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Alumni Profiles: Ralph H. Kohlmann
Colonel Ralph H. Kohlmann ’87 serves as Chief Judge of the Military Commissions Trial Judiciary at the Naval Base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
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Acquiring the Tools for Success
BellamyLaToya300px“Widener gave me what I wanted and what I needed,” says LaToya Winfield Bellamy, an associate in the corporate department at Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC, who came to law school with the desire to graduate with the tools necessary to succeed.

“I do think that Widener gave me what I needed to succeed in the practice of law in the Harrisburg area,” says LaToya, who first became interested in the law while participating in a grade school mock trial program. A summer job at a law firm in Harrisburg that continued through the summers of her undergraduate education only served to reinforce that interest. “I saw attorneys helping people, and that really finished it for me,” she observes.

During her time on the Harrisburg campus, LaToya put her desire to help people into practice by participating in the Harrisburg Civil Law Clinic, which she called, “A great experience,” as well as the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

Though she often represents corporate clients now, she never gave up that desire to help others, and she took to heart a lesson from a mentor who taught her that she could apply the same skills no matter who she was representing. “Because you have the skills and knowledge, you can still help people,” she notes, adding that she has enjoyed translating those skills into ways to help average people.

“Widener offers a diverse curriculum to choose from while pursuing your law degree,” LaToya says. She is quick to praise the accessibility and availability of the faculty as well, saying, “I can’t remember an instance where a faculty member wasn’t available to me.” She adds, “I think that continues today. Widener is very careful about the faculty that they select.”

Her time at Widener afforded her several other important opportunities to set herself up for success, from participation in the Intensive Trial Advocacy Program to networking opportunities with the Greater Harrisburg legal community. She cites the Intensive Trial Advocacy Program in particular as an important experience, describing it as “stimulating and beneficial” because it requires students to step up and prove that they have the necessary advocacy skills.

“I think that Widener produces the type of attorney that can really relate to people on their level,” says LaToya before concluding that her legal education taught her to “Identify the issues, find the law, and apply the law, and that comes in handy every day.”