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This page is dedicated our generous Fellows who have gone above and beyond to support our Foundation. They have dedicated thousands of dollars to provide the Fairfax Law Foundation with the stability and support it needs to continue working in the community. Please click on the profiles below to read more about our Fellows.

 

October 2020  
   

Taylor Huguley Powers PLLC

  

Taylor Hugyley Powers PLLC opened its doors on February 1, 2019, and its attorneys represent clients throughout Northern Virginia in family law related matters. While the firm is relatively new, Leigh, Kim, and Debra began practicing law together seventeen years ago, and their friendship, dedication to the legal community, and love for what they do has been growing ever since. They are all long-time, active members of the Fairfax Bar Association and other local and specialty bar organizations. Taylor Hguley Powers PLLC was honored to received the 2019 Fairfax Bar Association's Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year Award in its first year of practice, and each member of the firm has received numerous accolades from the legal community. While they have different pastimes and amusements, the attorneys and their office manager enjoy spending time with their families when not working.

 

If you did not practice law, what would you do?
Leigh - “In reality, I would be a teacher or a social worker. In my dream world after winning the lottery and becoming independently wealthy, I’d split my time between 3 jobs – 1) pro bono legal work, 2) a sea turtle rescue lady at the beach, and 3) a Starbucks barista. Oh, and a Williamsburg tour guide. Are 4 jobs too much?”


What was your first job?
Debra – “I worked at Telegraph Road Pharmacy (on the corner of Telegraph and Farmington Drive) and Hungry Henry’s Pizza (off King’s Highway). Both were Alexandria landmarks forever. Everyone once in while, I’ll have a client who also grew up around here, and we’ll start talking about them and compare ‘when I was young’ stories.”


If you could choose a superpower, what would you choose?
Kim says, “My superpower would be the ability to function on absolutely no sleep.” Debra replied, “I thought you do that now.”

What was your favorite class in law school?
Debra - “Richard Bonnie’s Criminal Law – whatever variation. Professor Bonnie made me want to learn, made me want to read those ridiculously long assignments every class. He is simply brilliant.”

Name one thing that we would be surprised to learn about.
Leigh - “I speak Spanish proficiently. I began studying Spanish in middle school, minored in Spanish and studied abroad in Valencia, Spain during college, and have spent years trying to keep my Spanish up-to-date through internships, travel, and pro bono cases.”

Why did you choose to donate money/time to the Fairfax Law Foundation?
Firm - If you look at the Foundation’s website, somewhere very early it states, the FLF “works tirelessly to improve the public’s understanding of and access to the justice system.” As attorneys, is there any cause more worthy of our time and money? So many of the Foundation’s programs are near and dear to us – the Court Tour Program, the Law Day Weiner Roast, Conciliation Program, Will on Wheels, the Neighborhood Outreach Program, etc. Becoming a Firm Fellow was an easy decision for us.

Who is the legal practitioner that has had the biggest impact on your legal career and why?
ThKim - “Jane Roush, for whom I clerked after law school, has had and continues to have the biggest impact on my career by showing me the value of working hard while finding balance in my life, paying attention to detail, staying calm under pressure, and taking what life gives you with grace and class—all while never taking myself too seriously!”

August 2020

  
 

Chidi James, Esq.

 

 

 

Attorney Chidi James is a trial lawyer and a partner with the law firm of Blankingship & Keith, P.C. in Fairfax Virginia. His practice consists mostly of serious personal injury cases including wrongful death, products liability, and inadequate security cases. Mr. James joined Blankingship & Keith as an associate in 2003, after serving as a Judicial Law Clerk to the judges of the Arlington County Circuit Court and completing the Judge Advocate General School Course at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. He has served in the National Guard for 23 years and continues to serve as a member of the District of Columbia Air National Guard.

He is licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia. He is the former President of the Northern Virginia Black Attorneys Association, a board member of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, former Vice-Chair of the Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Lawyer Discipline, and a current elected member of the Virginia State Bar Council representing the 19th Judicial Circuit. Mr. James serves on the Board Fairfax Law Foundation and the as the Immediate Past Chair of the Virginia State Bar Diversity Conference. He also serves as President-elect of Legal Services of Northern Virginia (LSNV). He is a former faculty member of the Virginia State Bar Henry L. Carrico Professionalism Course and a former adjunct faculty member at the George Washington School of Law in Washington, D.C.

In his private life, Mr. James is a member of the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He also serves on the Board of the Gainesville Basketball Association, the Mount Pleasant Baptist Community Development Corporation, and has volunteered as coach for multiple youth sports teams. Mr. James is married to local psychologist, Dr. Faith Jackson James, and has three children, ages 23, 19, and 17.

