Warrenton attorney Marvin P. Rooker, better known as Marty, has announced his plans to retire — but not quite yet. He will complete legal services for current clients before he sets an official retirement date.
Rooker grew up on the family farm near the Oine community that he and his wife, Lynne, call home, and where Marty maintains a large, registered Black Angus herd.
A graduate of Norlina High School, he earned a degree in political science from East Carolina University in Greenville. Marty recalled that he worked hard in college to achieve his dream of attending law school.
He credits his uncle William, his father’s brother, with providing the inspiration for him to attend law school. William practiced for more than 50 years in Monroe, outside Charlotte.
Marty graduated from Cumberland School of Law in Lebanon, Tenn. Established in 1847, the law school later moved to the campus of Samford University in Homewood, Ala., a suburb of Birmingham.
After earning his law degree, Marty returned home to Warren County, where he took the oath of office as an attorney in August 1977.
He began his practice in the basement of the old Hunter building between BB&T and Warrenton Town Hall. Ironically, longtime local physician Dr. Hunter delivered Marty in the same building.
“My father said, ‘At least you’re not getting above your raising,’” Marty said.
The following year, he moved to the building’s main level.
As he settled into his practice, Marty found that many routine tasks can be learned only by doing them repeatedly over time. He said that local attorneys with established practices, especially Charlie Johnson and Jules Banzet, served as mentors, showing him how to complete day-to-day activities such as filing documents at the Warren County Courthouse.
Marty continued his private practice in the Hunter building until 1981, when his current office building on Bragg Street was completed. That building has now been the home for Marty’s law practice for 40 years.
“I will dearly miss the office,” he said.
Marty’s practice has evolved over the years. After completing law school, he accepted every case that came his way, both criminal and civil. Over time, he moved away from what he described as “complicated court matters” to focus on an office practice handling real estates, wills and estates, and contracts.
Just as his uncle inspired him to attend law school, Marty may have inspired other family members to follow in his footsteps, including his first cousin and several members of wife Lynne’s family.
“I like to think I inspired them, but they may have thought that if Marty can do it, I can,” he said.
For Marty, the time has come to start winding down his longtime practice to allow time for other things, but he has no plans to stop abruptly. He will finish all the legal matters he is working on now and will still take a few cases that can be completed over a short period of time.
Marty will have plenty to do after retirement. He will continue to raise cattle, but he plans to reduce his herd of 120 Black Angus by half.
He also plans to travel. While daughters Allison, Rebecca and Erin were growing up, he visited many states and also found travel opportunities with the North Carolina Angus Association and the American Angus Association. After retirement, he and Lynne hope to visit states and national parks that they have missed.
Marty and Lynne also plan to spend more time with their daughters and their families, especially the grandchildren.
There is still much preparation to complete as Marty winds down his law practice, including his plans to eventually sell what has become known as the Rooker building. As he looks to the future, is expressed gratitude for the clients from Warren County and the surrounding areas who have sought his counsel.
“I thank all my friends and clients for their patronage over the years,” Marty said. “People have been good to me, and I hope I’ve been good to them.”