About Natalie Pompilio

Natalie Pompilio Articles written 28

Natalie Pompilio is an award-winning freelance writer based in Philadelphia. Formerly a staff writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Daily News and The Times-Picayune of New Orleans, Natalie was on the ground in Iraq in 2003 and in New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. She’s collaborated on four Philadelphia-centric books: More Philadelphia Murals and The Stories They Tell (with Jane Golden and Robin Rice); Philadelphia A to Z (with photographer Jennifer Zdon); Walking Philadelphia: 30 Walking Tours Featuring Art, History, Architecture, and Little Known Gems (with photographer Tricia Pompilio) and This Used to Be Philadelphia (with photographer Tricia Pompilio. She holds degrees from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, and she’s a rabid New York Yankees fan.

Articles written by Natalie Pompilio

After the Smoke Cleared

How Boston attorneys prosecuted the criminal trial—and helped victims in need

Hours after two bombs exploded near the Boston Marathon finish line on April 15, 2013, then-United States Attorney for Massachusetts Carmen Ortiz surveyed the scene from a raised vantage point. Workers in white hazmat suits were moving slowly on Boylston Street below, collecting and photographing the nails, ball bearings and other bits of shrapnel that had cut through the air at bullet-like speeds when the explosives detonated. A tarp on the ground covered the body of one of the victims. Ortiz …

Expect the Unexpected

Going to the bench and back with John Nazzaro

If there’s one lesson to take from Judge John Nazzaro’s 10-year run hearing criminal and civil cases, it’s this: expect the unexpected. Conservatives hailed him as a champion of the Second Amendment one day, then criticized him the next for approving diversion programs for drug users. Liberals approved when he released incarcerated persons who “sincerely wanted to address their issues,” but balked when he set high bonds on offenders charged with re-violating a protective order. “I …

‘If We Divorce, I Get Elena’

Why Elena Karabatos is the family lawyer for 95% of the human race

On a Monday earlier this year, three of the partners at the Garden City matrimonial law firm Schlissel Ostrow Karabatos kept getting text messages from other Nassau County attorneys: Where are you? What are you doing? Will you be here soon? They were confused. Where were they? At the office, working, as usual. All but one of them, it turned out. Senior partner Elena Karabatos was at an event hosted by the Nassau County Bar Association, an organization she once led, where she was being honored …

Dana Constand and the Three Bears

Her approach to folk painting and family law is just right

Dana Constand’s paintings often feature peaceful scenes of adult bears with cubs. This makes sense for a family law practitioner who encourages her clients to be cooperative, not combative. “I tend to attract clients who want to do the best for their families and their children,” says Constand, whose solo firm is called Family Focus Law. “If you do divorce amicably, your whole family comes through it better.” Before launching her legal career a decade ago, Constand was a folk …

‘I See You’

Joanna Adu connects with clients caring for loved ones with disabilities

During college, Joanna Adu decided against a legal career. Five years post-graduation, she was living in Seattle and working in retail banking, the single mother of a son with a disability. At one meeting, a branch manager posed this icebreaker: What would you do if you had no fear of failure? “I didn’t even have to think about it,” remembers Adu, 39. “I said I would go to law school.” She had begun reconsidering the career a few months earlier as she was weighing opportunities for …

Confidence & Poise

From angelic singing to javelin tossing, Janet Rhodes has great bar stories

Janet Rhodes’ work as an employment lawyer means she doesn’t get to sing as much as she’d like, but she’ll still perform for friends’ weddings or bust out Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker” on karaoke night. Rhodes, second in second row, at a Sandlapper Singers performance. Singing has been one of her passions since elementary school, when she joined the choir at her family’s Methodist church, performing while standing on a stool and wearing a Christmas pageant angel costume because …

Common Ground

Former Judge Robbie Barr makes human connections everywhere she goes

Robbie Barr is used to people telling her she can’t do something. She’s also used to ignoring them.“With most things in my life, where people say, ‘You can’t be a lawyer. You can’t be a judge. You can’t leave the bench and move to Denver. You can’t dye your hair blue,’ I do it anyway,” says Barr, 69, the founder of BarrADR in Denver. “Maybe whatever’s scaring me is where I need to go.” The 5’2” Barr took up taekwondo in her late 50s, sported a shiner caused by …

‘I Have to Keep Going’

Losing asylum cases has taught Anna Tijerina so much

Anna Tijerina lost her first asylum case. Badly. “The judge just tore me apart,” the immigration lawyer says of the extortion case, which involved a woman in her 30s and during which the judge objected to every line of her questioning. At the close, she left the courtroom and sobbed—for her client, for herself, and for the injustice she felt she’d just witnessed. She didn’t return to her office that day. But she did return the next, and felt stronger for it. “It was good motivation. …

Whole in One

How Steve Abreu launched a comprehensive disc golf-focused practice

Soon after he began playing disc golf in March 2020, trademark attorney Steve Abreu had a realization: The distinctive plastic Frisbees he was throwing were valuable pieces of intellectual property—and wasn’t it his job to help companies protect their IP? Less than three years later, Abreu’s firm, the Boston-based Sunstein LLP, has a client roster that includes disc golf’s professional tour, its number-one player and multiple equipment manufacturers. It sponsors the Sunstein Series, a …

The Complete and Total Badass

Nina Pirrotti on fighting the good fight

In third grade, Nina Pirrotti learned that girls weren’t allowed to carry the American flag before school assemblies. Incensed, she prepared and passed around a petition and collected dozens of names. By the end of the school year, girls were carrying the flags, too. “Empowering the powerless, that’s been a through line my entire life,” says Pirrotti, of Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti in New Haven. As a lawyer specializing in civil rights and employee advocacy cases, …

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