November 2016 Alumni Highlight

Claudia Lynch with flagClaudia Lynch ('97) graduated from The John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 1994, though law wasn't always at the forefront of her mind. After high school (where Claudia was designated the first ever student advisor to the principal), she went on to Howard University intent on becoming a Doctor. However, after seriously thinking her future career through and after completing basic gross anatomy, Claudia's drive to become a doctor shifted to law and she enrolled in John Jay earning her degree in legal studies.

After graduating from John Jay, Claudia was accepted into Pace Law. "When choosing a law school, I was searching for a welcoming environment. The warmth and professionalism Angie D'Agostino and her team employed was a definite game changer - the serenity of the Pace campus was a bonus."

It was at Pace where Claudia began not only her legal career, but a career with the Army. While attending Pace, Claudia interned with the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps ("JAG Corps") at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and later received her Commission as a First Lieutenant, attending the 147th Judge Advocate Officer Basic Course.

Claudia is clear about how she feels about the experience she had at Pace: "I did not have one bad professor at Pace, each professor brought something unique to the classroom. My absolute favorites were Professors Ben Gershman and Randy McLaughlin. Both were incredibly demanding (yet I tried to take any class they taught) and I have become the attorney I am today, largely due to the discipline these two gentlemen instilled."

After interning with the JAG Corps, Claudia was confident that it was the career path she wanted to pursue. Once she graduated from Pace, Claudia began as a legal services attorney with JAG Corps. From 1998 until 2002, she continue to move up the ranks with the JAG Corps, to Manager of the Tax Assistance Center, Chief of the Legal Assistance Division, and then Associate General Counsel.

It was in 2002 that Claudia became a legal consultant which offered her the opportunity to pursue a different aspect of law and also travel. From 2002 until 2006, Claudia provided expert consultation and guidance to legal practitioners on matters related to military administrative law, civil litigation, real property and landlord-tenant issues and employee labor relations. She continued her practice while residing in Tokyo, Japan. "Serving as a legal consultant nationally and internationally gave me a completely new perspective on the law. It was eye-opening."

Claudia LynchToday, Claudia is a Deputy Command Judge Advocate with the JAG Corps, a position she has held since 2009. In this position, Claudia provides verbal and written legal advice on a broad spectrum of legal subjects affecting an Army installation – this can include anything from standards of conduct to hazardous waste management, to financial liability investigations for loss or damage of government property. Claudia has also served as legal advisor to the Case Review Committee, and the Army's representative to the Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Review Board.

Claudia's commitment to the law and the Army are well-recognized by her colleagues, supervisors, and the Army as well. Claudia was recommended to receive an award and in a detailed multi-page recommendation, her superior qualifications and immense dedication to the Army and her position were highlighted. "Ms. Lynch's daily performance exemplifies the ideals and values the Army seeks in its leaders. A trusted advisor and leader, Ms. Lynch is known for her thoughtful, candid, and practical advice that is ever mindful of mission impact -both immediate and long-term- and the implications of such advice at all levels of leadership and community."

Claudia describes herself as having a "laser-focus on doing what is right -legally, ethically, and morally." This is part of what she would like to see instilled in future attorneys – "the legal, ethical, and moral obligation of becoming an attorney is not something to be taken lightly." In addition, Claudia notes "I truly enjoy what I do and that is why I do it. If I had to give advice to Pace students, future attorneys, I would encourage them to find an area of law that they are passionate about and pursue it. You might have to go through a few "wrong" jobs to find the right one, but don't settle."

In addition to her day job, Claudia is extremely active with her church's missions team, supporting orphanages in Kenya, Sierra Leone, and Benin, and frequently provides school supplies to children in her native Jamaica. She is also an Independent Associate with Legal Shield, a service that provides low-cost access to lawyers. "Volunteerism and pro-bono work has always been extremely important to me. I believe we all have a duty to give back."

When Claudia is not working and volunteering, she is spending time with her two daughters. Alexi (24) was 2 when Claudia started Pace, and Diandra (19) was born during her last semester in law school – making them one of the most important parts of Claudia's Pace experience!

Claudia Lynch and her daughters - Alexi and Diandra