A New Family Lawyer in Front Royal

So I appeared before Judge Daryl Funk today on a brief motion and he asked where I was from, or whether I had appeared before him in Juvenile and Domestic Relations General District Court in Warren County.

I kind of chuckled because Judge Funk and I have met several times but I know he’s a busy man who sees lots of faces, and I am, in a way, new to Front Royal—in a very limited way. As in I have a new office in town. And I like Judge Funk. He’s a likeable guy who wears dapper hats outside of court. His hats and his southern linen seersucker suit jackets say to me, “I adorn an interesting man.”

I said, “I’m not new here, Your Honor, but it’s good to see you. I came from Winchester. Legal Aid. Before that, worked in DC.” I waved my hand. “Defended the likes of Enron and PG&E.”

I grinned. It was almost a wolfish grin because I know he gets why I left off working for big businesses like PG&E. He’s seen Erin Brockovich, as have most people my age. That’s the movie about the legal clerk (played by Julia Roberts) who goes after the bad company who puts bad stuff in people’s water—and wins.

“Bet that’s good for the soul,” he said.

I put a hand to my heart, smiled, and nodded.

“And you have an office here, in Front Royal?”

“29 Crescent Street, sure do.”

Entrance to Jarvis Law Office

He gave me a look of recognition. He knows my office because the last great female family attorney, Nancie Williams, called this address home before stepping into judicial office. In fact, she will be hearing cases starting July 1st here in Warren County JD&R, and when I say she’s a great family attorney, I’m being honest—not trying to gain favor.

“Ah, he said, someone moving to Front Royal—there’s too few attorneys doing that, usually they’re moving away, it’s good to have you.”

“Thanks Your Honor. I live here too—we live on High Knob,” I added. Sometimes I get chatty like this, it’s really just my personality.

“How long you been here?”

“Since 2015,” I said.

Jarvis Law Office sign

He nodded, smiled, and then gave the opposing party, who was unrepresented, the attention she was due. Judges, like lawyers, have a duty of collegiality and a duty to be helpful (well, sort of—lawyers have to zealously represent their clients, and judges need to give unbiased information but not legal advice to unrepresented parties, but both judges and lawyers have at least a moral duty to be decent to other people as far as I see it).

I sat at counsel table and thought about what one of my friends said about practicing family law in Front Royal. The fact is that with Nancie and the firm she led leaving our town, there is a hole in services available. That’s not why I chose to open an office here. I live 12 minutes from 29 Crescent Street and I’m fond of my shorter commute. And this is my town. These are my people. And they deserve good counsel.

There may not be a lot of lawyers that provide family law, particularly female lawyers, left here. But Jarvis Law PLLC at 29 Crescent Street is open for business.

Julia Roberts Smiling

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