Heather L. Paterno
Heather Paterno concentrates her practice in family law, particularly issues involving children and families in crisis. For the past ten years, Heather has advocated as a guardian ad litem for children who are the subject of contentious custody proceedings in Dauphin County. In 2016, the Judges of Dauphin County appointed Heather the guardian ad litem to the newly-formed fourth dependency team, where she represents over one hundred children in Dauphin County under protective supervision of the court. In order to fully represent these children, Heather has a vast understanding of legal issues involving education, medical, mental health, discrimination, guardianship, termination of parental rights, and the implications of criminal matters as they relate to minors. She also has extensive experience with child custody and adoptions in
Pennsylvania. In 2006, Heather was recognized for her commitment to children and serving low income litigants with the Dauphin County Bar Association’s Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award. Heather remains active with the Bar Association, and serves on several committees whose purpose is to make the legal system more accessible for lower income individuals and organizations. She has also been recognized for her efforts by the Pennsylvania Bar Association, Central Pennsylvania Parent Magazine, and is a Select Lawyer in the area of family law.
Children and education are a passion of Heather’s. She authored the book H is for Hershey (Sunbury Press, 2015), which takes the reader through the town of Hershey and the legacy of its founder via its landmarks, and she frequently lectures to local organizations on the topic. Since 2011, Heather is an adjunct professor of paralegal studies at Harrisburg Area Community College, where she oversees the internship program and teaches legal research and writing. She is also active with the Boy Scouts of America, where she presently serves as a committee chair and is a past den leader.
Heather is a native of Central Pennsylvania, a 2001 graduate of the Dickinson School of Law, and earned her Bachelor of Arts from Bentley College (cum laude). She is a member of the Middle District of Pennsylvania and Dauphin County Bar Associations, and the Daughters of the American Revolution - an organization comprised of individuals who have traced their lineage back to those who served the Colonies during the Revolutionary War, and are devoted to historic preservation.