A 12 months off: Hannah-Lynn Apicelli – Georgia State College Information

Hannah-Lynn Apicelli (JD ’19) has always been a master for the underdog. A native of Tucker, Georgia, a sociology student at Georgia State University, he planned to pursue a career in social work. In a class called Family Sociology, she learned about inequality and sexual assault in women’s prisons, and that sparked her interest in the law. She says staying at Georgia State University to study law is a breeze and she has no regrets.

While at Georgia State Law, Apicelli was the president of the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund and she volunteered at the Atlanta Legal Aid Olmstead Disability Rights Clinic. The latter was the high point of her law career as she had the opportunity to interact with clients and be looked after by qualified lawyers. Today she is an associate at Shewmaker & Shewmaker, a law firm specializing in family, criminal and military law. Here she tells what she has learned from her first year of practice and how she relaxes.

Apicelli (left) in her advocacy class

Describe your typical working day at Shewmaker & Shewmaker.

In family law, I handle many divorces, custody contracts, and marriage contracts. In criminal defense, we do everything under the sun. I had the opportunity to confess guilt myself.

In military law, we carry out dismissal upgradings. So if someone has a dishonorable discharge, we work with the military to upgrade them to an honorable discharge. We are also working on sexual assault cases in the military. I am learning a lot about how the military deals with such cases. Within the military system, adultery is a crime that can be punished with imprisonment, so it is sometimes a source of false reports of sexual assault.

It was an interesting experience because I’ve always been on the victims’ side and always wanted to stand up for the victims, and now I’m open to this completely different world. When I interviewed myself for the position, they asked me if I would feel comfortable working on such cases and being the only person in a courtroom without a uniform. I think I’ll have the opportunity to travel to Fort Hood, Texas in August to see a military hearing. I am really grateful that they believe in my abilities.

Which courses do you use most often in your practice?

I definitely made the most of my Lawyering Foundations course. It was important to learn to write briefs and pleadings. When I got into the law firm, I was able to do some design work, which gave me a jump start. I also use the advocacy course and recently took a direct exam. I was also allowed to write opening and closing arguments. I was scared of taking this class and I thought I never wanted to be in a courtroom, but after taking this class I thought litigation was invigorating.

A 12 months off: Hannah-Lynn Apicelli – Georgia State College Information

Apicelli and other members of the HSE Law Student Chapter of the Animal Legal Defense Fund

What’s the most important lesson you learned in your freshman year as a lawyer?

My biggest lesson was how to stay confident but humble. I listened to some of the witness interviews I had and I could hear the hesitation in my voice. My job is to be firm in what I say and confident in my advice so that the person who is listening has confidence in me. The other thing we learn in law school is that professors break your writing style, but your employer will do the same.

A major issue in the legal profession right now is mindfulness and stress relief. How are you doing with all that you come across every day?

I work at Pure Barre so this is a haven that I visit for my time. When you have a stressful case stress you have to deal with it. You need to be prepared for how your customers’ problems affect you and be able to separate those two things. I want Georgia state law students and graduates to know that our network is so strong and that we are all there for them. You should never be embarrassed to ask for help.

Interview by Kelundra Smith