretary – Wilde Lake Association, Henrico, Virginia
  • Den Leader & Pack Committee Member – Cub Scout Pack 747, Short Pump, Virginia
  • Coach – Tuckahoe YMCA Youth Soccer

Honors and Awards:

  • Virginia Super Lawyers Rising Stars list, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

Presentations and Speaking Engagements:

  • Henrico County Bar Association legislative Update, with Jeff Miller, Esq., Sen. Dunnavant, Sen. McClellan, Del. VanValkenburg, & Del. Willett, November 15, 2020
  • “Legislative Update,” with Stephen Marshall, Esq., 2020 VADA Annual Meeting, October 14, 2020
  • “Defending Improper Informed Consent Claims v. Technical Battery Claims,” with Matthew Kelley, Esq. and Nathan Moberley, Esq., 2020 VADA Spring Sections Seminar, May 14, 2020
  • “Health Care Law,” Annual Lecture at Eastern Virginia Medical School to Physician Assistant students, 2019 – present
  • “How to Try a Case in General District Court,” with Madelaine Kramer, Esq., 2018 VADA Young Lawyers Boot Camp, December 7, 2018
  • “A Beer Before, And A Beer After: The Effects of The 2012 Legislative Changes on the Craft Beer Industry,” with Hon. Jennifer McClellan and Porter Hardy, JD, 2018 VADA Annual Meeting, October 12, 2018