The concept of writing an introductory blog is straightforward, but it can soon lead down a rabbit hole of self-examination and reflection.
I was not always so confident that I wanted to be a Virginia criminal defense lawyer or a personal injury lawyer. My initial exposure to the law was as a defendant in a civil suit. Involved in a two-car accident on a stormy summer night in high school, I was surprised to see the Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Deputy at my door many months after my case had been dismissed in traffic court. Served? Lawsuit? Twenty-One Days to File a Response? My head was swimming and once the confusion subsided, fantasies of representing myself and being a John Grisham-style natural in the courtroom took over. That thought was quickly dismissed by the deputy, who reminded me to notify my insurance company right now. I did and they took over from there.
Weeks later I was contacted by a local Fredericksburg firm and they invited me to their office to give a statement about the accident. Hired by the insurance company, I was their client too, and they treated me as such. Much to the delight of a high school student contemplating his college major the next fall, the entire process was explained to me as if it was an assignment I would be working on. Soon I was presented with discovery to answer, which felt like extra homework without the benefit of extra credit at times, and my deposition was taken. The confidence, professionalism, and ability of both my attorneys as well as the plaintiff's attorney made a lasting impression. Years later, I looked back on those events fondly and decided to investigate law as a career. To my surprise, both firms agreed to allow me to shadow their attorneys for one-week externships, in which I sat in on client meetings, did some legal research, and went to court. It was an amazing experience that instilled in me humble beginnings of the qualities necessary to practice law in this great Commonwealth.
This blog post was written by Thomas Soldan. He is admitted to practice in Virginia. With offices in Leesburg and Warrenton, he represents clients charged with Virginia DUI and Virginia reckless driving, reckless driving charges.