Robinson returns home to offer legal advice


For many newcomers to the area, the Robinson property that used to sit where Giant and the Millville Shopping Center now sit doesn’t bring back any memories or ring any bells. But to locals, and transplants living in the area long enough to consider themselves locals, it’s a little bit of history. And to local attorney Manaen S. “Robbie” Robinson IV, it means so much more.

The house was his paternal grandparents’ house and his father, Manaen S. Robinson III, was born there.

“My dad likes to say he was born in the magazine section of Giant,” explained Robinson with a laugh. “My family has been here since the beginning, landing in Lewes in the 1700s and eventually migrating down to Millville.”

It is those local roots that he hopes will help propel his new career as an attorney with the Law Office of Kim DeBonte. Robinson had clerked for DeBonte during his summers in law school and started working there full-time after passing the bar exam in December of 2007.

The office is located in Georgetown but offers services to people from all around the area. Robinson – who spent his childhood in and around the Millville area, attending schools in the Indian River School District – is now looking to build his coastal clientele.

As with many young people who go away to school, he said he always knew he would come home to the area to settle down. After graduating from Indian River High School in 1999 and the University of Delaware in 2003 with a criminal justice degree, he took some time off to figure out his next move.

“I thought I wanted to be a police officer,” he said, explaining that both his father and step-father, Rick Chamberlain, had been in law enforcement. “But after taking some legal classes my freshmen year, I thought I might want to go in more of that direction.”

After his year off, which he spent working locally, he applied to several law schools, including Widener and Albany Law School in New York, where he eventually attended and from which he graduated. He said it was nice to get out of Delaware for a while, but he was glad to get home, too.

“I could have gone to Widener, but I had gone to U.D. in Newark and I wanted to get out of Delaware. But, ultimately, I always wanted to come back. It’s great here. You have the beach, and my family is here,” he said.

Robinson and DeBonte practice general family law and deal with issues ranging from landlord/tenant cases to custody, divorce and property divisions, among other things. Besides going to court, attorneys such as Robinson equally divide their time researching other case outcomes, meeting with clients and drafting legal motions. Also, like with many professions, Robinson must stay on top of his legal education and take 24 credit hours of continuing education every two years.

Another thing people might not realize about being an attorney, Robinson said, is that, much of the time, you are dealing with people at very difficult times in their lives.

“It’s difficult and challenging,” he said. You have to maintain your professionalism and try to help your clients not think with only their emotions.”

He said being an attorney is nothing like how they are shown in the media, but it’s that kind of challenge that keeps things fresh.

“It’s nerve-wracking,” he said of litigating. “There is a lot of preparation. It’s nothing like TV, where the people just break down and say, ‘I did it!’ But I like what I am doing. There is always something new, and that keeps it interesting.”

Robinson and his wife, Kara Deldeo Robinson – who is a teacher and another graduate of Indian River High School with local roots – now live in Millsboro.

As for the old Robinson house: It looks a little different after extensive renovations, but it still exists, on a new lot just down the road on Cedar Drive. Like with Robinson himself, the ties of a local history just can’t be denied.

For more information on the Law Office of Kim DeBonte, or to reach Robinson, visit www.debontelaw.com online or call (302) 856-7570.