Walter N. Thorp is a 2002 graduate of Regent Law School, Virginia Beach, which he attended after retiring as a Major from the United States Air Force. After his admission to the Virginia Bar later that year, he opened his own law firm and specialized for several years in estate planning for persons with disabilities, guardianships and disability law before expanding his practice to include family law, criminal defense work and personal injury. In 2003, he was admitted to practice before the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eastern District. In 2005, he was certified as a Senior Chartered Life Assistance Planner (ChLAP) with the National Center on Life Planning, Northridge, California.
As a ChLAP, Mr. Thorp takes families who have members with special needs through a planning process designed to anticipate and practically prepare for the myriad of legal, financial, social and other challenges that face families who have members with special needs. Such challenges range from adult guardianships to family and special needs trusts to issues involving public benefits such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). He is published with the Journal of Disability Policy Studies, a journal of the Hammill Institute on Disabilities, wrote the training program used by the National Center on Life Planning, and is a ChLAP instructor.
As a retired military officer who spent much of his career overseas and with combat experience in Vietnam, Grenada, Panama and the Gulf War, Mr. Thorp is particularly sensitive to the full spectrum of legal and social issues with which members of our armed forces struggle—both active duty and retired.
After enlisted service in Air Force intelligence, he served as an Army infantry squad leader with the Kansas National Guard before earning his Bachelors in Science Degree in News
Editorial Journalism at the University of Kansas in 1981. He was commissioned in the Air Force that same year and later served as the Public Affairs Officer for Pope AFB, North Carolina; the United States Forces, Azores; and Dover AFB, Delaware. While at Pope AFB, he participated in Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada and later became a qualified parachutist by jumping with members of the elite 82nd Airborne Division. While in the Azores, Mr. Thorp earned his Masters in Public Administration Degree from Troy State University (1986). While at Dover AFB, Mr. Thorp participated in Operation Just Cause in Panama, the first Gulf War, counternarcotics assistance to Colombia, and several humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping missions to various African nations.
A 1990 graduate of the Air Force Academic Instructor School, Mr. Thorp taught advanced news media relations skills to military officers from all services at Defence Information School, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indianapolis, Indiana. While at Fort Harrison (1995), Mr. Thorp earned accreditation in public relations (APR) from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).
While serving as the public affairs plans officer for United States Atlantic Command (USACOM), headquartered at Norfolk Naval Base, he assisted in planning numerous NATO partnership for peace as well as U.S. joint military training exercises and combat operations and where he trained general officers and their public affairs staffs in the conduct of joint task force combat and peacekeeping operations.
Just before retiring from the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley AFB, Virginia, Mr. Thorp as the Public Affairs Officer for the 4404th Wing (Provisional), Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia, as they enforced the southern no-fly zone in Iraq.
Mr. Thorp worked closely with Disability Planning of Virginia, a financial and disability advocacy firm founded in 1995 by his wife, Cindy (Cyd) Thorp, until she passed away suddenly in 2009. He currently works with a staff of one paralegal and one assistant/receptionist representing clients from throughout the Tidewater and Richmond area.
In his spare time, Mr. Thorp teaches Torah and the Hebrew Scriptures. He is a past professor with the Messianic Bureau International Yeshiva. In 2008, he was ordained a Messianic Rabbi by the Coalition of Torah Observant Messianic Congregations (CTOMC) headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Mr. Thorp has two children and four grandchildren.