Debra E. Stokes

Most of my life I wanted to be a dancer with the American Ballet Theatre Company, a Navy Seal, an artist or a lawyer.  As life had it, I became a lawyer and an artist. A perfect combination for the mind and the soul.

After I graduated from the University of Maine School of Law on a full Penobscot Nation scholarship, I returned to Charleston, where my family resided, to practice law. I first worked in the Law Office of John M. Bleecker, Jr., where I learned to practice law like a Gentleman. Those were the days when master trial lawyers treated each other with dignity and respect and enjoyed camaraderie while representing their clients with wit and zeal. In my first couple of years as an attorney I tried two jury trials in State Court and three jury trials in Federal Court.

To further my experience in criminal law I worked for the Charleston County Public Defender for thirteen months while my future law partner and I prepared to open our law firm when his wife graduated from medical school. We opened the law firm of Stokes & Thompson and practiced law together for twenty years. One of our first clients was the Town of Mt. Pleasant, which we represented for about four years until we convinced them to hire in-house counsel. We were recommended by their former counsel when he successfully ran for a Ninth Circuit judgeship. Ours was a flourishing general trial practice.

When my family law cases dominated my practice, I established Debra E. Stokes LLC and my law partner went on to become a senior member of Motley Rice.  We continue to consult with each other and remain the best of friends. Sole practice enabled me to run a thriving and successful law firm, while being able to be homeroom mother, soccer mom and hands-on mom for my two children who are now 32 and 34. One graduated from Stanford and the other from Clark.

My practice consists of divorce and child custody cases. But when a client’s child finds themself in a little trouble, I handle that for them. Or if they need a simple will, POA and Living Will, we do that too.  After 40 years I still enjoy my clients and love the practice of law.


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