EducationUniversity of Pittsburgh School of Law, Juris doctor (2006)

Allegheny College, B.A., magna cum laude (2002)

Sharpsville Area High School
Bar AdmissionsPennsylvania, 2006

Partner

rja@ekmelaw.com
T: 724.981.2000
F: 724.981.2007


 [as-accordion clicktoclose="true" autoclose="false" openfirst="true"][as-accordion-item title="Practice & Expertise"]

My practice is primarily focused on leading the firm’s family law practice, helping clients to navigate through the turmoil of divorce and custody. I also have experience in estate planning and administration, elder law, litigation including personal injury and automobile accidents, zoning/land use and in assisting businesses to develop strategies geared toward growth and development.

I have extensive experience in all types of family law matters and litigation, including:

  • Complex Divorce, including numerous multi-million dollar marital estates
  • Collaborative Practice, which provides an alternative to litigation
  • Pre- and post-nuptial agreements, and separation agreements
  • Qualified Domestic Relations Orders dividing retirement assets in divorce
  • Simple/no-fault divorce agreements
  • Spousal and child support
  • Child custody, including initial custody determinations, modifications, and relocations
  • Adoption
  • Guardianships
  • Name changes
  • Protection from Abuse

As part of my Family Law practice, I have often been consulted by schools and daycare providers for the establishment of policies and protocols when dealing with child custody orders, and I also receive regular judicial appointments as a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL); as a GAL, I investigate the facts of high-conflict custody disputes and issue a report and recommendation to the presiding judge in support of the best interests of the affected children.

In 2012, I became one of the first two attorneys in Mercer County to be trained and certified in Collaborative Law, which is an innovative process by which parties to a legal dispute commit to resolving their differences without resorting to litigation. While Collaborative Law can be used to resolve any legal dispute, it has frequent application in disagreements involving families and business partners. For more information on Collaborative Law, click here. In 2015, I became the second Mercer County-based attorney to complete training as a Mediator, and accordingly I am qualified and able to provide mediation services to clients who wish to resolve their disputes out of court; I accept mediation cases involving family law matters, as well as civil cases and estate disputes.

Regardless of practice area, I attempt to find creative and innovative ways of resolving disputes and obtaining efficient results for my clients, recognizing that each case deserves a customized strategy tailored to that client’s needs and goals.

[/as-accordion-item][/as-accordion][as-accordion clicktoclose="true" autoclose="false"][as-accordion-item title="Background"]I was born and raised in the Shenango Valley, growing up in family-owned businesses. After college, I briefly worked as a sportswriter at The (Sharon) Herald prior to attending law school. After graduating from law school, I first served as a Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable John C. Reed III, Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Mercer County, assisting the Court on a wide array of cases across all practice areas, but where I first developed a passion for Family Law. I joined EKME in September 2008, and in 2011 became the primary attorney in the firm’s Family Law practice.

I live in Sharpsville with my wife and children, where we are active members of our church and the community. [/as-accordion-item][/as-accordion][as-accordion clicktoclose="true" autoclose="false"][as-accordion-item title="Associations & Memberships"]Pennsylvania Bar Association (Family Law, Collaborative Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution Committees)

Mercer County Bar Association (Family Law Committee)

Collaborative Professionals of Northwestern Pennsylvania

Mercer County Collaborative Professionals

International Academy of Collaborative Professionals[/as-accordion-item][/as-accordion][as-accordion clicktoclose="true" autoclose="false"][as-accordion-item title="Civic & Community Activities"]Director and Vice-President of the Board, UPMC Horizon Community Health Foundation

Director, Prince of Peace Center, Farrell

St. Bartholomew Church Parish Pastoral Council

Holy Name Society, St. Bartholomew Church

Cub Scout leader/Assistant Cubmaster, Pack 45

Borough of Sharpsville Civil Service Commission

Sharpsville Service Club

Youth sports coach, Shenango Valley YMCA and Sharpsville Little League[/as-accordion-item][/as-accordion][as-accordion clicktoclose="true" autoclose="false"][as-accordion-item title="Education"]University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Juris doctor (2006)

Allegheny College, B.A., magna cum laude (2002)

Sharpsville Area High School
[/as-accordion-item][/as-accordion][as-accordion clicktoclose="true" autoclose="false"][as-accordion-item title="Bar Admissions"]Pennsylvania, 2006[/as-accordion-item][/as-accordion][as-accordion clicktoclose="true" autoclose="false"][as-accordion-item title="Publications & Honors"]Selected as a 2015 “40 Under 40” honoree, recognizing up-and-coming young professionals, by the Shenango Valley and Lawrence County Chambers of Commerce[/as-accordion-item][/as-accordion][as-accordion clicktoclose="true" autoclose="false"][as-accordion-item title="Practice Areas"]Family Law

Estate Planning and Administration

Personal Injury

Business Planning

Alternative Dispute Resolution[/as-accordion-item][/as-accordion]