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      Commonwealth Law News

      Widener Law Commonwealth Alumni Honored


      Evening at the Capitol

      Two alumni were honored at the annual Evening at the Capitol held in the rotunda of the capitol building in Harrisburg.

      Widener Law Commonwealth recently honored alumni at the annual Evening at the Capitol reception.

      The event, which is held each fall, honors successful alumni for their dedication and contributions to the legal community.

      Michelle Henry, a 1994 graduate of Widener Law Commonwealth, was presented with the Excellence in Public Service Alumni Award. Henry, who is the first deputy attorney general in the Office of Pennsylvania Attorney General, was nominated by other alumni for the award.

      In her role, she is responsible for overseeing all legal, criminal and civil matters in the Office of Pennsylvania Attorney General. In her 20 years as a prosecutor, she has tried the most serious offenders, including murderers, rapists, armed robbers, drug dealers and child abusers. In 2007, after Richard Laird's 20-year-old murder conviction and death sentence were overturned on appeal, Henry successfully retried Laird for first-degree murder and returned him to death row.

      "Our mission in the Attorney General's office is to be the best public interest law firm in the country, and Michelle Henry is the key leader making that happen," said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. "This honor is well-earned, and Pennsylvanians should be proud to have a public servant with Michelle's knowledge and experience in the role as first deputy attorney general."

      Also honored at the Evening at the Capitol was 1998 alum James D. Schultz who currently serves as the senior associate counsel and special assistant to the president of the United States and as an ethics official for the White House Office. Schultz received the Dean's Alumni Achievement Award.

      In these roles, he has the responsibility of providing counsel on matters involving the Ethics Act, Hatch Act, Stock Act, gift rules and financial conflicts of interest. He also provides counsel to the White House Office on matters involving government contracting, procurement, trade, and transportation/infrastructure and has liaison responsibilities to the Department of Transportation and General Services Administration. He plays a significant role in the formulation, drafting and review of executive orders and is involved in the interview and selection process for United States attorneys and federal district and circuit court judges.

      "We are so very proud of our alumni and all of their achievements," said Dean Christian Johnson. "Our alumni have a track record of going out into the world after graduation and making a difference for all of the communities they serve."

      The Hon. Patrick J. Murphy '99, who is also a member of the board of trustees of Widener University, was recognized at the ceremony for his contribution to the Widener Law Commonwealth Law and Government Institute. His contribution was the single largest contribution to the Law and Government Institute, and helped to establish the Secretary Patrick J. Murphy Law and Government Fellowship.

      View photos from the event.


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