Dec. 23, 2004
Darryl Lawrence of Lebanon, a former auto mechanic who didn't start college until the age of 36, took another step this week in fulfilling a life-long dream. He has been hired as law clerk for Judge Samual Kline of Lebanon County Court of Common Pleas. Kline also teaches business law at the Lebanon Campus of HACC, Central Pennsylvania's Community College, where Lawrence started college.

An auto mechanic by trade in his younger years, Lawrence spent 15 years as service manager at Klinefelter Chevrolet in Jonestown. "I had a rewarding career there, but I wanted to fulfill my lifelong dream of becoming a lawyer," said Lawrence.

In the spring of 1997, he began studying Business Administration at the Lebanon Campus of HACC, with the intention of going to law school. "I lived just a few blocks from the campus. It was convenient, and I could attend part-time while continuing to work fulltime."

"HACC turned out to be a great choice," Lawrence said. "I received an excellent education there. I think it's a great place for a new beginning, such as my situation. It's not like I was going back to finish something. I had never gone to college."

"I believe you get out of education what you put into it, and that you don't necessarily get a better education someplace besides a community college," said Lawrence.

After he finished at HACC, he transferred to Lebanon Valley College, receiving an academic scholarship to study Business Administration.

Lawrence received his bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Lebanon Valley College in May 2001, and then began working on graduate and law degrees simultaneously.

He says he had only a few days off after receiving his bachelor's degree before he started Lebanon Valley's M.B.A. program during the summer. "I went to graduate school summer evenings, clerking fulltime in a Harrisburg law firm during the day. Then I went to law school in the spring and fall, clerking part-time."

While in law school and during summers, he clerked for Christopher Lucas & Associates, a private practice law firm in Harrisburg, and then the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate, a branch of the Attorney General's office.

He received his M.B.A. from Lebanon Valley College in August 2003 and his J.D. from Widener University School of Law in May 2004, where he also served as external business manager for The Law Review. He passed the Pennsylvania Bar in July 2004.

"What I have achieved has been made possible entirely by the support of my family," says Lawrence of his wife and three children. "I completed nine years of education in 7-1/2 and during a lot of that worked full-time. It was a big sacrifice for everyone, but it was well worth it."

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