By Claire Stuart
Timothy Johnson says that he always wanted to be a small town lawyer, and that wish came true for him this year. Originally from New Jersey, Johnson practiced in New York City and Northern Virginia before setting up his practice in Berryville in February of this year. However, he was in love with the area long before moving here.
Johnson graduated from James Madison University, then New York Law School. He met his wife at JMU. She was from Bluemont, “on the other side of the mountain.”
They came out to see her family often while they were dating, and they were married at Long Branch. She went to work with Fairfax County Schools and they lived in Alexandria, but when they had a baby, they decided that Clarke County would be a good place to raise a family.
Johnson happened to be in the right place at the right time, and says that he had no idea that longtime Berryville attorney Michael Hobert was retiring this year.
“It was just a coincidence that I decided to practice here at that time,” he said.
His experience in diverse areas of law allows Johnson to serve the local community as an all-around lawyer. He handles everything from wills, contracts, transactions, personal injuries, and commercial litigation to misdemeanor and felony criminal defense, civil rights matters, employment discrimination, and privacy rights.
“I love solving problems,” he declared. Johnson’s background includes considerable experience in the relatively new and little-known area of special education law. He has represented children with disabilities (through their parents) when schools were not providing an appropriate education with consideration for their disabilities. He explained that truancy problems are often rooted in the fact that the schools were not recognizing the children’s disabilities.
“Very few attorneys work in special education,” he reported.“
It’s a high cost area. With medical malpractice, you only need to bring in medical experts. It’s straight forward, based on particular types of injuries. Special Ed is more complicated; state and federal laws are overlaid and several different kinds of experts are needed — medical, psychological, social. Every individual case is catered to a particular child.”
Johnson believes that it is important to forge a trusting relationship with clients, something that is made possible in a small community. He sometimes finds himself in the role of a counselor or even a therapist. “I might recommend something, and if the client disagrees, I advocate to the best of my abilities. A client must trust you to handle their interests outside of court,” he said.
He says, “If you are a business owner, large or small, you should have an attorney you can call on. If an attorney advises you early on, this can save you money later.”
Often the clients could have avoided litigation if they had first talked with an attorney. Unfortunately, legal problems often arise within families concerning money matters. An attorney is important in drafting power of attorneys, wills and trusts. If there is money involved, especially large sums, Johnson advises, you need an attorney and estate planning.
He states on his web site, “I know that no one wants to hire a lawyer, but I know that when you have to, you want someone who is knowledgeable about the problem, diligent and cares about you. I fight for your rights.”
“I love this town and this county,” Johnson affirmed, “and I look forward to meeting more people.”
He laughed and clarified that sentence, explaining that he didn’t mean that he wanted tomeet more people as clients, then added, “But I’d love to work with you as well.”
Timothy Johnson serves Clarke, Frederick, Warren and Fauquier counties, and Berryville, Front Royal, and City of Winchester.
Address: 20-B East Main St., Berryville. Hours: Weekdays 9:00am–5:30pm; weekends and holidays by appointment. Office phone: (540)352-4672. Mobile phone (and text): 540-987-6526. Email: email@example.com