At the Centre of It: David Warner

  • Centre Staff

What’s the biggest asset to Centre Law & Consulting? Easy answer: the people; in particular, our expert attorneys. As a firm, we have a wide range of practice areas and unique individuals who have become industry leaders in return. As we continue to grow and evolve it’s important that continue to highlight those who make this firm one of a kind. In this blog series “At the Centre of It” we’ll introduce you to our attorneys to better get to know them as professionals and behind the curtain as individuals! This week you’ll meet David Warner. He is a Partner at the firm and leads our  litigation team among many things.

What are your areas of expertise / practice areas?

I am a trial lawyer with expertise in complex employment and business disputes. A significant portion of my practice is counseling companies with respect to employment laws and the unique compliance obligations applicable to federal contractors. I lead Centre’s audit, investigation, and litigation practices.

What areas of your practice have you seen the most change in the last year or so?

COVID and the government response to COVID has had enormous impact on employers. Employment laws tend to evolve over time, but the last few years have seen significant legislative activity around paid sick leave, vaccination mandates, etc. Assisting employers to successfully navigate shifting federal, state, and local compliance obligations has been a major part of our employment practice over the last two years.    

How does your practice area align with your purpose? Both as an attorney and an individual?

Both as an attorney and an individual? As a young associate at Big Law, my colleagues and I used to joke during long hours that, “We live to serve.” Of course, what started as a joke became a guiding light for my professional career. The law is inherently a service business, and the ability to help clients overcome challenges to their own strategic goals – be it through counseling and negotiation or, when necessary, litigation – aligns with who I am as both attorney and individual.

What is the best part about what you do?

My clients. In an average year I’ll represent 100 different clients ranging from multi-national defense contractors, trade associations, nonprofit organization, to individual executives. The variety of industries and unique challenges each client faces keeps thing ever interesting. 

What areas of the law interest you the most? 

Most fascinating to me is the interplay of the law and media. Thanks to years of television shows and movies there is a massive disconnect between public perception of our judicial system and the actual nuts and bolts of how trials – particularly jury trials – actually work. I was in law school during the O.J. Simpson trial, and we all followed it closely. Ever since that media circus, I’ve been drawn to high profile cases and read pretty much everything I can find – mostly from law bloggers/video essayists – to follow the actual courtroom action. The difference between those “in the know” and those who “buy ink by the barrel” (or used to) can be staggering.

What is it about Centre that allows you to thrive as an attorney? How is Centre different from other firms?

Centre is free of constricting bureaucracy, which makes us an extremely entrepreneurial platform. While we focus our work in the government contracts industry, our attorneys are not hyper-specialized into niche issues. This permits us to have comprehensive understanding of our clients’ needs – i.e., seeing the forest for the trees. And our rates are much gentler … 

Who are you outside of work? Hobbies, interests, etc. How do you let your hair down! 

I’m father to three teenagers working their way through Fairfax County Public Schools. When I’m not shuttling swimmers around the Beltway timing swim meets (ed. “Doubles all-day on Lane 4!!”), I’m usually trying to get some exercise in via working in the yard or planning what I’m cooking for dinner. My two girls were in their schools’ Japanese immersion program and have great affinity for Japanese culture and food. A recent addition to the Warner Home is a table-top hibachi ( And, yes, it is possible to melt your outdoor table if you happen to put in too much charcoal. I figured I should note that before my wife does …   

Outside of work, what are the causes that you care about the most and how do you actively participate in those causes?

Having worked with our civil rights laws for more than a quarter century, I am fiercely protective of the standard of equal protection under the law and support multiple organizations that share that goal.  

What is one thing about you that may surprise people who only know you as an attorney?

I’m a natural introvert. My favorite place in the world is on my feet, in front of a jury, making a closing argument. Yet, I otherwise loathe being the center of attention.

What do you hope to achieve this year and beyond both at work and outside of work?

I’m hoping to continue Centre’s growth and the development of my associate colleagues’ skill sets and careers. P.s. Relatedly, we’re always in the market for lateral partners! Outside of work, it’s all keeping the kids in their lanes. A new driver and rising senior will keep things interesting, and I can see the “empty nest” from here!

If there was a quote, that you could repeat to yourself each day to help you show up as your best self and the best attorney for your clients, what would that quote be?

Elihu Root – “About half of the practice of a decent lawyer is telling would-be clients that they are damned fools and should stop.” While we need to be aggressive advocates, we also need to give our clients our unvarnished opinions. Otherwise, we fail them and our professional obligations.