Julia has made her mark on the local and legal communities in central Pennsylvania, where she grew up and pursued her education. She received a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in psychology (with highest honors) from St. Vincent College in 1992, and Juris Doctor from Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law in 1995, where she was awarded the Order of the Barristers Award.
Immediately after graduating, Julia worked with Meyer Darragh, a civil defense litigation firm in Blair County, where she started as a file clerk during college, continued as a law clerk (and assistant for all court proceedings to which she could accompany her mentors), and progressed as civil litigation attorney. A few years later, Julia and her husband felt a pull toward Centre County, as Julia had been representing many clients there. Upon moving to Centre County in 2001, Julia joined the State College/Bellefonte firm of Miller, Kistler, Campbell, where she quickly began to gain experience in family law. She became partner in 2006. Since starting her career, Julia has represented clients in more than 800 hearings on a broad spectrum of legal matters.
Julia joined McQuaide Blasko in 2010, where her interest in family law led her to establish specialties in collaborative law and in mediation. Both approaches lessen the trauma of family court issues and produce more constructive outcomes. “A change in the family structure is never easy, but my work in the collaborative law and mediation processes significantly lessens the emotional turmoil that often accompanies a court proceeding and fosters better co-parenting for the children’s well-being,” says Julia. She was a member of the advisory committee that established the Children’s Advocacy Center of Centre County, whose mission is to protect children and to prevent, identify, and treat child abuse.
Julia has had an active trial practice in Centre County and all of the surrounding counties, and has been exposed to a wide variety of judges in those counties. From these experiences, she has learned what makes a great judge. Julia has also successfully represented clients before all three Pennsylvania appeal courts: the Commonwealth Court, Superior Court and Supreme Court.
Julia is very active in the Pennsylvania legal community. She has served on the Board of Governors of the Centre County Bar Association for 15 years and is chair of the association’s Bench-Bar Committee, which meets regularly with the county judges to address operational issues in the court system. Julia is co-author of the handbook “Custody Law and Practice in Pennsylvania,” published by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, and frequently writes course materials and serves as an instructor for the institute.
Through her work as a family law attorney, Julia has handled cases involving physical abuse, emotional abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, theft of funds and intimidation of witnesses. She is also experienced in landlord-tenant law and real estate law.
Julia’s experience caring for her sister with intellectual disabilities led her to join the Board of Directors of Strawberry Fields. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Tides, an organization offering grief support to children, teens, and adults who lost a loved one.
Julia and her husband, Brian, live in Patton Township, where he served for eight years on the Planning Commission, including serving as chair for two years. A realtor, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Centre County Association of Realtors. Julia and Brian’s three daughters attended State College Area School District schools, where their youngest is a senior. Their middle child is a Schreyer Scholar at Penn State, majoring in health policy administration. Their oldest daughter is in graduate school at the University of Delaware, seeking her master’s degree in nutrition.
Julia and Brian were active parents in their daughters’ activities, with Julia serving as concession stand coordinator for the Park Forest Swim Team, booster club president for the State High Girls’ Lacrosse Team, board member for Centre Lacrosse, volunteer for the AVID Dance Team, and Girl Scout cookie mom. Julia is a volunteer for Special Olympics.