Regent University School of Law (LAW) alumnus Judge Ronald Salmons ’06 always knew he wanted to be a lawyer.
What he didn’t know was when he went back to school as a 40-year-old law student, he’d be simultaneously raising his fifth-grade daughter to share the same passion.
But as R. Salmons was taking the bench as Judge of the Family Court of West Virginia, 10th Circuit in Lincoln County and Boone County, West Virginia in early 2017, his daughter, Karrah Salmons ’19 (LAW), began pursuing her own legal career as a Master’s in Law student at Regent.
“I told my dad back [when he was a law student] that I never wanted to be an attorney, I thought they were really stuck up,” she said.
Salmons vaguely recalls her family’s move from West Virginia to Virginia Beach all those years ago. And when she returned to Regent to pursue her own degree, she recalled some of the friendly faces of her professors from when she’d visit classes with her father.
It was a place where R. Salmons, even as an established adult, 17 years into his marriage with his own business and two children, found some of the best friends of his life.
“I was really nervous about going to law school because I knew everyone else was going to be in their early 20s…I thought I wasn’t going to fit in and it was going to be awkward,” said R. Salmons. “Long story short, none of that happened. There’s a peace on campus there, I felt comfort. And maybe I wasn’t supposed to go at 22, but I feel that decision to go was absolutely the right decision.”
And the right time. By the time K. Salmons started eighth grade she began working in her father’s law office, she felt her calling shift. She’d come across pictures of neglected or abused children in cases she filed, which made a “heart-wrenching and mind-boggling” impression on her.
“I would see these kids who my dad would get appointed to represent, and it was so sad,” said K. Salmons. “I realized that as an attorney, you could do so much for those kids that you couldn’t do otherwise. You get to be their voice when they don’t have one. That’s how I came to want to be a lawyer – I wanted to grow up and do something that made a difference.”
Salmon’s start to studying law took a different approach. He knew he and his family would eventually move back to their home in rural West Virginia, where there would be limited legal practice prospects.
“When I started law school I thought I wanted to be the lawyer who sat around and wrote briefs in a back room,” said R. Salmons.
When he started representing children after law school, however, he saw the neglect and mistreatment, and the opportunity he had to make a difference while pursuing a child’s best interest within the realm of law.
“I’m their voice, and it turned into a passion to represent these kids aggressively,” said R. Salmons. “I’d rather be in court any day than in a back room writing a brief.”
As his daughter begins her own journey at Regent, he has every hope and confidence that she will have the same opportunity to pursue her dream: making a difference in the world of neglected children.
“I’ve always been proud of my daughter – We’re very proud of her and the things she’s chosen to do,” said R. Salmons.