Holland takes state post

Published 11:30 pm Friday, April 30, 2010

A Suffolk native spent her last day in the city attorney’s office on Friday before taking an appointment in the state Department of Juvenile Justice.

Helivi L. Holland, who up until this week served as deputy city attorney for Suffolk, starts her new job Monday. Governor Bob McDonnell announced the appointment on Wednesday.

Holland said Thursday the new position is “just the perfect fit for me, and it seems as if I’ve been prepared my whole life for this position.”

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Holland is a graduate of Virginia Tech, as well as the College of William and Mary’s Marshall-Wythe School of Law. For more than 10 years, she served as a prosecutor in the Portsmouth and Suffolk Commonwealth’s Attorney’s offices, prosecuting major juvenile crimes. Also, she served as an adjunct professor at Paul D. Camp Community College for more than 12 years.

In her role in the Suffolk city attorney’s office, Holland regularly represented the Suffolk Department of Social Services in child welfare cases. She also supervised all of the assistant city attorneys and support staff, managed the office budget, served as liaison to the city’s courts and more.

Holland said she fell into the juvenile law specialty accidentally, but she soon learned that she loved working with children.

“I just was fortunate enough to first work for a law firm here that did guardian ad litem work,” Holland said. “That got me into the juvenile court working with juveniles.”

A guardian ad litem represents a child or incapacitated person in a matter involving them, advocating for their best interests.

“I just fell in love with the juvenile components, of trying to divert juveniles from being in the system,” Holland said. “Making them productive as adults, even through the probation process … that was something that was very attractive to me.”

Though Holland said she looks forward to her work with the Department of Juvenile Justice, she will miss working for Suffolk.

“I’m really saddened to leave the city of Suffolk, because they gave me opportunities that were invaluable in regards to the career choice I’ve taken at this point,” she said.

Holland expects her work in Richmond to make a difference.

“I just feel more comfortable knowing that we have given everything to every juvenile to help them succeed,” she said. “You can’t make them succeed, but you can give them the opportunity to succeed.”