50 Years in the Making, Prince William Law Firm Compton & Duling Celebrates

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By Katherine Gotthardt

Sponsored by Compton & Duling, LC

Fifty years ago, the Prince William area looked more than a little different. And so did the legal landscape. Through it all, Compton & Duling, LC has thrived while adapting to change.

Lacey Compton, Jr., launched the firm back in 1968, with a focus on land use and rezoning.

“When Compton & Duling was started, Lacey, the founder, had roots in real estate and the practice grew from there,” said Jason E. Hickman, Managing Member. “When I came to the firm in 2006, we saw that with growth there was an opportunity to diversify into four or five practice areas as opposed to just zoning and real estate. So, we embarked on the journey to diversify.”

The Firm’s Growth

The firm now includes business law; wills, trusts and estates (planning and administration); domestic relations; litigation (to include business, real estate, collections and associations); and the expansion included moving from just land use and zoning to now include transactional work as well. “We now have a very good practice that continues to expand in all those areas,” Hickman said.

“Compton & Duling has grown as a practice and has had the opportunity to assist in the growth of many local attorneys,” he added. “We have had the pleasure of having been a place from which several judges have practiced law – from Justice LeRoy Millette forty-four years ago to Judge Petula Metzler just a few years ago, and several others in between those two.”

Hickman said the diversification means the practice can offer collaboration to provide clients with better service. “If we have a client going through a divorce who has a business, for example, we can help them with both the marital and family law issues and the business issues that emanate from the divorce issues, offering trusted relationships and counsel in multiple practice areas within the same firm. This collaboration and use of resources enhance the level of legal advice provided. We try to encompass the whole issue rather than just pieces of the whole issue.”

Ties to the Community

Compton & Duling’s mission, according to Hickman, “is to first listen and hear your problems, issues or concerns, and then help you to move forward to the best outcome. Through collaboration, we utilize our collective knowledge and experiences to provide you with an analysis and course of action that suits your needs. As we like to say, ‘Our History. Your Future.’”

The practice is different not just because it has been in the area for 50 years, but because the staff has history here as well. “The attorneys are highly familiar with Manassas and Prince William,” said Hickman. “That gives us the resources to quickly ascertain the issues facing our clients, for example providing history of a property to obtain a better cost-benefit analysis of property, among other things. Also, living and working in Prince William County provides our attorneys with a very clear understanding of the issues facing clients in the community.”

Giving Back

It all comes down to having strong ties and giving back. Through Compton & Duling’s community participation, Hickman said, the staff “know people and what’s going on, and that helps us when someone comes in and has an issue. We use our knowledge and experiences in the community through both our work and volunteering our time in many different areas to better understand the challenges facing businesses and individuals who come to us with legal issues.”

Hickman believes in the power of community. “We are part of the community and have a responsibility to the community to make it better by giving back,” he said. “We are better, more rounded and knowledgeable because of our experiences with many nonprofit organizations. Fifty years of legal representation and community participation – that’s a long time.”

Hickman’s personal passions are leadership and youth. He has been a key figure in Leadership Prince William’s Summer Youth Academy, Boys & Girls Club and CASA. “Everything I do applies to youth and leadership,” he said. “I’ve got four children, and I want them to have the best experiences in the community they live in.”

“It’s not just about work. It’s about the entire community. Our families and our work are part of our community. The community makes the whole person, not just one aspect.”

Learn more about Compton & Duling at comptonduling.com.


Katherine Gotthardt, M.Ed. (kgotthardt@princewilliamliving.com) is an author and poet, as well as the vice president of content marketing for Prince William Living.


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