Politico Magazine has published a very good
story about the rebirth of Roanoke's downtown and its
transformation from a railroad ghost town to a vibrant, outdoorsy,
commented before about how the changing economy in cities like
Charlottesville and Roanoke would change the legal community as
well as the reputation and docket in the Western District of
Virginia. Just as UVa has played a large role in
Charlottesville's "innovation" economy, Roanoke's
economic growth is fueled in large part by nearby Virginia Tech and
its investment in the new medical school and neuroscience
institute. This technology driven growth means that the Western
District of Virginia will continue to see more complex business
litigation and intellectual property related disputes.
On a personal note, this sentence in the article's lede took
me by surprise: "A decade ago, the U.S. Census counted 15
people living in Roanoke's downtown." It seems I was one
of those 15 people. Actually, it was more than a decade ago,
while clerking for Judge Wilson, I lived in a small apartment a
couple blocks away from the federal courthouse, close to Center on
the Square. Back then, most people thought I was crazy to live
downtown, but now I look like a trendsetter!
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