Lawrence D. Diehl
Contributions to Virginia family law practice, through scholarship, service to the General Assembly and to the bench and bar.
Barnes & Diehl, PC
Centre Court, Suite A
9401 Courthouse Road, Suite A
Chesterfield, VA 23832
BA, Bucknell University
JD, College of William and Mary
Who was your most important mentor and how did that mentor impact your career?
Petersburg lawyer Morton B. Spero, my first partner. He loved the law and taught me the importance of thoroughly researching and preparing for trial, and remembering that every case is the most important case to that client.
What do you consider your biggest personal accomplishment and why?
Passage by General Assembly of the 1990 amendments to Virginia equitable distribution laws, which I primarily drafted and which have impacted virtually every divorce in Virginia since then.
What is the best bit of advice you ever received?
Always treat clients, courts and opposing counsel with respect and honesty. You can be aggressive in representing your client, but the results will come from the strength of your preparation, not the loudness of your voice. Grandstanding for your client is just not the approach that gets results.
How do you achieve a balance between your professional life and your personal life?
I love the beach and snorkeling. I make sure I take at least four weeks of annual vacation roughly in quarterly periods with my wife so we can have good quality time together and get away from the stress of the law practice. I’m really good at putting the practice out of my mind when on vacation.
If you hadn’t become a lawyer, what field would you have entered?
Entertainment/Singer. I played guitar in high school in New Jersey in a band that had a recording contract, and I played on the background of a 1966 national novelty hit song called “They’re Coming To Take Me Away Ha Ha,” by Napoleon XIV. In law school and for over 25 years, I played lead guitar and sang the high doo-wop stuff in a 50s/oldies/beach band called the “Wildroots” My father was a Broadway singer in My Fair Lady and South Pacific in New York, who taught voice all his life; my mother, a Julliard graduate, still teaches piano at age 84. Music is where I would have gone.
What is your favorite book or movie and why?
My favorite book is Tolkien’s Trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. I love the world he has created and the scope of the symbolism on life in general. My favorite movie is Field of Dreams. The way the plot weaves and turns in eventually reuniting Kevin Costner with his father is classic. Perhaps equally revealing, my absolutely least favorite movie – a movie that I just hate to the misery of my wife – is Gone With The Wind. I just don’t get it!
What are two facts about you that most people, including your closest friends, may not know?
My music experience in playing for a 50s band for years, and my being a Lord of the Rings junkie.