I dealt with Van most closely when he was studying to become a lawyer, because I was then dean of William & Mary Law School. He was an able student and a very constructive citizen of our close-knit academic community. Van was also a constant source of good cheer. Law students—and lawyers—who brighten a room when they enter, rather than shrouding it in gloom or acrimony—are treasures.
Family law in all its dimensions, from a sharp focus on child welfare through the most hostile divorce, requires lawyers who know the relevant legal rules and apply them skillfully in dogged pursuit of their clients’ goals. But family law also benefits enormously from lawyers who care more deeply about the welfare of other people than the size of their fees, who are experienced peace-makers as well as experienced warriors, and who understand that compromise and settlement often beat “tooth and claw” litigation when it comes to the best interests of the failed family.
I believe Van Smith meets the criteria just sketched. It follows, in my judgment, that his views on family law are well worth attention.
Excerpt from William & Mary President W. Taylor Reveley III's foreword in attorney Van Smith's new book on Divorce & Custody in Virginia.W. Taylor Reveley, III, President, William & Mary