It's no secret -- Barrie Goldstein has a passion for the law.

For more than 30 years she served in the federal and state trial and appellate courts in New York, during which time she was involved in a number of significant cases.

Today, she focuses on civil litigation and family law out of her Washington Depot office at 12 Titus Road.

Attorney Goldstein opened the local practice, Barrie L. Goldstein LLC, in January 2008, following her lengthy career in New York.

"I recognize this as an important career move," Ms. Goldstein said of her practice during a recent interview at her office.

The lawyer said she enjoys being her own boss and loves deciding what her priorities are.

"I love the law," she said. "I'm intellectually challenged no matter what subject."

Since every case Ms. Goldstein takes on is different, she may have to do some research to familiarize herself with various subjects. She said she gladly invests the time needed to brush up on all the details she needs to know to represent her client to the best of her ability.

Sometimes that means sitting out on the porch of her Roxbury home with a laptop on a weekend, she said.

But that doesn't bother her because she prides herself in providing clients with quality legal representation.

"I bring New York skills and sophistication, but because I'm up here [in Connecticut] I don't bring the New York prices," she said.

In addition, because she is a trained New York lawyer, she said, her "skill set and experience permit [her] to operate on a different plane."

Ms. Goldstein said when she opened the firm in Washington she expected the majority of her business to come from local residents and through referrals.

While that has been the case, clients have also discovered her services through her Web site, with clients coming from the tri-state area and throughout Connecticut.

"I always like anyone I'm representing to know they can reach me 24 hours a day," Ms. Goldstein said.

In addition to individual cases, she works closely with the state's Susan B. Anthony Project, an organization dedicated to the healing and advocacy of domestic violence and sexual abuse survivors.

Some of her work has been done pro bono.

She is currently guardian ad litem for two cases, meaning she is representing children in a case.

Clasping her hands and holding them over her heart, she said, "It makes my heart sing" to help people. "It's doing what we should all do."

Some of the cases, however, take "an enormous amount of time." Despite that, the work is "rewarding," she said.

Roxbury First Selectman Barbara Henry said she was impressed with Ms. Goldstein's skill set when she first met her a few years ago. At the time, Roxbury was debating whether to join a group of towns addressing the Federal Aviation Administration proposal to change flight patterns.

Ms. Henry said the attorney offered her services to the town pro bono. As a result of much research, Ms. Goldstein came back to the town with her findings.

"I thought she did a great job," Ms. Henry said. "Her summary was clear, concise and to the point."

"She's got a great little spot [for her office] in Washington Depot, and she's very professional," Ms. Henry said.

Ms. Goldstein said she was in eighth grade in Bucks County, Pa., when she realized she wanted to become a lawyer, a career choice different from what was expected of girls her age at that time.

After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Syracuse University, she held firm to her interest in law and graduated with honors from George Washington Law School. While there, she developed and nurtured her interest in children's law, an area of law she would later come back to.

It was her decision as a law student to follow the advice of a lawyer, who suggested she apply to the United States Justice Department, that kicked off her career. She applied and was accepted into the department's honors program, to which only a few new lawyers are admitted.

At the time Ms. Goldstein was one of only a few women attorneys in the department. There, she honed her skills in her first job while defending "complex regulatory schemes, including, housing, renegotiation of government contracts, civil rights and two-tier price controls on domestic and imported oil," as described on her law firm's Web site.

"I developed seasoned litigation skills," she said of her five-year experience with the department.

"I'm a firm believer in the rule of law," Ms. Goldstein said. "If violated, our democracy falls apart."

"I really do believe that justice is available to all and that if you can make your case persuasively, a judge will listen to you," she said.

Following her role with the Justice Department, Ms. Goldstein worked for a New York City law firm and then joined the Office of the New York Attorney General as special litigation counsel, where she worked for 13 years and handled a variety of matters.

Eventually she got back into private practice and came full circle in her interest of the law. She served for almost five years as a director of special litigation at The Legal Aid Society, where she resumed her love of children's law and supervised all kinds of litigation and advocacy for children.

"I have always been involved in different cases and my strategy is, one, to have a strategy and, two, to know where I'm going, to have an end result, and, three, know what the intermediate steps are to get to the goal," Ms. Goldstein explained.

For more information, call Barrie Goldstein's office at 866-604-3865 or 860-946-4855, or e-mail