The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher/Owner
Stephanie Hilton of La Harpe has joined the law firm of Beal, Pratt, and Pratt in Monmouth.
Stephanie is a 2003 La Harpe High School graduate and high honor graduate at Monmouth College graduating in 2007 Cum Laude majoring in Political Science.
Stephanie's education at Monmouth took her to South Africa on a diplomacy trip as an International Scholar in the lawyer program for three weeks from May to June (their winter).
She traveled from Cape Town to Johannesburg, went on Safari where she was chased by an angry elephant after their open-aired Jeep got too close to the elephant's babies.
She learned of Africa's system of government, the Aides epidemic, and visited orphanages that cater to victims of Aides.
There are a lot of false notions in Africa, Stephanie said, as a lot of places won't allow children with Aides thinking they can get Aides by touching.
"It is not the most sophisticated education system," she explained, "to teach them how one gets it. Some believe in Voodoo instead of doctors."
Stephanie said, you really do not grasp it until you travel there. She knew they were war torn, but to personally see the errors of their ways and their struggles can help us see how we can assist them in some way.
Stephanie said, that seeking a law degree had always been in the back of her mind but it wasn't until she was a Freshman at Monmouth College that she switched her major from art to law.
She attended law school at Northern Illinois University and received her law degree May of 2010.
She spent a year in the DeKalb County States Attorney's Office working with Judge Ronald G. Matekaitis [Associate Judge].
Stephanie took the bar exam in July 2010 and found out she had passed it on October 1, 2010. She was sworn in on November 4, 2010.
Stephanie said she was seeking jobs locally, wanting to stay in the area, but finding a job is not always easy. 2,000 residents were sworn in Illinois last year.
She had applied at the Beal, Pratt and Pratt law firm hoping to be able to work with Jane Pratt and is delighted to get the offer.
It takes lawyers 3 to 5 years to train in a new job and Stephanie is ready. She wants to practice Family Law and desires to empower women in domestic abuse, helping them to say, "enough is enough."
"I talk to lots of women. Some may not understand, but we do. We want everyone to be happy and safe."
Stephanie said her desire is to stand up for those who can not stand up for themselves.
Stephanie said that her grandparents Cecil and Maxine "Mom" Hilton have been her biggest support. And she credits her professors at Monmouth College for inspiring her into the law profession and through her studies.
"My professors at Monmouth College, Farhat Haq, Ira Smolinsky, and Tobias Gibson, inspired me and I loved them. They really pushed me to keep going, and they motivated and reassured me."