Johnston-Walsh on Teaching
I teach because of my commitment to improve the legal representation of our most vulnerable population — children. Without high quality legal representation, children can suffer additional trauma in the legal system. Based on my experiences in the public schools and legal system, I developed the Children’s Advocacy Clinic to teach law students how to become strong advocates. The skills and substantive law topics taught in the clinical program easily translate to all areas of the law – oral advocacy, research, writing, client interviewing, and policy development. The clinic also involves interdisciplinary collaboration with social work and medicine, providing exposure to the benefits of working along with other professions.
Johnston-Walsh on Scholarship
Through my teaching and service, I am regularly exposed to areas of law where additional research and study is needed. For example, due to concerns regarding poor quality lawyering, I developed a study on the quality of legal representation of children. The research involved visiting courtrooms across the state, surveying attorneys, and producing a report identifying the concerns regarding practice. The report has led to some court rules and policy changes in practice. I also regularly produce timely legal issue briefs to provide assistance to practitioners, and regularly comment on legislation as well as drafting legislation.
Johnston-Walsh on Service
I serve the Law School, the University, and the broader community through involvement on various boards, working groups, and committees. Most recently, I was appointed to the University’s Task Force on Child Maltreatment to improve policies on reporting child abuse on campus. Since the program’s inception, I have served on the Law School’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program for alumni entering low-paying public interest careers. I also serve on statewide working groups through the PA Office of Children, Families and the Courts.
Johnston-Walsh on Community
I am involved in the community in various ways. I have served on the Cumberland County Children & Youth Services Advisory Board, the Cumberland County Court of Common Pleas Roundtable for Children, and the local working group for youth aging out of foster care. Those committees all work to improve services offered to children in our region. I previously served on the Clean Air Board, and local community health foundation board.
Johnston-Walsh's Engagement with the Profession
My work in the clinics keeps me involved with the practice of law on a daily basis. In my role as clinic supervisor I work alongside student interns, attending court proceedings and participating in negotiations, mediations, judicial conferences, and formal hearings. I also work to improve the practice by being very involved with the local and state bar associations by offering legal education programs.