By Anita L. Sherman
For the Rappahannock News
Professional office space is a sought after commodity in Washington. Being anchored on Main Street is indeed a rare find.
The building is old, the practice is relatively new, but the man behind the desk has history and that is making all the difference.
Richly appointed in dark woods and leather and bearing all the hallmarks of an established law firm, attorney Michael Brown manages the Rappahannock branch of Walker Jones, the largest and oldest firm in Fauquier County.
But many may remember the days when Doug Baumgardner occupied the space. Brown does.
More than two decades ago, he served in Rappahannock as a paralegal for Baumgardner while attending law school. Many, particularly realtors, will know Brown when he worked for a title company. All of that experience over the years, the opportunities to meet and get to know other attorneys in the area, and to forge relationships with local businessmen and residents came to a serendipitous moment in 2014 when a conversation with Mark Hyson at Walker Jones in Warrenton led to the establishment of a branch office with Brown at the helm. The timing was perfect says Brown, ”turned out that my desire to practice law in this area and their desire to open a branch office coincided.”
“I was so fortunate to have this opportunity,” says Brown. “My areas of expertise are in residential real estate, estate planning and business law. I don’t handle criminal law or family law but I work for a full service firm that does, so we can offer that.”
Brown’s world moves between Fauquier County (where he lives) and Rappahannock County (where he works). The drive in and the drive back afford him time to mentally prepare for the day ahead and decompress from the day finished.
“I’m here every day,” says Brown relishing in the serene yet dynamic ambiance that Washington provides.
Walker Jones serves several counties but the triangle of Fauquier, Rappahannock and Culpeper is an area that Brown is very familiar with.
“The counties are unique…there is a very different approach for each…it’s important to know the players,” says Brown who smiles readily these days.
“It’s great to practice out here, it’s a smaller group of attorneys, there is a greater collegial feel, it’s more civil and the courtroom and this town…it’s very traditional,” says Brown, again smiling, that he is the envy of his counterparts in Northern Virginia and beyond who frequent the county.
“There have been many times when I’ve faced visiting attorneys in the courtroom and afterward they will tell me how lucky I am to practice in this place.”
Born in Blacksburg, and a graduate of the College of William and Mary and George Mason University School of Law, Brown feels blessed to be able to practice in Virginia particularly Rappahannock County, a place where he has a history of exceptional client service and can now continue that under the Walker Jones umbrella.
While his focus is law and he takes great pride in his profession and customer relations, he does so from a broader perspective.
“My wife and I are huge baseball fans,” grins Brown, “we follow the Nationals.” And, spoiled by a myriad of scenic river choices, when spring rolls around, you may see Brown paddling on the Rappahannock in a kayak.
“A well rounded individual translates into a better professional,” says Brown, “I am keen on client service and want to offer my best.”
“Oh, and as far as being fortunate to practice in Rappahannock…that’s a well guarded secret that probably shouldn’t get out.”