 

If you did not practice law, what would you do?
I would teach high school and coach either football or basketball.


What was your first job?
I sold newspapers outside of a grocery store in Houston, Texas when I was 12 years old.


If you could choose a superpower, what would you choose?
Flight.

What was your favorite class in law school?
My favorite class was Tort with Profess Krauss.

Name one thing that we would be surprised to learn about.
I have flown an F-16 fighter jet, the D model, even though I am not a pilot. It was an incentive ride that I got when I served as a member of the Virginia Air National Guard. My pilot “Bear” McAtee actually gave me control of the plane shortly after take off. We pulled a 9G move and I did not get sick until we were on our way back to the base about 45 minutes into the flight.

Why did you choose to donate money/time to the Fairfax Law Foundation?
The law foundation’s focus on helping the community – with the legally related education programs, court tours, and pro-bono efforts – make the legal system more accessible to all people. I would like to see more ethnic minorities represented in our profession and in our courts. I see a direct connection between the outreach that we do in the local schools to increasing the number of minority students who will consider the law as a profession and eventually diversify our bar and our bench. This will, in-turn, make the justice system more fair, equitable and welcoming, because it will increase the faith that the community has in the justice system.

Who is the legal practitioner that has had the biggest impact on your legal career and why?
This is a tough question. Retired judge Stan Klein gave me an internship in his chambers when I was a law student and has mentored me over the past 20 years. Judge Gerald Lee mentored me through bar associations and encouraged professionally and personally since I was a law student. Judge William T. Newman, hired me as a judicial law clerk in Arlington as my first job out of law school and has mentored me as well. These gentleman have definitely shaped my professional career; however, the people who probably had the biggest impact on my career are my partners Peter Everett and Robert Stoney. They hired me as an associate to do personal injury work and have coached, cheered, co-counseled and mentored me for the past 17 years.

 

 

 

April 2020

  

 

Aaron Christoff, Esq.

 

 

 

Aaron has practiced family law since 2006 with a focus on complex divorce litigation primarily involving highly contested matters.  Aaron sits on the Executive Committee of the Fairfax Bar Association Board of Directors.  He is a current member and former Chair of the Fairfax Bar Association Domestic Relations Subcommittee and is currently the chairman of the FBA Judicial Funding Taskforce.  Aaron lives in Alexandria with his wife Susan and their boys, Henry and Brooks.

 

If you did not practice law, what would you do?
If confined to realistic possibilities that exclude professional athlete, travel writer, or being retired, I’ll go with high school teacher. Probably history or literature.

What was your first job?
I had a lawn-mowing “business” that funded my comic book and baseball card collections, and Slurpee expense account up through my junior high years.

If you could choose a superpower, what would you choose?
Super strength. Mr. Incredible is to coolest guy out there to both my boys and they refer to the “World’s Strongest Man” competitors as “World’s Greatest Men.” Since they’re both still young and small enough to think I’m actually strong, super strength would take care of that ever-shortening window.

What was your favorite class in law school?
Advanced Family Law Seminar with Professor Peter Swisher. It was a very small class resulting in a lot of focused interaction with and attention from someone who was a mentor and friend of mine.

Name one thing that we would be surprised to learn about.
As recently as my early 30’s (so no longer all that recent) I played on a nationally-ranked wiffle ball team. Though my primary contribution to the team’s success was the quality of beverages I packed in the cooler for Sundays at the park.

Why did you choose to donate money/time to the Fairfax Law Foundation?
The sad fact is that many people who really need legal assistance cannot afford it and the Foundation makes it very easy for those aware of the dilemma to do something about it. And Julie Gerock is very persuasive and more than a little intimidating.

Who is the legal practitioner that has had the biggest impact on your legal career and why?
My wife Susan. She’s why a legal career even became an option because she’s the main reason I passed the bar exam. She would not hang out with me unless and until I finished studying for the day throughout that summer. And ever since she has guided, supported, and focused me through every phase of my career. She’s also significantly better at it than me so there’s the competitive/pride motivation factor.

 

 

February 2019

 

  
 

Robert M. Worster III, Esq.

