“I always felt as a child growing up in Gloucester that it was a safe community where there was truly a sense of neighborhood,” says Attorney Amy Van Fossen.
A strong sense of community is important to Van Fossen. She moved to Virginia from Cleveland, Ohio as a toddler. Her father, Peter Pohorence, a Specialist in the Army had been wounded while serving in Vietnam when he was just 22 years old and his health required a milder climate. Pohorence was Van Fossen’s role model. “My awesome, completely amazing father — who was missing a finger, parts of his nose and ears — went on to earn an MBA from William & Mary and was hired as the accountant at VIMS.”
From an early age, Van Fossen was closely connected to her Gloucester neighbors. In kindergarten, she went to school with children from Guinea, an isolated community in Gloucester County, which has a rich seafaring history and is still home to many area watermen.
“Many of the children from Guinea didn’t come to school every day. Most had to help their families by working on the water. It was just a normal part of life.”
From the age of eight, Van Fossen participated in competitive cheerleading, gymnastics and dance. “I had to travel all over Virginia to compete. There was no cheerleading, gymnastics or dance studio in Gloucester. Later, I coached others. I promised myself that someday, I would open a gym just for kids.”
College and Then the Law
Van Fossen graduated from Stanford University with a double major in psychology and political science. She received her law degree from Tulane University Law School in New Orleans. After law school, Van Fossen returned to Gloucester, married a police officer and had three children — all while building a law practice first working for a local firm and then later launching her own firm, Amy Van Fossen, Attorney at Law.
The Business of Law
“The business of managing a law practice is often challenging because there are many ethical and financial constraints that lawyers must observe,” says Van Fossen. “Chesapeake Bank has made it easy for me and for those who work for me to manage my day-to-day financial affairs. I have an IOLTA interest-bearing trust account and an operating account with the bank. Chesapeake Payment Systems, a division of Chesapeake Bank, provides the hardware, training and support for my merchant services account. I don’t have to think about it. They handle it for me so I can focus on being the best possible criminal defense and family law attorney.”
Van Fossen is planning to expand her legal services beyond criminal defense and family law.
“I am joining forces with William Johnson, another local lawyer, to develop a personal injury, maritime practice. I hope to help Gloucester watermen when they need legal help.” That’s just one more way this high achieving attorney is bringing home positive change.
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