I was born and raised in Johnstown, Pennsylvania and am a true coal miner’s daughter with my father and step-father both being employed in the coal mines of western Pennsylvania. Tragically, early in my life, my dad was killed in a drunk driving wreck. I now serve on the National Board of Directors of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and fight for other victims of drunk and drug impaired driving. www.madd.org/about-us/leadership
Both sets of my grandparents were local business owners and, through them, I was exposed to an entrepreneurial spirit and a “can do” attitude. None of my grandparents had more than a high school education. I learned early the value of a hard day’s work and a sense of community stewardship.
When I graduated from Marshall University in 1997, I was the first member of my family to earn a bachelor’s degree. My mother and grandmothers bursted with pride when I graduated from the Dickinson School of Law of Pennsylvania State University with a law degree in 2000. After that, when I took my grandma to the grocery store, she would be beaming in telling the cashier, “This is my granddaughter. She’s a lawyer.”
My first legal job was with a law firm that represented insurance companies and employers. For the first five years of my legal career, I learned how insurance adjusters handle and value injury claims. That experience taught me what strategies are effective against the insurance companies and in 2006, I joined with Robert Tatum to open Tatum & Atkinson with a specific focus on representing injured people against those insurance companies.
I am proudly married to a Trooper with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol and together we have 3 daughters, one of which currently works at the law firm while she attends college. My brother and sister also are long term employees in our law firm. In my spare time, I like to travel and I’m an avid scuba diver having attained the rating of Master Scuba Diver. My favorite dives so far have been with bull sharks in Mexico and to see the Christ of the Abyss statue in Portofino, Italy.
As a personal injury lawyer, I especially enjoy helping victims of impaired drivers and injured children. While I am compassionate to the needs and desires of our clients, I am equally aggressive in fighting the insurance companies on their behalf.