An opportunity to make a difference
Today, Cord Hall ’04, J.D., fights for those without a voice and for those who need help the most. But, while a student at Radford University, he was not sure where his path would take him.
With determination and endless support from his wife, Kourtney ‘01, Cord was able to discover his passion and persevere in his educational and professional goals.
Often, the most meaningful journeys are also the ones with the most plot twists. Cord began his educational journey at Radford, but in the late 1990s he realized that between being present for his wife and young child, working full-time and keeping up with course work had become too much. Being a family man through-and-through, Cord took a break from college.
“About two years later, I realized that I wanted more out of my career and that I didn’t want to be doing broadcast engineering for the rest of my career,” Cord said. “So, I enrolled in a community college to see if I could handle working and school again.”
Through sheer determination, Cord refocused and resolved to finish what he had started.
“I wrote a letter to Radford University, and I reapplied,” Cord said. “In my letter, I explained where I was, what was transpiring and, frankly, I said, ‘I want you to believe and trust in me.’ I wanted them to give me the opportunity to show and demonstrate that their faith in me will not be misplaced.”
Radford’s trust in Cord was certainly not misplaced.
Cord responded to this second chance with a renewed focus on family and education. With the support of his wife, Cord balanced the rigors of family, academia and working.
“It was a redoubled devotion to his academics,” said Professor of History Matthew Oyos, Ph.D., one of Cord’s professors. “He was a good student to begin with, and had to leave for a while, but by then, you're a little older, a little more mature. He was really driven and even more energetic than I had seen before. But, I think that's a signature of Cord Hall.”
Oyos said that Cord is an example of what people can do when they work hard and are motivated to make a difference.
“It's just one of the great rewards of teaching is to see someone who has taken their education and made the most of it and to think you had some small role to play in that,” Oyos said.
Cord’s vision of where he wanted his career to take him drove him to his success. “Once I was given an opportunity, there was no way I was going to let it slip through my fingers,” Cord said.
And, the proof was in the academic success he achieved. Cord graduated summa cum laude with a double major in political science and history.
Cord wanted to be a child advocate. Driven to serve in ways few are, Cord saw a way that he could have a lasting positive impact on his local region by being an advocate for those who needed a voice.
That led him to the University of Virginia School of Law.
Cord lived in Christiansburg, while attending UVA’s School of Law, to aid with family expenses, which resulted in a two-hour commute. That presented several challenges to Cord, who would often load up their Jeep with a pillow and blanket to sleep outside of the Arthur J. Morris Law Library.
“You have to do what you have to do,” Cord said about the commute to Charlottesville. “I almost left law school twice. I would have left if it wasn’t for my wife. She told me that we hadn’t gotten this far to give up.”
Cord continued to demonstrate his commitment to finish what he started, no matter the cost. He successfully completed law school and earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree. That education and associated credentials allowed him to achieve his ultimate dream of supporting and serving children from his hometown.
In 2015, Cord decided to start his own practice, where he specializes in adoption, family law litigation, representing the Department of Social Services in Pulaski County and representing children as Guardian Ad Litem.
What truly drives Cord is being able to help the children who otherwise lack legal representation.
Cord works closely with Child Protective Services to secure the best possible outcomes for children, often making in-home visits to see everything firsthand.
“You shouldn't be doing that kind of work unless you are willing to work hard,” Cord said. “As an advocate, a child advocate and legal advocate, I can get in there and actually work the problem right then and right there.”
Meetings with children often happen outside his office, Cord said. “I go to them.”
“The schools know me on a first-name basis, and they know they can trust me,” Cord said. “They know that, if I am on the case, I am going to take care of it. We’re going to do whatever we need to do for this child. I cannot drop the ball. You have to go above and beyond for a child, and that’s what I strive to do for each and every one of them.”
A love for children is something both Cord and Kourtney share. Kourtney is a Montgomery County kindergarten teacher, having previously worked in Floyd County for 16 years.
“I've always had a connection with children,” Kourtney said. “I really felt my calling was to teach, and I wanted to make a difference and be one of those great teachers that I had growing up. I see the most growth in students. If I get to teach them how to read, I get to give them this gift and teach them the love of learning, and I get to be a part of that magic.”
In addition to being responsive, resilient and real, Cord embodies the love for community that is a core value of Radford University. He was elected to Christiansburg Town Council, where he served two terms, including a one-year term as Vice-Mayor. Cord was also appointed as a member of the Pulaski County Best Practices Team for Children in Foster Care, was recognized as the 2013 Guardian ad litem of the Year for children by NRV Cares/Court Appointed Special Advocates, presently serves on the Christiansburg Recreation Advisory Commission and further as the Commission’s representative on the current PPEA for the proposed Christiansburg Town Park, and was nominated and unanimously confirmed in the Summer of 2019, to serve on the Board of Directors for Children’s Trust.
Cord also is serving his second term as the Bar Council Representative for the 27th Judicial Circuit for the Virginia State Bar. Cord’s circuit includes the counties of Montgomery, Floyd, Giles, Pulaski, Carroll, Bland, Grayson and Wytheville, as well as the cities of Galax and Radford.
A steadfast dedication to helping children goes beyond Cord’s work within his law firm. He coaches girls’ softball and is impassionate about not only teaching girls the fundamentals of the game, but also coaching their character through emphasis on sportsmanship, commitment to team and perseverance. He makes it fun, while celebrating the value each girl brings to the collective team.
Cord’s passion for people and the community propel him forward, as his family stands beside him, each step of the way. His story inspires as he demonstrates the power of being an overcomer. He selflessly serves and advocates for others and is leaving a lasting and positive legacy. He is truly a Highlander.
“Responsive. Resilient. Real.” is an online story series published by Radford University that began in spring 2019. The ongoing series celebrates the Highlander spirit of students, faculty, staff and alumni by sharing their unique stories and their strong sense of Highlander pride. Through being responsive, resilient and real, Highlanders are making a positive impact and leaving a lasting legacy on our campus and in communities around the world.