Moffat County’s ‘Atticus Finch’
April 30, 2010
Local attorney Sherman Romney never envisioned himself before the U.S. Supreme Court, hammering away at the justices with the finer points of law. And although he dabbled in it for a time, he never really took to criminal defense work, either.
Rather, the Castlegar, British Columbia, native and longtime Craig resident had a subtler image of what he wanted his legal career to look like.
"I didn't really picture myself as being the courtroom attorney," said Romney, who has lived in Craig for about 17 years. "It was more of what I'm doing now, which is kind of the small-town, transactional attorney.
"It was like the old Atticus Finch, small-town attorney. Hopefully, you can help people solve problems."
Romney, a former municipal court judge and later Craig city attorney, has worked with hundreds of local clients over the years in his private practice; he now primarily handles family, civil and business law. He is the owner of Romney Law Office, with locations at 415 W. Victory Way in Craig and 928 Lincoln Ave. in Steamboat Springs.
He said he has affection for the small, intimate Craig and Moffat County community, and that affection isn't one way. Craig Daily Press readers chose Romney, 45, as best attorney in the newspaper's 2010 Best of Moffat County contest.
"It's an honor, and I appreciate my friends and my clients here in the community," he said. "Craig is where we want to be. It's a place people look you in the eye and people are friendly. I really like that about Craig.
"When you pass someone on the street, we generally acknowledge each other, and I think that's the way the world should be."
Romney's family moved to Castlegar, a town about the same size as Craig, when he was 1, and he returned to the U.S. at 19.
He earned a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Utah in 1989 and then graduated law school from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1993.
He then came to Craig and began work in private practice.
Six months into his law career, he was hired as the city's municipal court judge, a part-time position, and juggled a judgeship and private practice for three years.
In 1996, he went to work for the city full time, as its attorney. He resumed full-time private practice at the beginning of 2003.
"In a small town, you wear a lot of different hats," he said Thursday, during a break from the 60 or so case files he's working on. "I pretty well hung my shingle and started doing really every kind of legal work that came through the door."
Some cases are difficult, Romney said, particularly when it's something troubling for the client, such as a bankruptcy or family matter. In these moments, he said he works hard to provide his clients with relief and resolution.
Romney said he takes a people-first, friendly approach to working with clients.
"One of the hard things about this field is a lot of times people are in the worst possible situations of their lives, or at least they feel that way," he said.
"I think my strengths are on the people side of things — I can help people get through some of those really difficult times with dignity."
Outside of the office, Romney said he enjoys spending time with his wife, Lori, and their three children: Trevor, 21, who lives in the Denver area; Tasha, 18, a senior at Moffat County High School; and Mitch, 15, a freshman at MCHS.
They live on eight acres in Hamilton, on the Williams Fork River, where Romney said he "indulges" in his habit.
"You know, there's a farmer inside of me, and I have to be careful (he) doesn't take over," said Romney, who raises 20 to 30 pigs at home. "I guess it's kind of my hobby. It's my other life, I guess, that I really enjoy.
"I like to produce something that is of quality, or beneficial. … Sometimes it's a little bit harder to measure what you produce in a law office."
Joshua Roberts can be reached at 875-1791 or email@example.com.