 

 

Rob Worster has been practicing domestic relations and criminal law since 2005. He is a certified Guardian Ad Litem for Children. He also works with the Virginia State Bar teaching professionalism to law students and new Virginia lawyers and serve as Vice Chair of the Lawyer Disciplinary Committee. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Fairfax Bar Association and Fairfax Law Foundation. Additionally, Rob is a member of the Circuit Court Committee, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Committee, Domestic Relations, Pro Se and Pro Bono Subcommittees as well as the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association. He holds an AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the top designation of competence and ethical standards achievable with Martindale-Hubbell. When not practicing law, Rob is a jazz musician, sports coach, woodworker and stained-glass artist. Rob and his wife are proud veterans of the United States Marine Corps and reside in Fairfax County, Virginia, with their children.

If you did not practice law, what would you do?

"If I could have a second career, I would like to try my hand at architecture. I enjoy creating things and solving problems. It would be nice to have a tangible reflection of my life’s work."

 

What was your first job?

"I worked for my great-grandfather performing manual labor for two and a half years in Junior High School. I earned $2.50 an hour and developed a strong work ethic (and appreciation for indoor work)."

 

If you could choose a superpower, what would you chose?

"I would like to have the ability to turn off my brain at the end of the day so that I did not dream about my cases!"

 

Favorite class in law school?

"I participated in a externship with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Richmond. Using my third-year certificate, I represented the United States. This was a huge thrill, even if it was for minor misdemeanors committed on Federal Property."

 

Name one thing we would be surprised to learn about.

"I have played saxophone for over 35 years. I participate in a weekly jazz combo and perform on occasion."

 

Why did you choose to donate money/time to the Fairfax Law Foundation?

"My family feels strongly about showing gratitude for our good fortune through service. Helping the less fortunate in our community is a core value of the Fairfax Law Foundation and we are proud to be a part of that mission."

 

Who is the legal practitioner that has had the biggest impact on your legal career and why?

"There are too many influential members of the bar to single out only one attorney who has influenced my career and life. I have had the opportunity to learn from all of my partners, colleagues and staff at Cooper Ginsberg Gray, PLLC. Additionally, my clients, colleagues, board members and many judges have contributed to my success. They are all responsible for any good that is done. They have all guided me and helped me to fix mistakes along the path. Some of those lessons were harder to learn than others but they all have contributed to my development. Finally, I am incredibly lucky to have a very supportive and well-loved family."

 

 

 

October 2018

 

  

Valerie Hughes, Esq. 

 

Valerie Hughes graduated from George Mason University in 1984 with a B.A. in History and English. For the next 16 years she worked as a paralegal in Fairfax County, primarily in the domestic relations field, with two years in defense contracting. In 2004 she graduated from George Mason University School of Law and passed the Virginia State Bar that same year. In law school, Ms. Hughes was awarded top paper for her domestic relations class, which was taught by the Chief Judge of the Fairfax County Circuit Court. It was the highest grade ever handed out in that class during Judge Dennis Smith’s tenure as a professor. She was also awarded top paper in Pre-Trial practice.

 

If you did not practice law, what would you do?

"If I wasn’t a lawyer my dream job would be to write trash romance novels while building houses and schools for the poor in Zambia. Or running a tiki bar on the beach."

 

What was your first job?

"My first job was selling popcorn and candy at a movie theater when I was 14.  Never, ever have them put butter on your popcorn. They never clean the machine. It was a horrible job."

 

If you could choose a superpower, what would you chose?

"I would like to be invisible for my superpower so I can just come and go as I please. And spy on people!"

 

Favorite class in law school?

"My favorite class in law school is kind of an oxymoron, but I guess it would have been Judge Wooldridge’s trial ad class. He’s a doll and he made it so much fun."

 

Name one thing we would be surprised to learn about.

"You would be surprised to learn that I played piano for a small Baptist church for 4 years (I was terrible). At the same time, I starred as Abigail in The Crucible in high school and then lied about my age at 18 to get a job as a bartender in Charlottesville. I have many sides to me."

 

Why did you choose to donate money/time to the Fairfax Law Foundation?

"I chose to donate to the Law Foundation because of the obvious good they do for the community, both regular and legal. Also Al Bonin and Sharon Nelson sweet talked me into it!"

 

Who is legal practitioner that has had the biggest impact on your legal career and why?

"The person with the most impact on my career would obviously be Dick Byrd. I worked with him for years, he suckered me into going to law school and he threw me into a full day trial on my Third Year Practice Certificate. The other would be Judge Stanley Klein who got me involved with the GMU Legal Clinic, and definitely gave me a visible presence in the legal community. He would never hear my cases because I couldn’t resist talking back to him, even in the courtroom.  He heard me just once: 'Ms. Hughes, how long will your legal argument take?'  Me: 'Depends on how long you argue with me.' Done and out."

 

 

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