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Q & A with Attorney H. Van Smith -- By Brittany DeVries
Smith Strong PLC Founder H. Van Smith dishes on his new book, The Ultimate Guide to Divorce and Custody in Virginia: Quickly Get Back to Fully Living Your Life. Learn about the family law Gordian knot, Van’s perfect client consultation and the real meaning behind legal strength as we get the inside scoop behind the pages of Van’s brainchild.
Where did you find inspiration for your new book, The Ultimate Guide to Divorce and Custody in Virginia: Quickly Get Back to Fully Living Your Life?
My inspiration for my new book came after meeting with 125 family law clients over the course of 2012. I began thinking that, through no fault of my clients or my own, some consultations went better than others. This was often because the clients came in with a Gordian knot of emotion that had to be untangled and straightened out. I was simply the first person they had opened up to about the failure of their marriage or the custody of their children.
What did you find was the best approach towards handling those emotions as a family law attorney?
I found that those emotions had to be addressed before the legal questions could be answered. Those emotions ranged from deeply felt sorrow, anger, and frustration to bewilderment and feeling overwhelmed. So, I began thinking, what if I wrote a book where I had the perfect consultation?
Okay, and how would this perfect consultation play out?
Think of it this way. What if we were able to set aside the emotion of the moment and think critically and calmly about the legal proceedings that lay before this person? Ideally, it would be like having coffee with someone I care deeply about. That person is about to face a divorce or custody situation and wants to know from me how to get organized and sort through the process. This conversation would be honest, frank, thorough and a candid inside look at the basics of divorce and custody actions in Virginia. In the end, that person could leave the meeting with calm assurance that the case was going to meet his or her goals.
And, that is where your book comes in?
What was the writing process like for you?
I began writing this book in December 2012. Many people wonder how I found time to write this book, as I was only in my tenth month of my new law firm at the time. I would take off on Friday afternoons and write in my home office. I would write at night after I put our new baby to sleep. I would write on Saturday mornings at first light to get as much down as I could.
I found the experience cathartic because as I wrote, I pictured in my mind various faces of those 125 people that I had met over the course of 2012. And so, I began talking with them again in a way that I hadn't then…in a way that I eventually did but the conversation occurred in subsequent meetings.
What are the main points introduced and discussed in the book?
The book not only introduces the basic concepts of family law in Virginia, but it also introduces these prospective clients to the unique way my firm, Smith Strong, PLC, handles these cases.
First, we try to surround each client with a client services specialist, paralegal, and attorney.
We then try to outline the most cost-effective way to reach the goal for their representation in that first meeting.
Finally, we go about solving their legal problem as cost-effectively as we can by developing systems that quickly and efficiently accomplish the day's assignments.
Collectively, this is what we mean when we say legal strength.
What is your vision for those picking up and reading your book for the first time?
I want this book to get into as many potential clients' hands as possible because I want them to walk into my office with a basic understanding of the divorce and custody process, so that a first meeting can take on the more complex aspects of their case.
I also want this to be a resource that my past clients and referral sources can give to friends and family members in the area, from Richmond to Williamsburg, who may be facing divorce or custody actions themselves.
What final words do you have for those seeking assistance in their divorce or custody case?
I would like you to tell them to please read this book and then if you have any further questions, you can reach me directly at 804.325.1245 or 757.941.4298 to schedule a meeting to sit down with me to discuss the matter further, confidentially.
Smith Strong, PLC looks forward to assisting our clients and their prospective clients that come into our world after reading this book. Thank you for reading!