Barrister Prefers Blue Jeans

PAYSON PEOPLE

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Lawyer Doris Robinson-Wait's green eyes sparkle with mirth as she explains why no one would want to live next door to herself and husband Bill.

Robinson-Wait bought her husband, Bill, an acoustic guitar. The couple like to do things together, so of course she had to have a guitar too. The kit she bought for learning guitar in 10 easy lessons, wasn't. They both started taking private lessons. Now, they own electric guitars.

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Doris Robinson-Wait

"We plug in our amps and open up the doors... we just make a lot of noise. It's fun," Robinson-Wait said.

"Our house in the morning is wild. The two dogs sleep in our room. I typically make a lot of noise playing with and running up and down the hall with the dogs," Robinson-Wait said. The self-described morning person rings a bell when coffee is ready. Then, the donkeys start calling which gets the horses started banging on their water troughs.

Robinson-Wait worked for lawyers from the time she was 16. For 23 years she earned her living as a legal secretary.

She went to college intending to become a school teacher, but her dad encouraged her to become a lawyer. Her undergraduate degree in elementary education came from Prescott College. She attended law school at the University of Puget Sound (which no longer exists) in Washington State.

"I decided that maybe I could make a difference and I might have a different point of view than lawyers who had always been lawyers because I had been a secretary. I'd been out in the world working and I think I could better understand people's problems and difficulties."

She studied for the law school entrance exam not in a classroom, but over a long weekend on a houseboat on Lake Powell. When she got her acceptance to law school she cried, "Oh my gosh, I actually made it."

Going back to law school in her 30s she feels was quite a challenge, but she was determined and optimistic. By her second year of law school, the extra classes she took enabled her to work as a prosecutor in the Eatonville, Wash.

People she would meet casually thought it was wonderful that she was a law student, but turned cold when they found out she was an attorney. She would like to change the stereotypes people often have of lawyers, and that's why her office is relaxed in Western décor with wood floors. The pine trees that were cut down on the firm's property went into the wainscotting of the office building.

"I meet people in blue jeans unless I am in court," Robinson-Wait said. "I think it is a disservice to people for them to think that all lawyers are going to be in a suit all the time, acting like they are above people, because they are not; at least they shouldn't be."

When she and Bill ride their Harley together, some people are astonished by her profession. "I'm a normal person who happened to go to law school," she said.

Doris Robinson-Wait practices law in an area she feels she can make the most difference in: Family Law.

Her philosophy of "taking the high road" has paid off in every case she has ever seen.

"I recognize that the whole family is getting divorced when somebody is getting divorced," Robinson-Wait said. "When they get in the middle of things and feelings are hurt and people are angry I always say, ‘take the high road,' meaning you do what is ethical and what is honest. It doesn't mean that I don't represent aggressively. I try to avoid the animosity because it really helps the children and it helps the parties."

While the number of divorces she has seen did not color her perception of matrimonial bliss, Miss Robinson decided after law school that marriage wasn't for her.

Then she met Bill at a friend's wedding. She describes Bill as, "... the absolute turning point in my life; he taught me what unconditional love is." They have been married for five years.

She and Bill make an effort to sing songs and be silly even if one of them isn't feeling well because, she said, "Life is serious. I think that what I do for a living is really serious so we try to be really happy and upbeat all the time at home. I think we succeed."

Profile

Name: Doris Robinson-Wait

Occupation: Lawyer specializing in family law, including: divorce, custody, child support, visitation, probate, living wills, termination of parental rights, guardianships and private adoptions.

Employer: Self-employed: Lloyd & Robinson, P.L.L.C.

Age: 52

Birthplace: Mesa, Ariz.

Family: Husband, brother and sister and their families, step-children and families, mother, mother-in-law, and three horses, two miniature donkeys, two dogs and a tortoise.

Personal motto: Life flows by quickly -- be happy and optimistic before it's gone; always take the "high road."

Inspiration: My husband Bill -- he brings out the best in me.

Greatest feat: Going back to school in my 30s.

Favorite hobby or leisure activity: Anything with my husband. We enjoy riding our horse, walking our donkeys, playing guitars, dominoes with friends, working on our property, and going to Home Depot.

Three words that describe me best: Happy; hardworking; compassionate.

I don't want to brag but ... I'm really lucky and appreciative to have the personal life I enjoy and to share my professional life with my law partner and other individuals in our office.

The people in history I'd most like to meet are: My ancestors.

Luxury defined: Sitting in front of our wood stove with a book and a cup of coffee in the early morning hours.

Dream vacation spot: At home with no calendars and no clocks.

Why Payson? I used to come here as a child and camp at Woods Canyon Lake. I always dreamed of living on the Rim.

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