By JUDY SHERARD
STOCKTON -- Joe Gasper didn't set out to be an attorney in his hometown.
"I never had any plans to go to law school," he said.
He earned an animal science degree from Kansas State University as his wife, Megan, was finishing her master's degree.
"Her brother was an attorney, and (he) talked to me about it," Gasper said. "I decided to take the LSAT (law school admission test), applied to law school and got in. So I decided to go."
After completing law school at the University of Kansas, he passed the bar in 2004. He worked for the Garden City law firm of Hope, Mills, Bolin, Collins and Ramsey until he opened his own office earlier this summer.
Gasper, a 1995 graduate of Stockton High School, and Megan, a native of Americus, have two children, Jack, 5, and Meredith, 2.
Since Jack was getting ready to start kindergarten, it seemed like the right time for a move.
Megan, a speech pathologist, is working part-time filling in at the school cooperative, but Gasper said she would like to return to working full-time.
Gasper opened his office at 419 Main in what once was retail space.
His parents, Dan and Lois Gasper, farm in the area, and his dad was the general contractor and finished much of the work renovating the building, he said.
The original wood floors and tin ceiling were retained and refinished to the original character.
Gasper's office is a short half block walk from the courthouse, he said.
With a general practice, his work includes real estate transactions, estate planning and family law.
"I did some water law in Garden City, but not as many people in this area practice (water law). They don't have as many water issues," he said.
Growing up in Stockton, he knows the other attorneys in town and has gotten a warm welcome.
While he misses having partners to discuss legal issues with, "it's nice being my own boss as much as you can be when you have clients."