From Classroom to Election Winner
Recent graduate brings tech-savvy approach to old-school court
Stephanie Fattman JD ’16 was elected register of probate for the Worcester (Massachusetts) Probate and Family Court in 2014. Now she’s using Suffolk Law know-how to rethink the court’s systems.
Fattman, 28, threw her hat into the political ring as a candidate for the register’s seat as a second-year student. She was elected by the time she entered her third year. According to GoLocal, her win was a “huge upset” over longtime incumbent Stephen Abraham.
Fattman’s platform focused on making the family court experience easier for patrons and staff. “It can be overwhelming here,” she says. “Generally when families and individuals use our services, they are dealing with huge personal issues like divorce and child custody matters. When they enter our office, they are then faced with a myriad of forms, legal jargon, and a lack of familiarity with how things work.”
She credits Suffolk Law School’s tech institute with teaching her how to combine technology and the practice of law. This knowledge, she says, will go a long way toward making the Probate Court more user-friendly and efficient.
In one of her Suffolk automation courses, Fattman created an avatar that walks users through the steps necessary to complete a complicated children’s court form. “If you hover over a legal term, you see a definition. It isn’t a substitute for legal advice. It just takes the mystery out of navigating the system,” she says, and makes a stressful experience easier for individuals and families.
Photo by Michael J. Clarke