- The Magazine
Jennifer Fairfax has had significant exposure to issues surrounding family law.
Whether it was becoming godmother at 18 to a girl that a friend had adopted from Korea, her own experience with second-parent adoption, or working with a mentor who was a national adoption attorney and who had successfully adopted his own children, Fairfax has been drawn to legal issues that affect children. Now, she focuses her practice, Jennifer Fairfax Family Formation Law Offices, primarily on adoption, sperm- and egg-donor agreements and gestational surrogacy, representing women who wish to carry a child on behalf of a couple.
Although Fairfax’s clients come from all walks of life, her career has often intersected with the LGBT community. Particularly when she first began practicing, at a time when there were very few lawyers who dealt with same-sex couples.
“In every aspect of my practice, I have worked with the LGBT community,” she says.
A native of La Plata, Md., Fairfax has spent her whole life in the state. During her final year in law school at the University of Baltimore, she worked in the civil litigation department of the Maryland Attorney General’s office, and upon graduation she was one of two law clerks working for four different judges on the Frederick County Circuit Court, before finally delving into private practice.
There, Fairfax began focusing on issues surrounding children. She recalls that working with LGBT clients, particularly prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Maryland, was a “challenging” yet “rewarding” experience, one that required her to think creatively.
“You’d have to think outside the box,” she says. “When protecting parental rights for LGBT persons, you often had to go beyond the traditional understanding of the law, showing the judge how the law, as written, applies to same-sex couples.”
For Fairfax, working in the adoption and surrogacy field is about allowing people to form families.
“Adoption is something where you make a personal connection with people, where you really have to listen and be sympathetic,” she says. “And then you also have to balance the needs of the adoptive parent with the struggles faced by the birth parent. To see it all come together, despite how difficult some of these aspects are, it’s really worthwhile.”
Jennifer Fairfax Family Formation Law Offices are located at 827 Woodside Parkway in Silver Spring, Md. Call 301-221-9651 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit jenniferfairfax.com for more information.
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