Family Law/Divorce

Getting Personal with Betty Moore Sandler

By August 5, 2016 No Comments

ROOTS: Kentucky born and bred, Betty grew up in Prestonsburg and “each day after grade school, I literally walked right to the Floyd County courthouse” where both of her parents worked. For 12 years, DuRan Moore held the elected position of County Court Clerk, and his wife, Kathleen Campbell Moore, Betty’s mother, was chief deputy clerk. “All those years, I campaigned with Daddy, or for him. Public service was our family’s life.”

Betty at one of the many Kentucky championship games she’s attended.

ALTERNATE CAREER:  Betty never intended to practice law, but at age 12 decided she wanted a law degree to further her political aspirations. “I ran for every office in high school. I was always going to be an elected official in some capacity.” After graduating from the University of Kentucky in 1969, she started law school there but was interrupted by the birth of her son.  Then, she went to the biggest courthouse in the land—Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.  “I’d have gone to Kansas if that’s where the nation’s capitol was located,” she says. Betty worked on the Hill during Watergate and, later, in the private sector as a legislative and policy analyst and lobbyist for nearly 15 years all totaled.

WHY LAW? Betty completed her law degree 10 years after beginning it simply because, “I couldn’t abide not completing something I started,” she says. While she loved the legislative process, the less desirable fundraising activities became pervasive. On a lark, she took the Virginia bar exam and nearly a week later answered an ad and interviewed with Paul Nichols at a law firm located “south on Interstate 95 in a place called Prince William County. I had no idea where that was.” Nichols selected Betty from among 75 applicants.  Years later, her familiarity and legal expertise in Prince William County led Betty to become the founding President of the Prince William County Bar Foundation.

Betty and her husband in Argentina

FAVORITE TEAM: Being part of the Big Blue Nation as a UK basketball fan “was built into my DNA,” Sandler says, recalling her family’s regular three-hour trips to Lexington as season ticket holders during her childhood. Inducted in 2008 as a UK Alumni Association Fellow, Betty’s social calendar from October through March is dictated by Wildcat Basketball—traveling to watch them play in Rupp Arena, as well as in Maui (three times), Madison Square Garden, The Barclay Center, Philadelphia, and the NCAA Championship venues she has attended, including Indianapolis and New Orleans.

PASSIONS: Betty still owns shoes from her teenage years and has added significantly to her collection since then. “Some people would say I have a thing for shoes and jewelry,” she says. Music is a common thread throughout her life, as she trained on the piano from age 5 through high school and also played the clarinet. Foreign travel is not only a passion, but also integral to her practice as the NZS Law expert in international family law.

BEST BAND: A true child of the 1960’s, Betty favors rock and roll and is currently seeking out concert tours of favorite bands from her youth before they “disband or die.” She’s recently seen Cher, the Eagles, Stevie Nicks and Bon Jovi.

Betty and her father in 2012 when he served as Grand Marshall for a hometown parade.

BIGGEST INFLUENCE: Betty credits her parents with greatly influencing who she is today. “They were tough disciplinarians who taught me to be independent, and then didn’t want me to be!” she says. Betty whizzed through high school to graduate at 16 and leave the house as soon as possible. However, in true entrepreneurial fashion, her parents pursued an opportunity, changing careers and moving the family to Lexington during Betty’s freshman year in high school, so she could live at home when she went to college. Attending the University of Kentucky “was a natural choice. It was also the only option for me. My parents  said you will go there.”

PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES: Perseverance and independence were instilled early in Betty’s life and helped her flourish as a young college student, new D.C. resident far from home, single mother, career switcher and as one of the metro area’s most respected divorce and family law attorney, as evidenced by her lengthy credentials list.

Three generations: Betty, her mother and her eldest grandson.

FAMILY: Husband Charles Sandler, her son and three grandchildren form the nucleus of Betty’s family, augmented by her Mother who still lives in Kentucky.

SOURCE OF PROFESSIONAL PRIDE: When the ex-wife of a man whom Betty had represented in their divorce case recommended Betty to a friend, “That’s the highest type of praise,” says Betty, adding that the large amount of referrals she receives brings her great pride. She also enjoys the respect of her peers and is named to the highest levels in peer-reviewed ratings, such as Martingale-Hubble AV, acknowledged nationally as the most objective indicator of an attorney’s ability and ethical standards of practice.

Betty’s granddaughter, in a 2006 photo.

WHAT SETS HER APART: During divorce proceedings, “I don’t let people act ugly,” Betty says, abiding by the philosophy that reasonable minds can differ respectfully with one another. “People are seeing me at the lowest point in their lives. They need to know they are being heard, even if they don’t like what I’m going to say in response,” she adds.

ON NZS LAW: “The secret to any attorney’s success is to have a really good staff, and we have that,” at Nichols, Zauzig and Sandler, Betty says.  She stresses the firm is committed to providing the highest level of ethical standards and legal service to their clients. As Betty says,  “They deserve the best and we each do everything we can to see that our clients get just that.”