Ahwatukee attorney Ken Royer remembers his military roots.
Royer is a sole practitioner primarily in family law with a special emphasis on helping veterans.
“Having served myself, I have a good idea what a lot of these folks in the military go through when they get out of the service,” he said, explaining:
“They have a lot of issues adjusting to civilian life when they get home from being deployed, with things like VA benefits, credit card debt and far too often, divorce.
“Because I know what those issues are, and have navigated some of them myself, I want to help smooth their path back into civilian life, so I do what I can to make that transition easier for them.”
Royer offers his services free to veterans – although his clients are responsible for any court fees.
“It just seems like the least I can do for people who have made such a commitment to our country and may be having some challenges adjusting now that they’re back in the States,” he said.
Royer enlisted in the Navy right out of college in 1979 and went to Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida, then began an 18-month flight school training.
Upon completion of flight school, he was assigned to a squadron that flew off aircraft carriers, eventually assigned to a seven-month mission patrolling the Mediterranean Sea aboard the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga.
“For someone who joined the Navy to be a pilot, it was a dream,” he said. “I got at least 60 hours of flight time a month, plus 150-170 carrier landings each cruise. It’s really the dream assignment for a pilot, because your whole world during that time is built around flying, and that’s the reason most of us joined the Navy in the first place.”
Royer primarily flew the A-6 Intruder, an attack aircraft He was on active duty for more than seven years, a second carrier tour aboard the USS John F. Kennedy that took him from the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal, the Indian Ocean and finally to Australia.
He finished his tour at NAS China Lake, California, a Navy test facility where he worked on the military’s original GPS system – the first of its kind in the world.
“It’s hard to believe now when we all have one that fits inside our smartphone, but the original system I tested was nine inches wide, nine inches high and 24 inches long and weighed 80 pounds,” he said.
“It seems crazy compared to now, but back then that was viewed as an incredible technological breakthrough.”
But when it came time to get into a long-term commitment to the Navy, he instead chose the private sector, becoming a test pilot for Rockwell in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
There he began a 12-year stint testing Rockwell’s avionics and flight control systems in planes built by manufacturers from all over the world including Cessna, Lear, Bombardier, Dassault, Saab and others.
Royer said it more dangerous than being a military test pilot.
“In the military, every plane has been thoroughly tested and passed before it gets to the flight line,” he said. “We pushed the envelope on a lot of them to see what their ultimate capabilities were, but we knew they were inherently safe.
“In the private sector, we were basically flying prototypes, where there were only one or two of these planes in existence. There was no interior, they were stripped down and the company was trying to find out what they could do. There was a limited track record with these prototype aircraft. It was dangerous but exhilarating.”
During his last two years at Rockwell, he went to law school at the University of Iowa.
He eventually came to Phoenix and was hired at Phoenix’ Snell & Wilmer, where he practiced construction and corporate litigation. He then became general counsel for Summit Builders.
After six years, in 2004, he started his own firm in Ahwatukee focusing primarily on family law.
Why give up a promising big-firm career?
“The stories you hear about beginning associate attorneys are true – they really do work 60-80+ hours a week,” he said. “I was going to be missing out on too many big events in my kids’ lives.
“My daughter was a world-class figure skater in her age group, and my sons were involved in hockey and baseball and playing in golf tournaments and I didn’t want to miss their childhood with my nose buried in legal papers, so I decided to take charge of my future and started my firm. I’ve never looked back and never had a day of regret.”
Over the course of the next several years, Royer completed six full Ironman Triathlons and two half Ironmans, nearly getting to the qualifying time for the world championships in Kona, Hawaii.
Royer Family Law strives to help its’ clients reach a fair resolution to any issue related to a divorce including child custody and child support modification and enforcement; domestic violence and orders of protection; community property division and Department of Child Services issues.
Information: 480-363-6311 or email@example.com