Joni and Ryan Washburn

Photo By Caitlin Able

Joni and Ryan Washburn stand in front of their new office in downtown Kentland, eager to greet clients and serve their community.

KENTLAND — Washburn Law and Knoller Title celebrated the opening of their new office in downtown Kentland on Tuesday, Nov. 30, with a ribbon cutting hosted by the Kentland Town Council.

Local attorney Ryan Washburn and his wife Joni opened their first office in Kentland in January of 2020, following Ryan’s aspirations of practicing law in the community that he was raised in.

“I’m sixth-generation here in Kentland,” he said. “My family was from here: my dad was raised here, and my grandfather was raised here. I might’ve been brought up in different places, but this is home. Being able to serve this community is what motivates me. Sometimes, work is work, but for me, the law and doing the title work is a catalyst and a method for us to help our neighbors. I love this county, and I love this community.”

Washburn graduated from Valparaiso University of Law and began practicing in 2018, after completing an internship with Robert Miller of Lake Village. Having seen his classmates graduate with the intention of working for law firms in Indianapolis and Chicago, Washburn turned his attention back toward his roots.

“That was never something that was on my list, going to work for a big mega-firm, putting in 2,500 billable hours a year at the expense of my family and my community,” he said. “I always knew I wanted to come back here, and that was always my goal. You kind of have to hang yourself on your own shingle, but there’s great opportunity for young folks to build a life helping people. You can do okay, and you can support your family. That’s what I always tell people: ‘My lights come on when I flip the switch, and my kids have food in their bellies and shoes on their feet. I’m doing okay.’ That’s all I care about. If you’re doing it for the money, you’re going to be disappointed. If you’re doing it for the people, the money will come.

In keeping with his efforts to be a community-centric office, Washburn works closely with his wife, Joni, who also owns and operates Just Dance Studio across the street from the new law office. While both admitted the challenges of working together and balancing a family, Ryan and Joni agreed that they would not change anything.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Ryan. “I couldn’t imagine not being able to endeavor next to my family, even to the point where my kids come here after school. It’s our family serving the community, not just me as an individual.”

The secondary name of Washburn Law, Knoller Title, was derived from taking the first letter from each of the Washburns’ children’s names to spell out a word, ensuring that the office’s focus on family and community could not be forgotten.

Having previously worked in property and casualty insurance (P&C) and as a restaurateur in Kentland, Washburn sought to bring his interest in real estate and title work into the community and help support his neighbors by sharing his experience.

“I thought now was a good time to be able to provide that opportunity for helping people’s dreams come true — of being able to own a home — and demystify the process of transferring real estate,” explained Washburn. “Most people don’t know, ‘What is title insurance? What does title work mean?’ They [just] know they have to have it! Our goal is to demystify some of that, so that when people come in to transfer, buy, or sell property, we can take away some of that mystery, the man behind the curtain, the ‘Wizard of Oz’ kind of smoke and mirrors that goes on.”

See WASHBURN on Page 2

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