attorney profile

Sharon Lopez

lopez@triquetralaw.com (717) 299-6300

I represent workers and victims of discrimination and civil rights laws. I believe in a community-based approach to create social change, promoting justice and equality for all.

Who is Sharon R. Lopez?

Sharon was born in Mexico City in the 1960s.  Her father was Mexican and her mother Pennsylvania Dutch.  Sharon spent her preschool years in Mexico and Uruguay, South America.  When her family returned to the United States, her father became a naturalized citizen.  She remembers his struggle to learn English and complete his education.  Sharon’s parents raised her to speak out against oppression in a non-violent manner.  After graduating from Lancaster Mennonite High School, Sharon attended Eastern Mennonite College (EMC) in Harrisonburg, Va.  Sharon’s interest in social justice as a way of life was reinforced by her many gifted professors at EMC. She attended the University of Costa Rica in Central America and she completed her sociology externship with the Costa Rica Department of Agriculture. Her time in Costa Rica confirmed her belief that organizing people to achieve common goals is necessary to achieve social change. She graduated with degrees in Spanish, Sociology, and Peace and Justice Theology.

Sharon returned to Lancaster in the 1980s where she started her family and worked on several community based activist organizations.  By the late 1980s, she realized she needed more social justice tools so she enrolled in Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg. After her first year of law school, she started working at the local legal services office, now known as MidPenn Legal Services.  Her colleagues and mentors at MidPenn encouraged Sharon to apply her skills to the domestic violence movement.  In the late 1990s, Sharon started at the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) as their first Pennsylvania Senior Attorney.  During her seven years at PCADV, Sharon assisted in the development and presentation of numerous publications and projects, including training for:

  • Lay advocates in domestic violence programs
  • County-based probation officers supervising domestic violence offenders
  • Police officers enforcing protection from abuse orders
  • Civil lawyers representing domestic violence survivors in civil and family law cases
  • Magisterial District Judges, and
  • Common Pleas Court Judges on domestic violence legal issues.

Sharon left PCADV in 2006 to form Triquetra Law with Andrea Farney.

Why did Sharon R. Lopez decide to form Triquetra Law?

In 2005, the United States Supreme Court heard argument in the case of Town of Castle Rock v. Jessica Gonzales.  Andrea listened to argument while Sharon waited outside the crowded courtroom.  The facts of the case were horrifying.  Jessica Gonzalez had a protection from abuse order issued under Colorado law.  The language in the order stated the police “shall” arrest the respondent if he violated the order.  Jessica Gonzalez’ husband took her children one night.  She called the Castle Rock police several times.  The police did not respond.  Several hours later, her husband showed up at the police station with their three dead children in the car.  Jessica Gonzalez filed a lawsuit against the Town of Castle Rock for violating her procedural due process rights under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.  The 10th Circuit Court affirmed Ms. Gonzalez’ right to pursue her case against the Town of Castle Rock.  They appealed to the United States Supreme Court.  The Court reversed the 10th Circuit and Ms. Gonzalez’ case was dismissed.  Sharon and Andrea decided they would put their collective efforts towards enforcing civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.  In July 2006 they left PCADV to start Triquetra Law.

What areas does Sharon R. Lopez practice in?

Appellate Advocacy:
There are times when a court’s decision should be reviewed by a higher court (appellate review).  Sometimes the initial court decision relied on law and facts that are not properly in the record.  When this happens the losing party may file an appeal.  When Attorney López receives an appellate case she starts by reviewing the record below and assessing the applicable law.  Writing an appellate brief requires an understanding of the law, the appellate rules, and the underlying policy behind the legal issue in question.  Attorney López’ appellate experience enables her to assess a case and develop an appellate strategy in an efficient and effective manner.

Civil Rights:
People who work for the state or have the ability to exercise state authority are necessary for an orderly law abiding society.  When these state actors abuse their power and discretion, individual victims suffer, but more importantly our democratic society is put at risk.  Attorney López believes enforcing civil rights is one of the most important jobs an attorney has.  For this reason, Attorney López takes every civil rights case seriously.  These cases require a tremendous amount of work. If you believe you are a victim of a civil rights violation and you want someone to take you seriously, contact Sharon R. López.

Employment Law:
Getting and keeping a safe job is the only way people live independently.  When a worker loses a job because of discrimination, the worker loses money, self-sufficiency, and in many cases access to healthcare.  The anti-discrimination employment laws provide some remedy and recourse for victims of employment discrimination.  Attorney López approaches these cases with compassion and passion.  She will help you develop your case, file your case, and negotiate or litigate your case where necessary.

What work is Sharon R. Lopez doing within the legal profession?

Sharon believes practicing law is one of the most honorable professions in our society.  Because of this conviction Sharon works on both the state and local level to improve the legal profession.  Sharon serves as the Chair of the Lancaster Bar Association Diversity Committee.  In 2007-08, she spearheaded a project that placed minority first-year law students in local law firms for the summer.  On the statewide level, Sharon is an active member of the Minority Bar Committee, the Gay and Lesbian Rights Committee, and the Civil and Equal Rights Committee.  Sharon was recently elected to the Executive Committee of the Conference of County Bar Leaders.  Sharon focuses her efforts on diversity in the profession, equality in the workplace, and human rights issues.

What legal work did Sharon R. Lopez do before she started Triquetra Law with her colleagues?

Sharon began her legal career in the early 1990s, representing clients in domestic violence cases, including custody and divorce.  As a Senior Staff attorney with Central PA Legal Services (now MidPenn Legal Services) in Lancaster, she also handled welfare cases and unemployment matters.  In 1999, Sharon became the first Pennsylvania Senior Attorney for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV).  In this position, Sharon provided extensive training and technical assistance on wide-ranging legal subjects to community-based domestic violence advocates, attorneys, probation officers, and judges across the Commonwealth.  Her accomplishments included advocacy with the Ridge administration for funding to support a state-wide network of civil legal attorneys placed in domestic violence programs to better serve survivors of domestic violence.  She also conceptualized, supervised the production of, and assisted in, the drafting of a bench book (legal resource material) for Pennsylvania judges on domestic violence legal issues. Sharon has led national workshops on domestic violence legal issues for attorneys through the American Bar Association, for community-based advocates with the national Battered Women’s Justice Project, and has published material with the law review for legal services attorneys, the Clearinghouse Review.

What community work has Sharon R. Lopez done?

Sharon’s legal work is grounded by her social activist beliefs and community engagement approach.  In the early 1990s she directed youth programs for high-risk youth at the Lancaster YWCA, and ran school intervention programs for children from drug and alcohol affected families for the School District of Lancaster.  Her vision and leadership also proved critical to two community-based responses to racism:  A "Community Conversation on Racism" and the Lancaster YWCA Race Against Racism, both sponsored by the YWCA Racial Justice Committee.  Over the last decade, she served on multiple boards including the Family Service Board of Lancaster, Lancaster Community Hospital, Lancaster AIDS Project and the Lancaster YWCA.

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