It took a few decades, but Emily Geary is officially realizing her dream to help children and the elderly as a lawyer.
The former paralegal and former schoolteacher is perhaps better known in Limestone County as co-owner of Geary Farms, which she operates with her husband Brian. Gardening was a dream of theirs when they arrived in North Alabama from Kentucky in 2008, but Geary said being an attorney has been her dream since she was a child.
The youngest of eight, Geary said she learned how to argue with the best of them. She was a paralegal at Al Miller Law Offices in Central City, Kentucky, when her husband got an offer to work at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville.
"When I had to put in my notice there for us to move to Alabama, my boss pulled me aside and gave me an application for law school," Geary said. "He said, 'I've never told another paralegal this, but you have got to apply.'"
So she did. Geary worked a full-time job during the week, attended Birmingham School of Law on Saturdays and farmed in the hours in-between. It took four years to graduate, but she did it and passed the bar exam earlier this year.
On Nov. 4, she opened her law firm at 105 Cloverleaf Drive, Suite G, in Athens. As thanks and proof of her commitment to the community, Geary used local small businesses when setting up her practice.
"I think you need to support your local business," she said.
Geary will focus primarily on services involving the elderly and children, such as Social Security, bankruptcy or disability cases. She received her undergraduate degree from Murray State University in elementary education and hopes to use her degree and teaching experience as she handles adoption, guardianship and other cases involving children.
She said she feels very blessed and fortunate to also have worked with the community as part of Geary Farms, an experience she will continue while operating her practice. In fact, for the next six weeks, clients who visit the office also get the chance to visit with Lady Justice, an orphaned baby goat Geary is raising.
"The clients love her," Geary said. "They want to hold her, and that just kind of calms them so they can be open and tell me exactly what's going on. ... It's hard for people to walk into a law office, because a lot of the time they are struggling and stressed, and have issues they don't know how to handle."
Geary's firm is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. She can be reached online at emilygeary.com or by phone at 256-444-2601.