New downtown law firm offers clients Christian focus focus

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 29, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

As soon as a potential client enters the law offices of Steve Taylor P.C., they hear the words of a greater law.

&uot;They start with praying,&uot; said Donna Franciosa, a paralegal at Taylor’s Chesapeake office. &uot;They pray that everything works out the way the Lord wants it to, even if it’s not the way the client hopes.


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&uot;If someone comes in looking for a divorce, we refer them to a Christian counselor. We have almost as many reconciliations as we do divorces.

&uot;Whenever you pray with a client, it makes them comfortable,&uot; she said. &uot;No matter what the outcome, the client knows that they’re still loved by the Lord. It makes them more comfortable when they speak to the attorneys.&uot;

On Thursday afternoon, potential clients in Suffolk got their own chance to feel the special comfort; the general practice firm opened a new office and Christian Rights Ministries at 302 N. Main Street, its first location in Suffolk and fifth in Hampton Roads.

Franciosa dressed as the Statue of Liberty for the occasion. &uot;I’m always wearing costumes at our functions,&uot; she said with a laugh. &uot;At Easter, I was the Easter Bunny.

&uot;They wanted something patriotic for this, so I decided to dress like the Statue of Liberty. She represents everything that we enjoy in this country, like the freedom to worship the Lord whenever, wherever, and however we please.&uot;

After Steve Corman, chaplain of the Taylor offices, opened the event with an invocation, Mayor Bobby Ralph welcomed the new addition to the city’s legal community.

&uot;I’m delighted to welcome the law offices of Steve Taylor and the Christian Rights Ministries to our growing business community,&uot; he said. &uot;I would also like to recognize the efforts of the Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society’s Property Community and Mickey Garcia of Garcia Development for the restoration of the old Finney School and College Court.&uot;

Sue Woodward, executive director of the historical society, outlined the history of the building.

&uot;It was an early 1800s addition to the Central Hotel, built in an age when its guests arrived on a horse and buggy. Main Street was the main street – there were hardly any others. The railroads came to town after awhile, then the War Between the States. The hotel provided lodging for union officers during the occupation of Suffolk.

&uot;After the war, education was more important,&uot; she said, &uot;especially for girls, because there weren’t many men to marry! The Finney sisters came to town and bought the grounds and opened a boarding and day school.

&uot;After the school closed, this became two nice apartments for many years, adding another chapter to the story of the building.&uot;

Yet another entry began just over three years ago, when Taylor passed in a contract to the historical society to purchase the building. At first, the application was turned down, as Garcia had already bought it.

Fortunately, six months later, Garcia called Taylor and asked if he were still interested in the property.

&uot;I remember standing out in the parking lot and asking God if this was really where we should be,&uot; said Taylor, whose law degree is from George Mason University. &uot;When we first saw the building, it was in horrible condition, but the Lord opened his heart and helped repair it for us.&uot;

With Garcia’s help, the building came together over the next few years. By early 2004, it was almost completed.

&uot;We spent the past six months touching up,&uot; Taylor said. &uot;We’ve been putting the finishing touches on the floors, the windows, everywhere. We wanted to have the place expand, not just into a law office but into a ministry as well.

&uot;We dedicate our Suffolk office to the Lord’s use and His glory,&uot; Taylor said of the new firm, which has eight attorneys and 30 staff members. &uot;It is our prayer that we will operate a Christ-centered law practice.&uot;

that emphasizes and relies upon biblical principles so that we can serve the legal and spiritual needs of our clients.

&uot;We are not here just as a law office that operates in the standard way; we also dedicate it as an outreach for Christian Rights Ministries so that we can defend our God-given, inalienable rights.&uot;

Three of the main functions of the office, Taylor said, are the right to worship, the sanctity of life, and the defense of family.

&uot;The first one deals with having the ability to bring a Bible to school, or writing a report about Jesus,&uot; he said. &uot;An example of sanctity of life might be a Pro-Choice protest, such as if a person wanted to picket an abortion clinic. A defense of family case might be about helping stop same-sex marriages, which we feel are a perversion.&uot;

Franciosa wasn’t the only attendee to show up in character; Virginia Beach resident James Manship brought the spirit of George Washington to the opening.

&uot;I cannot tell a lie,&uot; said Manship, who has portrayed Washington at the House of Delegates in the nation’s capital, in the capitals of the lower 48 states, and on the &uot;700 Club&uot; television show. &uot;I am not George Washington!

&uot;But his spirit lives in the hearts, the minds and the souls of all of us. In addition to being a law office, this is a place of Christian practices.

&uot;When I was 20 years old,&uot; Manship said in Washington’s voice, &uot;I wrote that I would direct my thoughts, my words and my work into my daily life to forge myself more and more into the likeness of thy son Jesus Christ.

&uot;God bless America.&uot;