Michele Zavos: Why Law

michel Zavos

I went to law school because I wanted to work for social justice. I began my legal career with Georgia Legal Services in Statesboro, Georgia, working in the Georgia countryside to assist poor clients. I loved hearing what my clients were going through and trying to figure out how I could help them address their legal problems. From Georgia, I went to Baltimore and worked for Maryland Legal Aid Bureau, Inc., representing clients in state prisons throughout Maryland.

Then I clerked for Judge Gladys Kessler when she was a judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. While working for Judge Kessler I learned how a court really works. After that clerkship, I became an Associate for a small firm, Garfinkle & Dranitzke, where I represented clients in divorce, estate, real estate, and LGBT matters. There, I also became a pro bono attorney for the Whitman-Walker Clinic in 1983, working with men with HIV and AIDS. By 1985, I decided I wanted to have my own law firm, and I opened Dolkart & Zavos, with my law partner, Jane Dolkart, who was my professor in law school.

I also gave birth to my daughter while we opened the practice. I worked with clients in their estate planning, divorce, real estate, and other matters affecting individuals, particularly those in the LGBT community. At that firm I realized how much I enjoyed working with clients to solve the legal problems that arise in their everyday lives. I left the Firm to care for my daughter when she was young, and worked as a consultant with the American Bar Association on AIDS-related legal issues for six years, but I missed the interaction with clients. I went back into private practice over time, and worked from my home so I could be with my daughter after school. I concentrated on estate planning and adoption work. When she went off to college, my practice seemed to double overnight.

I moved my practice into our office in Silver Spring in 2007. Eva Juncker and I became law partners in 2011, and now the Zavos Juncker Law Group, PLLC has twelve full-time people on our team, serving clients in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Northern Virginia.

I am currently an Adjunct Professor at the Washington College of Law at American University.