2011 Govt. Lawyer of the Year

HARRISBURG (Nov. 21, 2011) - Joyce Hatfield-Wise, solicitor for Washington County Children and Youth Services, has been named the 2011 Government Lawyer of the Year by the Pennsylvania Bar Association Government Lawyers Committee.

The award, presented to Hatfield-Wise during a Nov. 17 ceremony at the Holiday Inn Harrisburg East, honors a government lawyer who has made a significant singular contribution or has dedicated his or her career to outstanding service to the profession for the benefit of the public or a government entity.

Hatfield-Wise has served as solicitor for Washington County Children and Youth Services since 1998.

In 2004, Hatfield-Wise was a co-founder of the Pennsylvania Children and Youth Solicitors Association, which now has approximately 60 county children welfare agency members and more than 100 solicitor members. She is the current president of the organization.

Hatfield-Wise recently worked to secure a Federal Criminal Justice Act grant of more than $200,000 for the ChildFirst Pennsylvania program, which will provide forensic interview training to prosecutors, law enforcement officials, child welfare caseworkers, prosecutors, child protective attorneys, medical personnel and mandated reporters of abuse who provide investigating professionals with essential information about child abuse. ChildFirst Pennsylvania seeks to become the lead program to train first responders investigating child abuse incidents. Pennsylvania is the 18th state to launch a ChildFirst program.

Hatfield-Wise is a long-time member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Children's Rights Committee, which studies child-related issues, monitors and makes recommendations regarding legislation that affects the interests of children, and develops programs that educate lawyers about effective advocacy for children. Hatfield-Wise served as the group's chairperson from 2004 through 2006.

Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association exists to promote justice, professional excellence and respect of the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access to legal services; and serve the 28,000 lawyers who are members of the association.