Judges, friends salute retiring lawyer
WARRENTON — A steady stream of well-wishers made their way to the second-floor courtroom of the Warren County Courthouse on Wednesday to pay their respects to Julius “Jules” Banzet III.
Banzet is retiring after practicing law for 50 years in Warren County.
At an informal reception provided by his colleagues at Banzet, Thompson & Styers, Banzet had an opportunity to chat with many of the people he has represented, worked with or simply socialized with over the years.
In the one formal moment, Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood addressed the group to extend his best wishes to Banzet.
“For years Jules has represented the Ninth District as councilor,” Hobgood said. “He was selected by the lawyers of the Ninth District and served without remuneration. He has brought distinction on this part of the state and on himself.”
Other judges expressed their good wishes and thanks for Banzet’s service.
“He’s a scholar and gentleman in every sense of the word,” said Daniel Finch, chief judge for the district. “He’s learned in the law and treats everyone with courtesy. He’ll be sorely missed.”
District Court Judge Randolph Baskerville gave a picture of how Banzet shared his time and knowledge with other attorneys.
“When I was a young lawyer starting out, I came to him for advice,” he said.
“He’s a fixture,” said District Court Judge John W. Davis.
A broad spectrum of the community was represented at the reception.
“I’ve known him all my life,” said Harriet Cooper. “His mother and my mother were best friends.”
Andrew Hundley, who has a lawn business in Warrenton, introduced himself as Banzet’s “lawn boy.” He added, “He’s a fine guy.”
Warrenton real estate agent Audrey Tippett told how Banzet’s father, Julius Banzet Jr., had treated her with courtesy and sympathy when, as a young woman, she had received a traffic ticket.
“Jules is cut from the same mold,” she said. She relies on him to search titles and deeds for her business.
“He’s the best,” she added.
“He’s a fixture in the courthouse, especially in the Register of Deeds office,” said Richard Hunter, Warren County Clerk of Superior Court. Reflecting on Banzet’s retirement, he added, “That’s a lot of knowledge going out the door.”
The law firm Banzet, Thompson & Styers has been a fixture in Warrenton for the better part of a century. It was founded in the 1920s by Banzet’s father and B.B. “Buck” Williams and has gone through several changes, although Banzet has always been part of the name.
It is apparent that Banzet will not be idle, although he is leaving active law practice. Among other interests, he is a town commissioner for Warrenton. He and his wife, Harriet, are active with Preservation Warrenton.
Harriet said she doesn’t expect him to sit around the house.
“He has so many things he wants to do,” she said.
Banzet confirmed that assessment. He said he didn’t have any plans, at least not yet.
“I still have three weeks to go,” he said. “I’ll ease up a little. I want to make a joyful noise in the woods and watch my pine trees grow.”
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