Yes, Really, You Need a Will

Orange Sunset on beach

Yes, Really, You Need a Will No one really likes to think about what happens with their stuff, or “their estate,” once they pass. But we need to—because our family really needs us to figure all this out ahead of time. Why? Because they’re going to be sad and grief stinks. Folks often say to […]

Best Law Firm in Front Royal: Get in the Ring

Rockstar singing at concert

Best Law Firm in Front Royal: Get in the Ring It’s time for law firm small town smash-down! Stepping in with law degrees from Stuffy and Toney, with associates laboring in the gallows . . . yeah, just kidding. This reminds me of the Guns N’ Roses album (the second from Use Your Illusions) which […]

Bankruptcy Law in Front Royal​

Sunset in Front Royal Virginia

Bankruptcy Law in Front Royal The neat thing about this title is it begs a question: what do you mean, “bankruptcy law in Front Royal?” Or to be more specific, who offers bankruptcy solutions and representation to both businesses and consumers anywhere near Front Royal? The short answer: almost no one. Until now. There are […]

A New Family Lawyer in Front Royal

Jarvis Law Office sign

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 […]

Who I Am: A Short Walk with the Managing Member

Elaine Jarvis moving to Front Royal

Who I Am: A Short Walk with the Managing Member  I was swimming laps last night. I have always tried to swim, at a minimum, my age. I turned 50 last year, and we got a late start on the pool, so I didn’t have much time. The pool monitor shooed us out of the […]

Why Jarvis Law PLLC? Fiction Meets Real Life

Man Thinking in court

The other day I read an article in the Wall Street Journal about lawyers fighting over the copyright for “Best Lawyers” lists. Apparently, so and so used the phrase “Best” or “Top” with “Lawyers” and they think that it’s wrong for anyone else to make a list of their favorite lawyers. This made me laugh really hard. As Shinedown says in their song “I’ll Follow You,” next they’re gonna “trademark the color blue.”

Startups, Deadlines and Commitments

Jarvis Law Office HQ

In my last blog, I told a story about a basketball game that got me jammed up on a deadline. Some memories are forever linked in your mind. For me, a late night spent writing summons the specter of time, which has always seemed a variable thing to me. I move fast almost all the time, so like any other marathon runner, I know when I have to keep a pace and stick to it for a certain length of time. For my marathons, that time was about five hours, nothing to brag about, but I didn’t care after I finished each one.

Start-Up Law Firms and Chris Webber Stories from 1993

Michael Jordan Playing Basketball

It’s a Saturday, the day before Mother’s Day. I’m free to work, more or less. It’s a gloomy day in May. It’s rained since Thursday. The creek is running and the walkway up from our driveway is sinking. We live on a mountain, so the water runs downhill and the walkway gets flooded as often as New Orleans gets sacked by hurricanes.

Amanda Chaillan

Senior Adviser, Business

Amanda Chaillan earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in English from Chapman University in 2008. Her collegiate study focused on intercultural and global relations, including a research semester at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic and a semester of study at Georgetown University, Washington, DC. She also completed an Executive Certificate in Strategic Management from the Harvard Extension School in 2017.

Amanda’s career has always been at the intersection of nonprofits, business and government. Focused on delivering positive impact, she has helped build organizations, develop business strategies and craft messaging that advances the work of visionaries and leaders that are shaping the world. She played a critical role in marketing and practice integration for the energy sector group of a global law firm, led engagement with legal counsel and the Board of Directors to establish and facilitate strategic planning for the launch of a water-focused nonprofit, and has led program teams addressing a range of corporate social responsibilities (CSR) issues.  

Amanda brings her business acumen and operational expertise to every engagement, drawing on her particular strengths in stakeholder engagement, program development and storytelling. She is committed to continuing to build a career of service and working to make a positive impact on the world.

Tarra Smeltzer

Office Manager

Tarra Smeltzer has constructed a career that builds on her passion for personal wellness and strong business ethics. She brings a big heart and incredible attention to detail to every role she takes on. Whether it’s supporting customers or working with colleagues, she is a doer and fixer, helping manage cases, fostering a collaborative culture and trouble-shooting operational and legal issues.

