HILARY P. VESELL
Hilary Vesell lives in Hershey, PA where she was born and raised. She attended Hershey High School and was a member of the National Honor Society. At Hershey High School Hilary participated in the Orchestra playing the violin. She served as captain of the cross-country team, received the tri-athlete award, and participated in the student council and ski club. Upon graduating Hilary attended Columbia University where Hilary also ran on the track team, graduating with a BA in psychology and minors in sociology and economics. While in New York City Hilary obtained an internship at SmithBarney, gaining experience with financial markets. Hilary also worked at one of the major law firms in New York City, Jacob, Medinger, & Finnegan, representing an array of international corporate clients. There Hilary gained invaluable experience preparing cases for trial, conducting legal research and factual investigations. After completing her undergraduate work at Columbia University, Hilary returned to Pennsylvania to work at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry. There Hilary participated in two research studies conducted on the Children’s Inpatient Unit which were later published in the Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research and General Hospital Psychiatry. At the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine Hilary also administered a neuropsychological screening battery for a National Institutes of Health grant in the sleep lab and worked on a grant awarded to the Behavioral Sciences Department researching long-term effects of drug use. After completing these studies, Hilary returned to Columbia University where she earned a masters degree in clinical psychology. After graduate school, Hilary moved to Florida where she specialized in working with children and families.
At Women in Distress of Broward County Hilary provided counseling, crisis intervention, victim information, resources, and rights to clients. It was here that Hilary’s desire to represent children and families in the law took deep root. Hilary also worked at the Child Protection Team of Broward County conducting psychological assessments and forensic interviews with children and their families aimed at providing community intervention and resources to families in crisis. In an effort to serve the community further Hilary volunteered at the Mental Health Association of Broward County conducting self-esteem programs for children.
Later, Hilary joined the clinical staff of the Children’s Psychiatric Center where she conducted therapy with children and families and simultaneously worked in the Miami-Dade public schools providing mental health counseling to children diagnosed with emotional disorders. Hilary was responsible for assessing and evaluating children in order to develop treatment plans to help these children succeed within their school and family settings. At the Children’s Psychiatric Center Hilary received extensive training in legal and ethical issues of working with children and families, behavioral techniques of working with children and their families, family assessment, assessment and diagnosis of children, bonding and attachment, therapy with abused children, and effects of domestic violence on children. As a result of her work in psychology, Hilary received licensure as a mental health counselor.
In 2002, Hilary received a Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law. While in law school Hilary contributed to the Children and Youth Law Clinic representing children in dependency hearings. At the Children and Youth Law Clinic Hilary also evaluated psychological reports of clients for witness preparation and trial, combining her training in law and psychology. During law school, to continue her commitment to help families in need, Hilary worked at Legal Aid of Broward County as a certified legal intern advocating for the rights of both children and families unable to afford an attorney. At Legal Aid Hilary gained experience in litigation writing legal memoranda, drafting legal documents, and attending court hearings. To develop her skills further in family law Hilary participated in a practicum in the Family Court Self-Help Project at the Dade County Courthouse assisting pro se litigants. At the courthouse Hilary was responsible for helping individuals who did not wish or could not afford to hire their own attorney file pleadings in family law matters involving marital dissolution, child support, and child custody.
Following law school, Hilary worked for the Florida House of Representatives drafting laws targeted at protecting the rights of women, children and families. In addition to helping write proposed legislation Hilary was responsible for researching and presenting bill, drafting speeches and press releases, and responding to media questions and community requests. Later, Hilary worked for the Guardian Ad Litem Program at the Broward County Courthouse representing the legal rights of children at the juvenile detention center and children living in foster homes.
After her training, Hilary returned to Pennsylvania. Upon her return, she worked for the law firm of Howett, Kissinger, & Holst in Harrisburg where she gained valuable experience in all aspects of Pennsylvania family law.
Hilary currently works in the family law division of Kope & Associates representing clients in an array of issues involving child custody, support, divorce and property division. Hilary also practices civil litigation, wills and estates, and personal injury law. During her time at Kope & Associates, Hilary has gained a reputation for getting results for her clients, which she is prepared to do amicably through settlement or aggressively through litigation.
Hilary is admitted to practice in all Pennsylvania courts. She is a member of the Pennsylvania State, and Cumberland, Dauphin, and York County Bar Associations. Hilary is admitted to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. She is also a member of the Florida Bar and has been certified as a family mediator.
In her free time, Hilary enjoys reading, travelling, playing tennis, and spending time with her horse, Bentley.