Newport News City Attorney’s Office
This month’s spotlighted VADA member is Darlene Bradberry of the Newport News City Attorney’s Office. Darlene is a graduate of the University of Virginia and the William & Mary School of Law. She currently serves as the Chair of VADA’s Local Government Section.
1. Where were you born?
2. Spouse? Children? Pets?
I have a very tolerant spouse, Sean, and two adult children, Ben and Cate. The only pets we have currently are houseplants. I have a growing (pun intended) collection of various kinds of palm trees.
3. What type of law do you practice?
Local government defense.
4. How long have you been a member of VADA?
I first joined in 1992. After I left private practice for local government, the Local Government Section called me back in.
5. What do you like most about practicing law?
I like the variety. There are interesting issues in every case. I’ve had to learn about cocoa beans, civil war swords, hot air balloons, 911 emergency response protocols, playground design, drinking water sanitation, and street cleaning, among other various and sundry things.
6. What have you enjoyed most about your time in VADA?
I enjoy learning from other attorneys and the fellowship.
7. When I am not at the office, I like to …
Exercise, preferably outside.
8. What is the one app on your phone you cannot live without?
The weather app. I need to know when I can go outside!
9. Do you have a favorite movie or television quote?
From The Matrix: “There’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.”
10. What is at the top of your bucket list?
Knowing the path!
11. What is your favorite travel spot?
We have a family beach trip every year that we all enjoy. Once your kids are adults, it is a real honor when they are still willing to come with you.
12. What was your first job?
My first job was at age 14 picking cherry tomatoes for a local farmer. I also worked at his farmer’s market and became pretty adept at mental math for a very short time.
13. If I weren’t practicing law, I would be …
Hopefully not still picking cherry tomatoes! I like learning languages and would probably be an ESL teacher to help non-native speakers learn English.
14. If you were to visit my office, one of the first things you would notice would be …
A large wooden packing crate. I could have a side hustle charging money to tell people what’s inside (spoiler alert – it’s evidence).
15. What is the last live concert you attended?
Imagine Dragons outdoors at the Virginia Beach Amphitheater.
16. Who is the most famous or interesting person you have ever met?
I have had three random encounters with celebrities: (1) magician Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller sat at my table when I was a waitress in high school; (2) Michael Moriarty from Law and Order sat next to me on an airplane to Halifax, Nova Scotia; and (3) lastly, and more weirdly, Johnnie Cochran and I were on several flights and at the airport together over the course of two days. I was starting to think he was following me!
17. Who is your real-life superhero?
My coworkers. I work in an office of really smart, dedicated people.
18. If you had to choose, what would be your last meal?
My son’s mac and cheese with a side order of onion rings.
19. What is your guilty pleasure?
Sitting down and watching anything on TV.
20. What advice would you give to someone who just passed the bar?
Practice law with a firm with a good reputation who can mentor you. It is difficult to learn everything on your own.