New law practice comes to Washington
Published 7:43 pm Thursday, February 25, 2016
There’s a new law firm in town, and it’s looking to make a name for itself.
Located on North Market Street, and tucked between the Liberty gas station and a light blue house, the building, which is Judge Darrell Cayton Jr.’s old office, is now an office to eastern North Carolina native Jacinta Jones. By her side is associate attorney Maria Bruner.
The two women are relatively fresh in the law world, with Jones graduating from North Carolina Central University School of Law in 2012, and Bruner following in 2014.
No matter, both are passionate about family law and hope to use their talents to make a positive impact here in Washington and beyond.
“In law school, I never wanted my own practice,” Jones said. “I wanted to come and focus mainly on family law, and like juvenile abuse and neglect cases here. … It was just kind of a good chance to break out and do some of those things.”
Already familiar with (judicial) District 2, which includes Beaufort, Hyde, Martin, Tyrrell and Washington counties, she had spent time in Washington for legal cases before. She missed being in the area on a daily basis, so once approached about renting the Market Street building last year, Jones said she knew it was a good fit.
Things began to fall into place soon after. The two attorneys officially moved into the space in December, but they have spent the first two months of 2016 getting their feet wet.
Now Bruner and Jones’ focus is to make more connections in this court district, showing their attorney chops and ensuring more representation for family cases.
“I think that family law types of issues are some of the most underrepresented in the legal field, specifically in eastern North Carolina. … It can make them very contested and very complex,” Jones said. “Compared to other attorneys in the area, I’m still considered a new lawyer. That’s probably been the biggest challenge we’ve had so far.”
But she said the reactions from the surrounding area have been “overwhelmingly positive,” especially considering the sometimes-heavy nature of the work.
Jones said she has always loved children, and as her mother was a social worker, these family issues are close to her heart. Bruner was a social worker for Vidant Health in Greenville for years before working as a legal aide.
Jones and Bruner have also started outreach workshops around District 2 to get their name out to the public, as well as to educate people about anything from child custody to expunging criminal records to domestic violence.
Ultimately, the main goal is to make life a little better for those struggling with family issues, and to do it in the most cost effective way, according to Jones.
“Family law doesn’t always have to be so acrimonious,” she said. “I always tell my clients that it’s always better if you can agree (in mediation). Going to court should be a last resort. … Some cases require a bulldog, but not all cases require that.”