Michaela E. Zanis Receives Pennsylvania Bar Foundation McDonald Memorial Scholarship for Trial Advocacy

HARRISBURG (Feb. 8, 2022) — Michaela E. Zanis, a third-year law student at Penn State Dickinson Law in Carlisle, was selected for the 2021 Pennsylvania Bar Foundation Joseph T. McDonald Memorial Scholarship.

Established in 2013, the scholarship annually provides $3,000 to a full-time, 3L Pennsylvania resident involved in the Penn State Dickinson Law trial advocacy program and whose goal is to pursue trial advocacy after graduation.

Zanis’ passion for the law began during a seventh-grade civics class assignment to memorize the preamble to the Constitution. That pivotal point set the framework for her primary educational goal, which was to learn the various aspects of litigation so she could provide a voice to people in need.

During her time in law school, Zanis served as a Moot Court executive board chair and competitor, Trial Team competitor and evidence tutor. Her accolades include receiving the Christian R. Burne Award for winning the Triston “Chase” O’Savio Moot Court competition, the Francesca M. Kester Most Valuable Oralist Award, and the CALI Excellence for the Future Award for the Federal Criminal Law Practice and Child Welfare Seminar.

Zanis currently serves as a certified legal intern at the Dauphin County Public Defender’s Office in Harrisburg. In her role, she represents defendants in various civil matters, conducts case law research, and writes petitions and motions regarding clients’ probation. In the past, she has served as a certified legal intern for the Children’s Advocacy Clinic, Carlisle, Pa.; and the York County District Attorney’s Office. In addition, she has served as a judicial intern for Judge Jessica E. Brewbaker, Court of Common Pleas, Cumberland County.

Following graduation, Zanis will serve as a clerk for President Judge Shawn D. Meyers, Court of Common Pleas, Franklin and Fulton counties. In the future, Zanis plans to pursue a position in a district attorney’s office.

Zanis received a B.A. from Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa.

The Joseph T. McDonald Memorial Scholarship Fund is administered by the Pennsylvania Bar Foundation, the charitable affiliate of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. For more information on this and other scholarships, visit www.pabarfoundation.org.