2021 FAMILY LAW/DOMESTIC RELATIONS LAW Q&A
Kristen Konrad Johnstone
Parks Zeigler PLLC, Roanoke
Title: Managing partner, Roanoke office
Other legal specialties: Criminal defense, guardian ad litem for children, elder law, DSS appeals
Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of Virginia; law degree, Washington & Lee University School of Law
Spouse: Butch Johnstone
Children: Daughter Kirin, 23, and son Ian, 21
Fan of: Fleetwood Mac, Jack Russell terriers, Meryl Streep and the Dallas Cowboys
Recently read book: “Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America,” by Beth Macy
Favorite vacation spot: Sanibel Island, Florida
Career mentors: Charlie Osterhoudt, Sharon Chickering
How does being a former police officer serve you as an attorney? Policing taught me so much about human nature and how to communicate with people to resolve conflict or problems, particularly when those people are under stress. I also spent lots of time in court as an officer and so learned a lot from watching cases being tried. I use what I learned from those experiences almost daily in my work as an attorney, even after 25 years.
How has the pandemic affected custody and divorce cases? The pandemic forced many families to be together in one living space for a prolonged period of time, which put great stress on relationships that may have already been frayed. The economic fallout from the pandemic also put tremendous stress on families. The end result was more domestic violence, more child abuse and neglect, and more substance and alcohol abuse — all of which led to crowded dockets in the courts.