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Joseph R. Mayes Williams Mullen Headshot

Joseph R. Mayes

Virginia Beach, VA
  • T.
  • 757.473.5339
  • F.
  • 757.473.0395

Joe Mayes is a partner in the Real Estate and Financial Services Section at Williams Mullen and has more than 35 years of experience in banking, bankruptcy, creditors’ rights and lender liability law. Mr. Mayes has represented national and regional banks and financial service companies in all aspects of the documentation of secured transactions, loan workouts and collateral recovery. He is a frequent lecturer on collateral recovery, foreclosure and repossession, and bankruptcy matters.

Mr. Mayes also has extensive experience with the registration and operation of timeshare resorts and the negotiation and documentation of vacation ownership receivables financing. He represented the original developer of The Powhatan Resort in Williamsburg, the first time-share project registered under the Virginia Time-Share Act, and has continued to represent developers in connection with the financing of projects and time-share receivables.

Mr. Mayes is a member of the Virginia State Bar, the American Bar Association and the Virginia Bar Association.  He is also a member of the Virginia Beach and Norfolk & Portsmouth Bar Associations. He is licensed to practice before the U.S. District Court, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. In addition, Mr. Mayes was on the board of directors of Lyric Opera of Virginia and has served as a trustee of Emmanuel Episcopal Church. He currently attends St. Andrews Episcopal Church.

Mr. Mayes is listed in The Best Lawyers in America® for Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law (2015-present), and in 2018, he was named the Best Lawyers® "Lawyer of the Year" for Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law in Norfolk. In 2012, he was listed as a “Super Lawyer” for banking law by Virginia Super Lawyers magazine. Since 2003, he has been listed in Virginia Business magazine’s “Legal Elite” for construction law, real estate law, and bankruptcy. In 2022, and again in 2023, Mr. Mayes was named a top lawyer in coastal Virginia in bankruptcy and creditors' rights by CoVa Biz Magazine.

Mr. Mayes received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of William & Mary. He received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Richmond School of Law, where he was a member of the McNeil Law Society and editor-in-chief of the University of Richmond Law Review.

Joe Mayes retired on May 31, 2024. 

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  • University of Richmond School of Law (J.D.), 1976
    • McNeil Law Society
    • University of Richmond Law Review, Editor-in-Chief
  • College of William & Mary (B.A.), 1970
Professional & Community Affiliations

Professional Affiliations

  • America Bar Association
  • Norfolk-Portsmouth Bar Association
  • Virginia Bar Association
  • Virginia Beach Bar Association

Community Involvements

  • Canterbury Center Foundation - Board of Directors
Bar & Court Admissions

Bar Admissions

  • Virginia State Bar

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Listed in "Legal Elite" by Virginia Business magazine (2003-present)

Listed in Virginia Super Lawyers magazine (2012)

The Best Lawyers in America® for Bankruptcy & Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency & Reorganization Law (2015-present)

Named the Norfolk "Lawyer of the Year” for Bankruptcy and Creditor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law by The Best Lawyers in America© (2018)

CoVa Biz Magazine - "Top Lawyers of Coastal Virginia," (2022-present)


  • Represented national lender in multi-year, multi-court complex litigation. The representation began in state court with an action by the lender to take possession of new and used automobiles that served as collateral for "floor plan" lending. The auto dealer counter-sued and raised business tort claims. The state court case was dismissed and the dealer moved to federal court and asserted new causes of action on the same claims.


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