Marguerite Gualtieri '91 did not always have law school in mind, turning to the law following ten years as a licensed social worker. Fueled by her Villanova Law education and her previous career, Gualtieri eventually returned to work in public interest as the Managing Attorney at the Support Center for Child Advocates.
"Prior to law school, I obtained a Master of Social Work degree, and practiced for ten years, which fueled my interest in social justice issues. After law school and a clerkship, while in private practice, I became a pro bono attorney with Child Advocates, taking on the representation of three out of nine siblings and, as they say, the rest is history," she remarked.
As managing attorney for one of the oldest and largest pro bono agencies in the United States, Gualtieri's work is dedicated exclusively to the representation of children and young people who have been victims of abuse or neglect. In her position, Gualtieri manages a staff of eight attorneys, consults with the agency's child advocate social workers, provides technical assistance and training to volunteer attorneys and participates in leadership initiatives that focus on policy changes in child welfare.
Hard work is nothing new for Gualtieri, who attended Villanova Law as a mother of three children, all under the age of ten at the time. In her third year, Gualtieri was Editor-in-Chief of the Villanova Law Review.
Gualtieri has sage advice for current students: "Follow your passion and do what you love."
"Participate in a clinic while in law school to gain valuable experience," she continued. "Pursue a fellowship or clerkship or both after law school. If you are truly interested in a public interest career, volunteer at a particular agency; you will become known not only to the particular agency, but more generally to the public interest community, which will serve you well when a staff attorney position becomes available."