Mary Elizabeth (“M.E.”) followed her Marine Corps father’s career to exotic locations in California and Hawaii and the not-so-exotic Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station. After attending seven elementary schools in six years, she moved with her family to Virginia Beach. Her dad’s retirement allowed her to grow up in Virginia Beach, attending Plaza Elementary and Junior High Schools and Kellam High School.
She was a University Scholar at East Carolina University, where she also was an Ambassador, president of East Carolina Honors Organization, a resident advisor, and a member of Phi Eta Sigma, Pi Sigma Alpha, Phi Kappa Phi and a founding member of the Omicron Delta Kappa leadership society. She graduated Magna Cum Laude, writing her political science honors thesis on Reagan Social Policy and its Effects on Children in the 1980s. She developed an interest in social justice while at the United Nations Honors Semester in New York City her Sophomore year and at Georgetown’s Institute for Comparative Political and Economic Systems her Junior year. She served as one of three student members nationwide on the National Collegiate Honors Council.
Returning to Georgetown for law school, she served as Notes and Comments editor for the Tax Lawyer, the most widely circulated student-run legal publication in the United States. She also served as the associate director of Home Court, Georgetown’s annual fundraiser for Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless and was a member of Phi Alpha Delta. While a law student, she worked for Commissioner Joy Cherian of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Her passion for community service led her to eight years representing battered women and low-income people for Pisgah Legal Services in rural Asheville, North Carolina. Life in the Appalachians was challenging, and she impacted her community by helping to establish the Family Visitation Center, serving on the board of the non-profit Interlace, and representing countless battered women fleeing domestic violence. She was pastoral council president, a youth group leader, and a team leader for the RCIA program in her parish.
She moved home to Virginia Beach after 9/11, called to serve the community a bit closer to home and family. She built her local practice representing and empowering women, many of whom are domestic violence survivors, in the courts of Tidewater Virginia and Eastern North Carolina, and is expanding her practice to represent men. Much of her practice involves resolving family conflicts for both military dependents and active duty service members.
Married to her sweetheart on 08/08/08, she continues to scrapbook, papercraft, root for the Baltimore Orioles, and serve on the board of Samaritan House, a local non-profit dedicated to ending domestic violence and homelessness for families in our community. She lives in Virginia Beach with her husband and their Pekingeses, Camden and Brandy, who they adopted from the Potomac Valley Pekingese Rescue in honor of their first Peke, Grace. They are members of the Star of the Sea Catholic Parish.