Fluvanna Faces: Blair Carter

By Harvey J. Sorum

What did you do before you started practicing law?

Before I began practicing law, I worked as a telephone operator, a receptionist in my dad’s law office,  a summer camp counselor and a child social services worker. Once I graduated from law school in 1984, that’s all I’ve done since. I’ve cut back to 20-30 hours each week now, and I appear almost exclusively in the Fluvanna Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court.  

Why did you decide to become an attorney?

My becoming an attorney was practically predestined. My father and two brothers were also attorneys, and I joined their office in 1985. My poor mother endured endless years of being cross-examined at the dinner table! I practiced with my family and then in other offices since I returned to the area.

Why did you decide to start your practice in Charlottesville?

I was born and raised in Charlottesville. Except for living in Ohio and North Carolina for 12 years, I’ve always lived here. I live in Southern Albemarle County now, and I only have to travel a couple of miles to catch Rt. 53 and head for court. 

Many attorneys choose an area of the law in which  to concentrate their practice – which area of the law did you choose and why?

Family/juvenile law is my main focus now. I chose to practice in that area of the law because it interested me most and I enjoy going to court. I most often serve as a Guardian ad litem for children who are in the midst of custody and visitation disputes, foster care, abuse and neglect, and truancy as well as for those children who are in front of the court for various delinquency matters. I also do some mediation and no-fault divorces.

Why and when would the court encourage the parties to try mediation to resolve their differences? 

Mediation is an option for just about any matter that comes through the court. In family law cases, rather than having a stranger who gets to know you and your family for usually just a day deciding what happens until your kids are 18, using mediation lets the people who know their children best come up with the best, or better, solution. I was first trained in mediation in 1985, and it can be a much less stressful way to settle the case. It also helps the parents be more likely to be able to work with each other in the best interests of their child(ren) when the case is over rather than come out of court bitter enemies. 

Is the coronavirus having an impact on your business?

COVID certainly affected my practice as the courts were practically shut down for months, except for emergency cases handled through virtual and appearing by phone. We’re still wearing masks in court and social distancing as much as we can. I was lucky to be able to go back to work as much as I wanted to compared to the people who were losing their jobs, homes, health insurance and even their lives.

Why are you in Fluvanna so much?

I  really enjoy spending time in Fluvanna County because it’s a lot like Charlottesville used to be – you still can get to know your neighbors and it is not (yet) chock full of people or development. The green spaces, access to the Rivanna River, Pleasant Grove and the trails are real bonuses. I try to support Fluvanna activities financially , which has included sponsoring a girls’ softball team, having an ad for the Fluvanna County SPCA in the Fluvanna Review since 2011, giving monthly to Caring for Creatures, and contributing at least once a year to the Rose Deborah Altschull Endowment for Youth since it was established in 2008.

 The Fluvanna Review is my local source for news about the county and I read it faithfully. 

Do you have last words for the readers?

First there are two rules of thumb: 1. Don’t assume; and, 2. It never hurts to ask. 

Then, always keep in mind: You never know what rocks another person may have in her shoe, so first, be kind. 

Finally, when needed, refer back to 1 and 2.

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