Lisa Hartline: A Fellowship Grant Provides Professional Opportunities

Lisa Hartline

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA — A fellowship last summer provided WVU Law 3L Lisa Hartline with the experience and confidence she wanted before embarking on her legal career.

Hartline spent 10 weeks in the Parkersburg office of Legal Aid of West Virginia. She was the program’s first recipient of the Regina Charon Fellowship, worth more than $5,000.

As allowed by West Virginia Judiciary Rule 10, Hartline was able to represent her clients in court under supervision of an attorney.

“Now, after getting the full experience of being a working attorney, it’s been hard to just be a student again,” said Hartline. “I feel I’m ready to go from being a law student to a professional lawyer.”

An ongoing land contract case has helped ease Hartline’s transition back to the role of a law student. Attorneys at Legal Aid are enabling Hartline to keep her law school commitments while remaining part of their team. She keeps an office in Clarksburg, West Virginia, and her Legal Aid colleagues sometimes travel to Morgantown meet with her between classes.

Hartline worked with her advisor, Professor Charles DiSalvo, to create a course schedule that would help her successfully balance classes with her ongoing commitment to Legal Aid.

Hartline credits several WVU Law courses with giving her the knowledge and skills to handle her cases and enter the courtroom with confidence, including Contract Law, Property Law and Family Law and Trial Advocacy.

“I’m really glad I made the decision to take Trial Advocacy before my fellowship because I think that was the most helpful to me when dealing with real cases,” said Hartline. “I learned all the procedures you need to know before I actually went in the courtroom during my fellowship.”

The Regina Charon Fellowship was created in memory of Regina Charon, a respected lawyer and 1976 WVU College of Law graduate who also served as an Administrative Law Judge.

“Charon was impressive in the field of law,” said Hartline. “Knowing what all she has accomplished, I felt really honored to be the first one to carry on the legacy of her name with this fellowship. It’s a high honor.”

Future Charon Fellows will also work 10 weeks in one of Legal Aid of West Virginia’s 12 offices and receive a stipend.

About Regina Charon:

After graduating from WVU Law in 1976, the Honorable Regina Charon worked for North Central Legal Aid of West Virginia, transitioning to an independent plaintiff attorney specializing in employment and family law.

She was a pioneering female lawyer in West Virginia and represented LGBT families in second parent adoptions before the legalization of same-sex marriage. She also served as substitute Municipal Judge for the City of Morgantown and was president of the Monongalia County Bar.

Charon was one of the initial members of the Council for Women’s Concerns at West Virginia University, which set the stage for the establishment of Women’s and Gender Studies at WVU. She also helped establish both Morgantown Health Right, now called Milan Puskar Health Right, and Caritas House, a home for people living with HIV/AIDS, in Morgantown.

Her husband, Nyles Charon, brother, Stanley Raucher, and daughter, Mollie Charon, jointly established the Regina Charon Fellowship in her memory.

About Legal Aid of West Virginia:

Legal Aid of West Virginia is a statewide, non-profit organization that provides West Virginia residents free civil legal assistance and advocacy. Its staff of more than 100 paralegals, advocates and attorneys work on behalf of low income families, seniors, victims of domestic violence and the disabled to give them a voice in their communities and an equal shot at justice in the courtroom.

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