William J.

William J. "West" Ritchie

Attorney
William J. Play
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  • Profile
Bio

Practice Areas

Professional Memberships

  • Florida Bar
  • Escambia County Bar Association
  • Santa Rosa County Bar Association

Education

  • University of Southern Mississippi
    • Undergraduate Degree in Music and Education
  • University of Alabama
    • Master’s Degree in Public Health
  • Cumberland School of Law
    • Juris Doctorate

Personal Accolades

  • United States USTU, WTF Red Belt Champion (1994)
  • 2nd Degree Black Belt in TKD (Korea)

William J. “West” Ritchie is a managing attorney for The Virga Law Firm’s Pensacola office. He is well-versed in storm and hurricane insurance claims, construction defect litigation, BP oil spill claims, and insurance defense litigation. He also has 30 years of Family Law and Divorce experience. Mr. Ritchie has represented clients in the Panhandle for the past 28 years. Some of his current practice areas include Hurricane claims, Construction Defect Litigation, B.P. claims, and Insurance Defense Litigation. After Hurricane Michael devastated the Florida Panhandle in October 2018, he got right to work to hear the stories of claimants who needed to file homeowners’ insurance claims but did not know where to begin. 

Growing up in Alabama as the 12th child in a family of 14 children, Mr. Ritchie learned the importance of togetherness and community involvement at an early age. This lesson would prove to be integral to his development into adulthood, pointing him to the path of becoming an attorney.

Ever since he received his law degree from the Cumberland School of Law, Mr. Ritchie knew he wanted to help people in need and in tricky legal situations. As a lawyer with The Virga Law Firm in Florida, he is able to continue his career focus by contributing to family law/divorce, criminal, bankruptcy, and insurance law cases our law firm accepts. In terms of family law and divorce cases, he has personal insight, having gone through a difficult divorce and child custody case himself some years ago. He uses that experience to relate to his clients and guide them through their family law dispute with confidence.

Mr. Ritchie often says his career highlight arose during a criminal defense case. He was defending a client who could have been sentenced to 20 years imprisonment with no chance of early release. After a hard-fought legal battle, the jury was convinced his client acted in self-defense and returned a not guilty verdict.

Recently, Mr. Ritchie has sat on the Board of Directors of many civic organizations in his area. He believes in using his skills and education to help improve the lives of others, and such seats give him this great opportunity.

  • Great service, very eager to help and fight for me in court.

    “I will definitely be recommending to anyone I know that needs a child custody or divorce attorney!”

    - A Divorce Client
  • He's a man of integrity and is willing to go above and beyond to get the results needed.

    “If you are looking for an attorney who is professional, honest, knowledgeable and responsive to your needs, Gerard Virga meets such requirements.”

    - A Divorce Client
  • He was a straight shooter and listened to my wants.

    “He responded to my messages promptly and I never felt rushed when speaking with him in meetings and phone conversations.”

    - A Divorce Client
  • He listened carefully to what I said.

    “He answered in a way that helped me understand the law better.”

    - A Divorce Client
  • Gerard is smarter than 95% of people I know, including lawyers.

    “Gerard is smarter than 95% of people I know, including lawyers. His intelligence combined with his work ethic make him an extremely effective advocate. Gerard is the kind of evil genius I'd want on my ...”

    - Adam Ellis, Litigation Lawyer
  • Gerard is a brilliant attorney and he's the one you want on your side!

    “Truly he is one of the smartest people I have met. I have found Gerard very knowledgeable on law and legal procedure, and am extremely impressed by his ability to devise and execute an aggressive ...”

    - Rusty Shepard, Criminal Defense Attorney
  • Mr. Virga treated me with professionalism and fought my case well!

    “This lawyer treated me with professionalism, and fought for my case. His staff was excellent and Mr. Virga had an excellent understanding of the law. Mr. Virga also was a very real person, and not ...”

    - A Divorce Client
  • The clients I refer to Mr. Virga are always satisfied with and complimentary of his services.

    “I regularly refer family law and civil litigation cases to Mr. Virga because of his skill and knowledge of those areas of law. The clients I refer to Mr. Virga are always satisfied with and ...”

    - Joseph Turner, Criminal Defense Attorney
  • Mr. Virga not only accepted me as a client, but he took my case to heart.

    “Mr. Virga represented me in a litigation matter. Mr. Virga not only accepted me as a client, but he took my case to heart. Mr. Virga developed and executed a masterful legal strategy that pummeled my ...”

    - A Litigation Client
  • It was a blessing for me to have Gerard on my side during the divorce!

    “It was a blessing for me to have Gerard on my side during the divorce. He was available for me when I had questions, at any time. My divorce was fast and I got what I was supposed to get. I did not ...”

    - Visi, A Divorce Client
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