Local Lawyer: Statewide Reputation
by Steve Gamel
You could go to any court in Texas and find a judge, competing counsel or client who has worked with Charla Bradshaw.
Or at least knows someone who has. Bradshaw has been a trusted family law attorney for more than 24 years, and the demand for her services — not just in Denton, but across Texas — has literally taken her all over the state.
In fact, simply trying to recall all the Texas counties she’s worked cases in has become quite the challenge for the Denton native.
“Oh gosh, I’ve been to Lubbock County, Potter, Medina, Montague … you name it,” Bradshaw said. “Some attorneys may prefer to stay in their own territories, but with me it’s like — have file, will travel.”
Make no mistake that Bradshaw, the managing shareholder of KoonsFuller Family Law’s Denton office, is a Dentonite to the core. Both her parents graduated from Denton High School, as did her grandparents. They were all plugged into the community, and Charla is very much that little girl from down the street who followed in their footsteps.
Needless to say, practicing law in her hometown continues to be a dream come true. But it’s Bradshaw’s willingness to work with clients in and beyond Denton County, all the while adapting to whatever setting she’s in, that has helped both Bradshaw and her team at KoonsFuller stand out in a state where clients have plenty of legal options.
Simply put, Bradshaw is a local lawyer whose statewide reputation only scratches the surface.
Bradshaw’s reputation has grown exponentially over the years. We’ve written before that she is known for summarizing some of the most difficult cases, locally, statewide and even internationally.
Her vast experience in family law has made her a popular choice as an expert for speeches, television, and radio stations looking to discuss divorce-related matters.
The many accolades she’s received along the way are proof of that success. She recently made the Top 50: Women Texas Super Lawyers List. The annual list has been in existence since 2002, and Bradshaw has made it every year without fail. Locally, she was named Best Divorce Lawyer in the 2016 Best of Denton County awards.
That’s a huge advantage for clients who want the right legal representation. Bradshaw has worked her share of bitterly contested divorce cases as well as those unfortunate ones where only one spouse wanted the marriage to end. In each case, Bradshaw was just as much a confidant who could not only defend the client in the courtroom, but slow things down enough to be compassionate in answering questions and calming fears.
All of that has clearly caught the eye of potential clients. KoonsFuller, the largest family law firm in the Southwest, is unique in that all its attorneys — not just Bradshaw — have the necessary reach to cover a huge swath of Texas without batting an eye. And unlike some legal offices that may not have that same experience working in different areas, KoonsFuller has the ability to expand that reach even into different states.
Bradshaw said she’s happy to lead that charge, but sees it all as just doing her job.
In her latest interview with Lantana Living, Bradshaw said “The ironic thing is that there are still too many people out there who need help from an experienced lawyer but feel as if they are limited to working with attorneys in their area. That simply just isn’t the case.”
Lawyers have zero limitations on where they can go to take on a case. So just because Bradshaw offices in Denton, that doesn’t mean she can’t help someone in Lantana, El Paso, Houston — or for that matter — even California.
“I honestly don’t think a lot of people realize it’s possible … that they have that option,” Bradshaw said. “Sometimes you have someone who is from a really small town where everyone knows each other, and they don’t feel comfortable working with a local attorney for that very reason. So they seek out someone from outside to help. There’s no rule against it.”
At the same time, Bradshaw said she is constantly doing her homework to make sure she is the right fit — especially in those situations where she is taking on a case outside her immediate area.
“I would never take a case if it would be to the detriment of the client. It’s all about putting the client in the best possible light,” Bradshaw said. “Every court in every county, in every state, has different rules. I do my research, because there are many things I need to look at.”
For example, there could be a case where another county has jurisdiction over a child in a case, but now that child has moved up here. Bradshaw would need to file in the court with jurisdiction and ask for a transfer. But in the meantime, that original court may want to hear temporary orders.
“One thing I know is that you can’t walk into any court thinking everything works the same, and sometimes you can’t even dress the same way. I would never walk into a court in Montague County dressed like I just stepped out of a courtroom in Dallas. Clients will ask me if I know judges in their area, or if I’ve ever been there. To do a case, you have to fit into that area … do things their way in their community. That, to me, is serving the client.”
Even though Bradshaw may take a case from out of her immediate area, that doesn’t mean she always has to travel. Sometimes the clients come to her first. If there ends up being a court case, Bradshaw could end up traveling or working substantively with another lawyer from the client’s area, essentially creating a legal team to give the client a better chance at winning the case.
“Either way, I love to meet new judges and experience different courtrooms,” Bradshaw said. “Sometimes I know the judge, or they know me. But I still try to find out everything I can ahead of time. After you do it a few times, you get pretty comfortable with it. It’s just part of what I do.”
And that’s proof that despite all the successes and accolades, Bradshaw’s eyes are firmly set on her clients’ needs — no matter where they may be.
“My roots go way back in Denton County, and I’m a Dentonite through and through,” Bradshaw said. “But I also believe clients should be able to hire a lawyer by choice. If that means I need to travel, that’s what I’ll do. It’s a fun part of my job.”
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