A leader of the bar for nearly three decades, Al Bonin has unquestionably established himself as one of the top divorce and family law attorneys in Northern Virginia. Indeed, it's been a remarkable journey for the 60-year-old Bonin, whose personal traits of pragmatism, business acumen and dedication to work and family have earned him the position of President at the Fairfax firm of ShounBach, a powerhouse of Virginia divorce law. Bonin's mid-career move a decade ago from Colorado to the Washington area is viewed with both awe and respect ("You can't just pick up and move a successful practice," says a colleague. "Few of us could ever do that."), but it has given the progressive Bonin unique perspective and a broad worldview that will maintain his status as a positive influence in Virginia legal circles.
A native of Flushing, New York, Bonin majored in economics at Queens College, and attended William Mitchell College of Law. (Its most renowned alum: Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger.) Bonin was student-body president there two years in a row. Still, Bonin didn't practice law right away. With the instincts of an entrepreneur, in 1980 he launched with a colleague The National Center for Legal Education. A year later he had relocated the legal-services firm to Denver ("Colorado was one of the first states to mandate continuing education"), and helped build the business into a national presence before it was sold. In 1983 Bonin met at a party the renowned Denver divorce attorney Robert T. Hinds, Jr., who instantly recognized Bonin's talents and offered him a position the next day; Bonin worked with the veteran attorney ("A great mentor to me") for ten years. He then launched his own practice, and through the 1990s emerged as a leader of Colorado's divorce bar.
As Bonin's practice thrived, so too did the career of his wife, a director at KPMG. As Ginger Bonin endured the weekly strain of commuting to the firm's Washington, D.C., office, the family resolved the matter by Al agreeing to relocate - a move virtually unheard-of among top independent lawyers, who usually spend a lifetime building their reputation in a single locale. (In Denver Bonin had been deputized as a master of the courts, literally a stand-in for judges.) Yet with much at risk, Bonin has managed to succeed by all expectations in his current Virginia locale, and is now President and managing partner at ShounBach. Throughout his career Bonin has been known for his skillful advocacy in custody and parenting matters - as well as his perceptive insights on business valuation. Scores of clients in Virginia have already benefited from his expertise.
Today he and his wife live in Fairfax County, Virginia. They enjoy travel, tennis and the theater; Bonin has two grown daughters from his first marriage, one of whom is a lawyer, the other holds an MBA and works in human resources.