Associate Professor of Clinical Law
Director, Community Law Clinic
J.D., Penn State University, The Dickinson School of Law
B.A., University of Delaware
Community Law Clinic
My teaching in the Community Law Clinic focuses equally between substantive areas needed for practice in the fields of family, disability, and poverty law and skills necessary to practice in any field. I believe that students involved in clinics should understand the basics of the type of law they are practicing in the clinics, but more importantly, they should leave the clinical experience confident that they can go into any field of law and be successful. Therefore, I incorporate class sessions on writing, understanding poverty/economic diversity, professional responsibility, hearing/case preparation, and advocacy. My goal is to make all of my interactions with students teaching moments; be they in a formal classroom setting or in one on one case reviews and discussions.
Clinicians have the unique opportunity to experience direct client representation and look at current issues affecting clients, law students, the legal community, and academia. The ability to capitalize on those experiences is vital. Much of my research is in the area of poverty and the treatment that people living in poverty receive in the court system, specifically the family court system.
No man is an island and, therefore, it is important to be involved in each of the communities that surround us, including the law school community. Within the law school, I enjoy serving on the communications committee, the clinical and experiential learning committee, and the honor code committee. I also serve on the Penn State Hershey Medical Center’s Ethics Committee.
I believe that the privilege of being a member of the law school comes with the responsibility of serving the local community—both to give the legal and professional expertise that may be necessary, and simply to serve as a member of a larger community. Outside of the law school, I sit on the boards of numerous state and local organizations and I am very involved with the state and local bar associations. I am the vice-president of the Carlisle Early Education Center and am on the board of the Community Justice Project. I am a past chair of the Cumberland County Young Lawyers Division and currently sit on the Cumberland County Bar Association Board of Directors as an at large director. I am a county delegate to the Pennsylvania Bar Association House of Delegates, and serve as the Zone 3 co-chair for the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division.
I spent the first three years after law school working for a private law firm handling family, dependency, and bankruptcy matters. At the Community Law Clinic, we represent indigent clients in family and dependency law matters, and disability law matters.
As an attorney practicing regularly with and in front of the local bar and bench, I interact with other practicing attorneys and judges on a weekly, if not daily, basis. I bring in attorneys and judges to speak to students in the Clinic throughout each semester. I believe strongly that the tie between practicing attorneys and judges and our students can never be strong enough. I like to have students see “real life” attorneys and judges and I believe it is very important for those same people to be involved in the teaching of our students. As mentioned previously, I am very involved with the state and local bar associations and various committees within those organizations. The benefits that flow from my participation in those organizations run to me and my students, and hopefully back again as students graduate and become members of those same organizations.
In an alternate life, I would have loved to be an international spy, or a world acclaimed dancer, or maybe both at the same time. But alas, I’m neither. I still enjoy reading books and watching movies about them. I love spending time with my family hiking in the woods or playing in a sandbox somewhere.