Joe Condo is a family lawyer, founder of the Condo Law Group, and the latest Principal to join Offit Kurman. For over 40 years, Joe has solidified his reputation as a go-to family law attorney in Virginia. Earlier this month, Joe and his colleagues at the Condo Law Group, Caroline Solano and Elizabeth Szabo, joined Offit Kurman and relocated to the firm’s offices in Tysons Corner. The Washingtonian has referred to Joe as “solidly ethical” and a “Virginia legend” who “knows how it’s done.” He is a past president of the Virginia State Bar, and holds fellowships in the American College of Trial Lawyers, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the Virginia Law Foundation, and American Bar Foundation.
EDWIN WARFIELD: Welcome, Joe. When did you know you wanted to get into the practice of family law?
JOE CONDO: I was very interested in politics—I’m still very interested in politics. I looked around my small town: all of the people that I was aware of who were involved in politics, local and not, were lawyers. I figured that law school and practicing law was an avenue into politics and decided in roughly fourth grade that I wanted to be a lawyer, and it stuck.
Tell us about your early days as an attorney. What led you to start your own firm?
Right out of law school, I got a job with a very small law firm in McLean—two brothers. I was a general practice associate, was given primary responsibility for a divorce case early in my tenure with them. I enjoyed it, enjoyed the interaction with the client, enjoyed the field of the law.
Roughly six months after I started that job, I was offered a partnership by the lawyer who had been on the other side of that case that I was given responsibility with, and since I wasn’t exactly thrilled with working for these particular individuals, I went into this partnership with this other lawyer. I was with this gentleman for about a year, and it soured for a lot of professional reasons: I didn’t like the way he ran his practice, we didn’t have any insurance, and I was doing most of the work but not getting most of the profits. So, I left them.
I learned from a lawyer I was trying a custody case against during a break that he was leaving the practice to go teach law, that it was being taken over by his associate—but his associate needed to fill his office space. So, I rented space from him. I was there about six weeks and he came into my office and said, “Would you like to buy my practice?” This guy had been practicing family law in Virginia for about 25 years. I just landed in it.
What skills do you have to bring to family law? How does your approach compare to other attorneys?
The skill set that I have, I think, is unique—at least in my experience. It’s a combination of personality, motivation for service, and helping people. It’s an enjoyment of the relatively instant gratification of seeing what you’re doing for these people. I’m a people person and other areas of the law don’t give you as much interaction with your clients and with other people as this does, and they all sort of combined to drop me into this practice and to give me the insight that this was where I should be.