Before coming to work for Washington Title and Guaranty Co. about a month ago, Phil Parsons served as the county attorney for Jones County for the past 10 years.
Parsons grew up on a farm in rural Richland, the son of Tim and Nancy Parsons. He graduated from Pekin High School before attending the University of Northern Iowa and then the University of Iowa College of Law. Now working as an associate attorney for the Washington firm, Parsons said he hoped to offer his wife Jessica and their four children Alexandra, Ezra, Julian and Micah, the opportunity to grow up on a farm as he had. The family now lives on Parsons’ grandfather’s former farm.
What brings you to Washington County?
This is kind of where I grew up. It was actually in Jefferson County, but my father’s farm is kind of in the corner of all three — Jefferson, Keokuk and Washington. We wanted to get back home to where I grew up and be close to my parents and for my kids to be close to their grandparents. So, probably about a year ago we started looking for opportunities in the area — in Fairfield and Washington — for a law firm looking to pick up an associate. We saw that Rick Bordwell was looking for someone to bring in-house and we talked with him.
Why did you decide to study law?
When I was in high school I had a teacher named Mr. Sojka who taught government. He is a lifelong teacher in Pekin. I really enjoyed him and it made me interested in exploring political science. I majored in political science as well as management information systems. When you major in political science, there is a lot of discussion in pre-law. I thinkthat is when I had that seed planted. At the end of my college career, you had the decision of what you wanted to do. I had interned at State Farm headquarters in Bloomington, Ill., as a business analyst. I knew that wasn’t going to be a good fit for me — sitting in a cubicle all day. I wanted to have more hands-on relationships with people. So, I decided to look into law school.
Since you have been back in the area, what do you think?
It’s been great to be home. I have been away for 20 years. I love living close to my parents. I love living on a farm. That is something we really wanted our kids to experience. I grew up on a farm and it was a great experience. So, we came back, met some people I hadn’t seen in a while, and attend some high school games, and just plug back into what I was doing two decades ago.
What’s your favorite thing about Washington?
My favorite thing right now is the unknown. I’m getting to know it. I have only been here for one month but so far everyone has been receptive and welcoming. I am excited about making connections and attending Rotary. It’s been good.
Tell me about moving from being a county attorney to an associate attorney.
Bordwell law office does a lot of real estate work. They do taxes and estate planning. I’ll do some criminal defense work, because that is kind of my knowledge base. As county attorney, you are corporate attorney for the entire county. Jones County is a little larger than Washington County and Jefferson County and we had two attorneys in the office. If a real estate issue came up I handled it. If an employment issue came up, I handled it. You kind of become a jack-of-all-trades. There is a difference, but it is not substantial. In law, there ae some basic parameters you work within.
What are some of your hobbies?
I love to spend time with my wife and kids. My kids are full of energy, so when I get home they basically jump on me, eager to tell me about their day. That takes up a lot of time. We are excited to get involved in a church. A side note is when I was in Jones County, I was also a pastor of a non-denominational church for six years. We have been going to Faith Baptist here in Washington and we are eager to plug in there and be part of that faith family. I love to read. I’m reading John Adams, a book by Dave McCullough. it has been out for 20 years, but I never got to it, so I have been plugging away on it at night. We are eager as it starts to warm up to get out on the farm and build a little hobby farm.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future professionally would be to build a practice. it takes time to build relationships and hopefully get a reputation for doing good-quality work and helping out where I can help.