Duty, honor, country are sacrosanct for any West Point graduate. It’s no different for lawyer Matthew A. Kapinos, a former Army paratrooper and a U.S. Military Academy grad who advises veterans on a pro bono basis.
An Army brat, Kapinos lived all over before attending high school in Fairfax and graduating from West Point in 2001, just before the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. Assigned to the elite 82nd Airborne Division, Kapinos served combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Experience as a platoon leader and company executive officer was humbling. “You are in charge of the lives of people who are very impressive,” he says. “It was a great experience for someone pretty young.”
A bad parachute jump at a North Carolina base spelled the end of Kapinos’ military career. While serving in the Old Guard, the infantry regiment that serves at funerals at Arlington National Cemetery, he started Georgetown Law School at night.
His wife is from Chesterfield County, so he considered Richmond as a place to land. By chance he contacted John V. Cogbill III, a lawyer at McGuireWoods who also is a West Pointer. “I emailed him out of the blue,” Kapinos says. According to Cogbill, Kapinos was a leader in the Army and “is a leader among his legal peers.”
In short order, Kapinos was an associate at McGuire Woods specializing in energy issues. When he isn’t helping rear his daughter, 5 and son, 3, he works pro bono on veterans’ issues with the Virginia Bar Association and the Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary, helping veterans transition to civilian life.