Lina Alexandra Hogan
Associate Lawyer, Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin, P.C., age 39
As she prepared to enroll in Bay Path College in the fall of 1991, Alex Hogan decided she would be majoring in Travel, “because I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, and travel sounded like fun.” But then, in her last semester at Hampshire Regional High School, she took a law course that would take her down a different path.
“It really clicked with me — a light had finally come on,” she said of that class, which provided a great deal of simulation regarding what goes on in the courtroom. “I thought, ‘this is what I really want to do with my life. In terms of analytic abilities, problem solving, and rules … that’s who I am.”
So she switched her major to Paralegal Studies and started down a road that would eventually see her joining Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin, P.C. (where she was a paralegal for several years) as an associate. Today, she’s putting those analytic abilities and problem-solving skills to work in a practice that focuses on litigation, bankruptcy, and business law, while also putting them to use in the community.
Indeed, while proving pro-bono bankruptcy services to individuals who have been diagnosed with AIDS and HIV and have significant financial debt, she also visits classrooms on behalf of Junior Achievement to discuss both financial literacy and workforce readiness, among other contributions of time and energy.
She finds many rewards in both realms of her career.
“People don’t wake up the morning and say, ‘gee, this would be a great day to file for bankruptcy,’” she said, adding that she finds it very rewarding to help people through the financial, legal, and psychological rollercoaster of such a decision. “It’s my job to take the weight of the world off their shoulders and put it on mine.”
As for her work in the classroom talking about financial literacy, she said, “we talk about how people go wrong with spending and credit, and it opens their eyes a little bit. It’s surprising that many kids don’t know what a credit card is or what interest is; it’s rewarding to help them understand.”
Hogan never did get into travel, but for many people, she’s making a world of difference.
— George O’Brien