Women-Owned Law Firm Earns Trustworthy Reputation In Manassas

MANASSAS, VA — During Women’s History Month in March, we want to highlight the contributions of women-owned businesses and the contributions women have made in the business sector.

One of these businesses is Farrell & Croft PC, a law firm founded and led by Kathy Farrell and Cathy Croft specializing in family law, mediation, wills, trusts and estates. Farrell & Croft PC is a team of six lawyers and four support staff. Croft and Farrell focus their practices in family law, while other lawyers on the team provide either family law or wills, trusts and estates services. Attorney Whitney Bolton provides additional legal representation in the family law practice area. The firm also has a vibrant and growing wills trusts and estates practice area serviced by attorneys Andrea Morisi, a partner, and Sherie Kristiansen.

“What we offer to the community is primarily family law, which includes custody, divorce, adoption, property distribution, child support and spousal support,” Croft told Patch. “We also offer mediation in the realm of family law. And of course we offer wills, trusts and estates legal representation.”

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Croft, who grew up in the Lake Barcroft community of Fairfax County, turned to a career in law after planning to go to college for math and later to become a probation officer. Farrell, who is from Vienna, always intended to be a lawyer. Although they attended different law schools — Croft at George Mason University School of Law (now named Antonin Scalia Law School) and Farrell at University of Richmond TC Williams School of Law — they ended up working for the same law firm in Manassas in 1988 and 1989.

Realizing they work well together and had mutual respect for each other’s work ethic and legal acumen, Croft said they decided to start a law firm. So Farrell & Croft was established on June 1, 1992.

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“Back in the day, we hadn’t been practicing very long, but we received some excellent mentoring,” said Croft. “We both wanted to manage and have control over how we operated a law firm.”

In Manassas, the two lawyers found a different place than where they grew up in Fairfax County.

“I knew there was distance between Fairfax County and Manassas. I didn’t appreciate at that time that the culture would be a bit different as well,” said Croft. “Fairfax County and Vienna were more urban than what Manassas was — a small town — and there was a lot of farmland in Prince William County back in the day. But we both recognized that it was a high growth area, so it was a really good area to open a business and maintain a practice.”

Today, Farrell & Croft PC is a law firm “respected by the bench and the bar,” according to Croft. She attributed the law firm’s success to hard work, networking and leadership positions she and Farrell held at different organizations over the years. The law firm for many years has received Martindale-Hubbell’s Platinum Client Champion rating and the AV Preeminent rating, the top rating for peer reviews.

“Wills, trusts and estates and family law are very compatible areas of practice,” said Croft. “Both require a high attention to detail and strong people skills, because the people you serve are often fragile and in transition or planning for transition in their personal lives.”

Croft said not everyone may choose to seek counsel in family law matters or preparation of wills. But she says it can be difficult for people who aren’t familiar with legal procedures who could easily overlook things when trying to get a property settlement agreement or will online.

“Some of the most intense and costly cases that I’ve represented people in were those where the clients initially tried to represent themselves or prepared their own settlement agreements,” said Croft.

Croft said the most rewarding part of the profession is seeing clients’ transitions during the legal process.

“You can imagine when people first become acquainted with us, they are in a very vulnerable situation, whether they decided they wanted out of a marriage or were surprised when their spouse wanted that change,” said Croft. “We get very pleased and excited when almost universally throughout the process, we start with one fragile person, and he or she becomes stronger and more empowered as the process moves forward; that’s the reward.”

For aspiring lawyers, Croft has some advice about how to make it in the profession.

“My words of advice are to expect to work hard and tirelessly; to be able to manage your work-life balance and to be diplomatic at every turn,” said Croft. “One of the most important things to be conscious of is that you can learn new things in every interaction. There are always new things to learn.”

Patch is featuring small businesses like from Farrell & Croft PC for a free business spotlight. If you’d like your business to be featured, fill out our Q&A form. Feel free to pass the form along to any businesses that should be spotlighted in our community.

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