When Julia Craft became a partner in what used to be Joseph & Hollander LLC, she essentially changed jobs without going anywhere.

That’s because Craft had been leasing space since 2004 in Joseph & Hollander’s building at 500 N. Market. So when she decided to blend her independent practice with the firm and become its fourth partner, she was able to keep the same office.

The firm announced Craft’s partnership, and the firm’s name change to Joseph, Hollander & Craft LLC, this month. The 11-year-old firm has 13 attorneys and offices in Wichita, Kansas City, Lawrence & Topeka.

Ross Hollander, the firm’s president, says Craft has a strong background in family law, which is an area of practice that he hopes to grow with Craft’s addition.

Hollander says he has gotten to know Craft since she moved into the building, and he describes her as a hard worker and a premier family law practitioner.

“She is very good with clients and tells them what they need to know but does it in a way that instills confidence in them,” Hollander says. “She’s very deliberative.”

Craft is a graduate of Wichita State University and the University of Kansas School of Law. Before going into private practice, she was an assistant district attorney in Sedgwick County from 1982 to 1989, primarily prosecuting sex offenses.

Craft was a political science major at WSU. She says that background gave her a foundation in understanding how and why laws are created.

“I was interested in politics as a teenager, and that is probably what steered me initially toward law,” Craft says.

Once she got into law, Craft says, she gained valuable courtroom experience working for two summers as an intern with the district attorney’s office, which helped her later when she became an assistant district attorney under Clark Owens.

Other attorneys and people in law enforcement often seek Craft’s advice because of her experience as a prosecutor.

Beckie Miller, a former detective for the Wichita Police Department, worked with Craft when she was in the district attorney’s office.

The two remain good friends, and Miller, now an instructor with the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center, regularly calls on Craft for her legal opinion on material she plans to present in class.

“She is willing to share her expertise, and I value her perspective on things,” Miller says. “She is a straight shooter and tells you the way it is.”

Music, sports and travel

Craft, 56, is a native Wichitan and the oldest of three sisters.

She serves on Sedgwick County’s civil service review board and participates in a mentoring program through the Wichita Bar Association. Craft also is involved with the Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center and has been a board member there.

Craft, who is not married, says her work limits her free time, but sports and music are two of her favorite diversions.

She frequents Kansas City Chiefs home games and occasionally takes in Kansas City Royals games as well.

Craft also is a concertgoer and lists Barbra Streisand, Stevie Wonder and Tina Turner among her all-time favorites.

In 2009, she planned to attend a Michael Jackson concert in London, but the singer died just before his “This Is It” concert series was to begin.

The trip to England still happened, though. Craft says she enjoys travel and goes on a cruise every couple years, mostly recently in Europe.

Miller, of the Law Enforcement Training Center, says Craft’s interests in sports, art and music make her a well-rounded person.

“You can’t help but connect with her,” Miller says. “I always learn something from her.”

The Julia Craft file

Age: 56.
Title: Partner, Joseph, Hollander & Craft LLC.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science from Wichita State University; law degree from the University of Kansas School of Law.
Experience: Assistant district attorney, Sedgwick County District Attorney’s office, 1982 to 1989; private practice, 1989-2012; partner, Joseph, Hollander & Craft, present.

Josh Heck covers health care, legal services, professional services and education.

 

By Josh Heck
Wichita Business Journal

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