With more than 30 years of customer service experience, Tarra manages the trial and team schedules and coordinates office operations to deliver the best outcomes for Jarvis clients. She also brings research skills and issue experience in the areas of real estate, consumer and family law.

Tarra is a vital member of the Jarvis team, and a caring champion of clients. In her free time she enjoys hiking in the Shenandoah Valley, reading and spending time with her loving family.

Madeline Farris


A student at the College of William & Mary, Madeline Farris is a Classics Major who plans to follow in the footsteps of Mrs. Jarvis as a lawyer and an author. Ever since the age of 12, Madeline has been writing: with six complete novels, Madeline is determined to publish her work, but she loves her work at Jarvis Law, where she is able to crack fascinating cases and help good people. Madeline figures in a leadership position in her campus’s Unitarian Universalist ministry, and also works at the Williamsburg Unitarian Universalist Church as the Childcare Coordinator.

Madeline has experience in the nonprofit and legal aid sectors: she worked with Mrs. Jarvis as Mrs. Jarvis’s intern while Mrs. Jarvis was still a staff attorney at Blue Ridge Legal Services, and also worked with Valley Assistance Network from 2019-2020 as an intern, where she was able to help connect struggling people with necessary resources.

Madeline is also the stepdaughter of a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI), so she is studying to obtain her light sport pilots license, for as Leonardo Da Vinci once said, “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”

Madeline’s favorite areas of law are family, consumer protection, and business law. She enjoys finding odd solutions to difficult problems, and assisting wonderful souls in a world that is sometimes unforgiving and cruel. Madeline’s hobbies include playing the clarinet, taking long walks in nature, and talking to her vivacious pet goldfish, Bertie.

Joshua Smeltzer


Joshua Smeltzer obtained a Bachelor of Science in Philosophy from James Madison University in 2022, following his service with the U.S. Army. He is a compassionate and committed public servant building a career that draws on his strong communication, research and management skills.

Josh seeks out opportunities that require critical thinking and creative solutions to address the complex challenges faced by clients. As a lead researcher, he dives deep into an issue to inform the legal strategy of the Jarvis team. He has led research on legal issues including consumer law, real estate, family law and estate planning.

Josh is a dedicated family man and proud member of the Shenandoah Valley community. In his free time, Josh enjoys physical activities and indulging in a new book.

Elaine Jarvis

Elaine Jarvis obtained her law degree from the Marshall Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary in 1997. She practiced law in D.C. and Northern Virginia for several years, obtaining experience in litigation, antitrust, mergers & acquisitions, bankruptcy and contract law. She put the practice of law on hold for a bit to raise three children and run multiple businesses, with a focus on publishing and helping non-profits. Over the course of a decade, Elaine wrote ten novels and built a social media following of more than 50,000 people with her page and blog, Running from Hell with El. Her first two novels, Ripple: a Tale of Hope and Redemption and I Run: a Novel won awards and hit Amazon bestseller’s list at #1 and #2.

In 2015, Elaine moved from Fairfax County to the mountains of Front Royal and found her love for the practice of law rekindled. She joined Blue Ridge Legal Services, Inc. (BRLS) in Winchester, where she helped low-income clients in Frederick County, Clarke County, Front Royal, Shenandoah and Page County–and all parts in between. These clients faced legal issues in consumer law, bankruptcy, landlord/tenant, and estate planning. At BRLS, Elaine counted success as roofs kept over heads and clients saved from overwhelming threats to their survival. Leaving BRLS and her office mates was hard, but being able to help folks in Northern Virginia, Manassas, Winchester, the Valley and of course Front Royal while also focusing on complex fact patterns, small businesses, and aggrieved consumers makes for a journey into an exciting future. Elaine’s outside interests include writing, flying airplanes, hiking, adventuring, gardening and piloting things that go fast and land gently. She enjoys running and traveling from mountain to ocean and just about anywhere in between—as long as she can escape the city. She welcomes people from all faith traditions, ethnic backgrounds, genders, and personal belief systems to her practice.