Mercyhurst Magazine Fall 2014

Alums making mark in legal arena

Students majoring in criminal justice, English or political science can take a pre-law concentration within their departments. These majors provide students with a solid foundation for the rigors of law school. Michael Federici, Ph.D., chair of the political science department, says that in his 20+ years in the department, not a single graduating senior in political science who has applied to law school has failed to be accepted. Students in any major can pursue an 18-credit pre-law minor. In addition, students who have opted to not formally pick up a pre-law concentration or minor are still well prepared for law school as a result of the strong liberal arts foundation they receive at Mercyhurst. Bollheimer says the liberal arts focus at Mercyhurst helps develop “intellectually well- rounded students” who will succeed in law school. She adds, “Law schools are looking for students who understand various ways of thinking, who know how people and society work, and who can engage in solving difcult problems in the world.” Mercyhurst also has an infrastructure in place to assist students on the journey to law school, including an active Pre-Law Society that provides guidance on LSAT preparation and the admissions process. It brings in local attorneys and regional law school admissions representatives to meet with students, and organizes visits to law schools. There’s also a four ishing network of ‘Hurst alumni who routinely provide advice and mentoring for prospective law students. In the following pages, we profle just a f ew of Mercyhurst’s alumni lawyers.

The American Bar Association suggests students preparing for law school and legal careers need to excel in analytical thinking and problem solving, critical reading, writing, oral communication and listening, research, personal organization and management, serving others and promoting justice. Coincidentally, Mercyhurst’s core curriculum was designed to help students master all these essential skills and values. That might explain why increasing numbers of Mercyhurst graduates are earning admission to top law schools, receiving signifcan t scholarships, and launching successful legal careers. At least a half-dozen 2014 graduates began law school this fall, joining an impressive group of Mercyhurst alums who are already in law school and practicing law. Mercyhurst students have recently earned admittance to schools including the University of Michigan, DePaul University, Duquesne University, Hofstra, University of Pittsburgh, Case Western Reserve and Indiana University at Bloomington. Meredith Bollheimer, J.D., who has run Mercyhurst’s Pre-Law Society for the past nine years with Tina Fryling, J.D., says she is continually impressed with the number, quality and diversity of Mercyhurst students interested in attending law school. While the majority of pre-law students have been (and still are) political science majors, students from majors as varied as chemistry, public health, intelligence studies, history, business, criminal justice and dance are increasingly choosing to pursue pre-law studies and law school.

’36 GRAD WAS FIRST TO PURSUE LAW CAREER While the numbers may be on the rise now, dozens of Mercyhurst graduates have pursued law careers over the years, starting (it’s believed) with Catherine Durkin, a 1936 graduate who went on to serve as one of the frst la y members of the Mercyhurst Board of Trustees. Rosemary Durkin ’77 followed her Aunt Catherine to Mercyhurst, to law school and eventually into the Mercyhurst board room. She says Catherine fnished la w school in just two years, graduating from the Western Reserve University School of Law in 1948. She was the only woman in her class, and one of just fv e in the whole school, at a time when soldiers returning from World War II flled most of the sea ts. The school’s dean had encouraged Catherine to apply, but he died while she was a student. His successor didn’t believe women should be attorneys and refused to give her a letter of recommendation, but she found a job anyway, as in-house counsel for an insurance company. She continued to practice in a small fr m and later as a solo practitioner, primarily in trusts and estates law, until 1980. She died in 2009. Rosemary Durkin majored in history at Mercyhurst before attending Case Western Reserve, graduating in 1980. Today she’s a shareholder and member of the Trusts & Estates Group of Stark & Stark Attorneys at Law in Princeton, N.J. She’s married to fellow alum Jefr ey M. Best, and their daughter, Deirdre Best, graduated from Mercyhurst in the spring and is now a graduate student in education.

Albert Veverka ’05, fourth from left, hosted members of the Pre-Law Society on a visit to Pittsburgh law schools last year. With him, from left: Evan Christensen, now a student at Northern Illinois University College of Law; Mary Mancuso, now at Indiana University Maurer School of Law; Amanda Bortak; Emily Orlando; Kelsey Gorcica; Ian Grecco, now at Duquesne University School of Law; Joseph Wheeler; and Mike Vervoort.


Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online