Bar News - January 19, 2007
New LRE Coordinator Finds Reward in Her Work
By: By Beverly Rorick
“I was a late bloomer,” says Patty Wooster, the NH Bar Association’s new Law-Related Education (LRE) coordinator. “I went back to school when I was 38 and got a degree in political science with a minor in criminal justice at Monmouth University in Long Branch, New Jersey.” Wooster also holds an associate’s degree in paralegal studies and is a certified guardian ad litem.
These accomplishments are a reflection of her ambition; she worked full-time while going to college, at the same time raising her teenage son. She moved to New England after graduation. “I thought I might go to law school, but when I decided not to, I took a job with Ransmeier and Spellman in Concord, where I worked for two years as a legal assistant.” She left the firm to become a recruiter for the continuing education program at Hesser College in Manchester.
The recruiting position kept her in constant contact with educators and students—excellent preparation for the position she now holds at the Bar Association. Her goals for LRE include promoting the growth of the We the People program. “Civics is a mandatory course in high schools now,” she said, “and I think it’s great that students are involved in a deeper study of the Constitution, which is reflected in the We the People events.”
On Jan. 12, Wooster coordinated the state finals for the program, held at the Legislative Office Building. At this meeting, Senate President Sylvia Larsen presented longtime We the People volunteer Howard Zibel, special counsel to the Supreme Court, with an award to honor his dedication to the program.
Outside of her work at the Bar Association, Wooster volunteers for the Rape & Domestic Violence Crisis Center and is on-call as a hospital advocate. “I speak for the victims,” she says. “Sometimes they are too frightened or traumatized to speak for themselves. I try to make sure that their rights are not compromised.”
Patty’s son has settled in New Jersey and soon her family will grow. “I’m getting married in May,” she says, “to a great guy.”
For awhile, Wooster will continue to have the counsel and help of LRE’s former coordinator Valenda Morrissette—”mostly by e-mail, but she’ll be coming back a few times to help further with the transition, too,” says Wooster. “She’s a great mentor. Once when I was upset about something, she said, ‘Patty, there’s no mistake you can make that hasn’t already been made.’ I laughed and have tried to remember her words whenever I think I have goofed.”
Morrissette, who moved to Iowa because of her husband’s new job, came back for the We the People state championships and will also return for Mock Trial events.
“I love my job,” says Wooster. “Everyone has been so supportive. And the work is very rewarding. Involving our youth in government is a great thing for our state and the country. I’m glad to be part of it.”