About

ari-mug

Hey there. I'm Ari,

and I'm here to fully support your legal needs for when life happens. I'm a Virginia-based attorney licensed in Virginia, West Virginia, and New York.

When I say, "life happens," I'm referring both to the unspeakable things and the wonderful things that we face in the up-and-down rollercoaster of life.

Let's start with the unspeakable things: the horrible life events most of us don't plan for because we don't want to think about them... a serious medical diagnosis, accidental death, traumatic injury, etc.

...I'm really fun at parties, I promise.

Legal needs arise when wonderful things happen too. A new baby might mean you need advice about wills and planning for the future.

It might sound crazy - but, no matter what's going on, I love supporting my clients whether they're in crisis-mode or they simply want to plan for their future. I'm so honored I get to be there to assist.

My Story

Of course, I never *knew* I would be practicing this part of the law. I guess you could say life happened to me in a bit of a different way which brought me to where I am now.

In law school, I actually focused on environmental law, which led me to land use, which then led me to a job at a great, big Manhattan law firm in their commercial real estate department. The problem there was that I graduated in 2009... not exactly an ideal time to be breaking into the commercial real estate market in NYC.

Because of the recession, I shifted gears to work in a small family law office. There, I learned about city real estate taxes and a bit about the slow grind of bureaucracy and the law. My next job was in civil litigation. There, a senior litigator told me that "There will come a day when the easiest thing will be to cut some corner, but you worked hard for your degree and for your license, don’t ever give them an excuse to take it away." I never forgot that.”

I left New York to volunteer for a human rights organization in South Africa, assisting refugees in making asylum claims as they fled neighboring countries. There, I learned that running a safari company was a job! (Next time around, for sure.) Back in the US, a trip to visit friends in Virginia led to a dance, a marriage, and a relocation to Charlottesville.

As I wasn’t licensed in Virginia just yet, I took a job working as an administrative assistant in a small elder law firm in Charlottesville. What I immediately appreciated, and that I never had in New York, was the client interaction I got on a daily basis. I got to meet actual families with real problems that we were uniquely equipped to solve.

I took the Virginia bar at the first opportunity, and have been practicing elder law ever since. In 2020, I decided to expand my reach by getting licensed to practice in West Virginia.

I immediately found myself identifying with the concerns of the 50-year married couple that just learned of a potentially devastating medical diagnosis. I shared their relief when they learned that we could help protect them financially and legally. I saw my grandfather in the WWII veterans (and my grandmother in their widows) whom we helped access their pension benefits to help pay for long term care, whether at home, in independent living, or in assisted living. And I reveled in ensuring that, when her husband went into a nursing home, a spouse was able to keep their home and enough to live on while he got the care he so needed.

Ari Headshots

I took the Virginia bar at the first opportunity, and have been practicing elder law ever since.

Once we had our baby, Elspeth, I recognized firsthand the concerns that young families have, too. What happens to Elspeth if we are in a car accident and won’t be home for a few days? Or ever? How can I direct what life insurance we have to a trust so that my sister in Seattle can manage the funds while dear friends in Virginia care for Elspeth day to day?

The phrase I never get tired of hearing is, “Phew, I feel so much better now.” The peace of mind that we’re able to give people is invaluable, and we’re proud to make that our main job.

To get in touch with me, use the contact form or call (540) 667-1266.

Professional Bio

Ari N. Sommer

Ari N. Sommer is an attorney primarily representing clients with asset protection, elder law, and estate planning needs. His particular focus is planning for long-term care, Medicaid pre-planning and crisis care, and Pension with Aid and Attendance benefits for wartime veterans and their spouses.

Ari grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. He earned his undergraduate degree at Pomona College in Claremont, CA in 2003, and graduated cum laude from Boston College Law School in 2009. Ari is admitted to practice law in Virginia, West Virginia, and New York, and is accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs to assist veterans and their families with applications for benefits. Separate from his law practice, Ari is also licensed in health and life insurance, and annuities, in order to advise and assist individuals with their long term care insurance needs.

Ari has served clients in Winchester since 2013, first through Stapleton Elder Law and, since January of 2017 with Harrison & Johnston, PLC. Ari and his daughter Elspeth are pleased to call Winchester their home.

Harrison & Johnston, PLC.
21 South Loudoun Street
Winchester, VA 22601
Phone: (540) 667-1266
Fax: (540) 667-1312

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