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OGC Main Office Attorneys



Rodney R. Akers Rodney R. Akers
Deputy General Counsel
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Rodney R. Akers was appointed Deputy General Counsel in the Governor’s Office of General Counsel (OGC) in November 2007.  His chief responsibilities are managing business and technology aspects of the Office of General Counsel, and its nearly 500 attorneys who serve over 30 executive branch and independent Commonwealth agencies.  Mr. Akers supervises OGC’s hiring committee, professional responsibility training activities, interagency practice groups, and law student outreach/extern programs.  He is responsible for OGC’s law practice management and legal technology initiatives, as well as overall administration of outside counsel who perform legal services for OGC agency offices, including those firms who have been qualified to serve as bond counsel in Commonwealth matters. 

Mr. Akers’ principal areas of practice expertise are in information technology, intellectual property, regulatory compliance, and contracts.  He has extensive experience with e-commerce, information privacy, and cybersecurity issues as well as with copyright and trademark law. Mr. Akers has represented private and public sector clients before regulatory bodies, and negotiated a variety of complex contracts, licenses and agreements.  In addition to his duties as Deputy General Counsel, Mr. Akers serves as chief counsel to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the Council on the Arts, the Office of the First Lady, and the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority.

Chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s In-House Counsel Committee, Mr. Akers also serves as Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where he teaches courses as part of that institution’s Innovation Practice Institute. He received his bachelor of arts with honors from the University of Virginia, and is a graduate of Harvard Law School.



Anne Gingrich Cornick Anne Gingrich Cornick
Deputy General Counsel 

Anne Gingrich Cornick was appointed Deputy General Counsel for the Pennsylvania Governors Office of General Counsel (OGC) in March 2015. Her chief responsibilities encompass all criminal legal issues at OGC and she serves as the primary contact for all law enforcement agencies.  Anne is also Chair of the Criminal Justice Practice Group. 

Anne came to OGC after many years as a criminal defense attorney in both state and Federal jurisdictions. She has represented individuals, including a large indigent client base, at every level of the criminal justice system, and her extensive trial experience has been comprised of charges ranging from DUIs, drug offenses, assaults, and homicides. She has also served as counsel in civil litigation cases involving family law, custody law, wills and estates, professional licensure law, and evolving civil proceedings concerning SORNA legislation. Anne has a strong background in direct and collateral appellate work, and served as the Chief Deputy Public Defender of the Appellate Division in Dauphin County, where she first began her legal career. 

Anne has served as an adjunct professor in constitutional and criminal law at Central Penn College, an instructor at the Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University, and a guest lecturer at the Pennsylvania State Police Academy. She received her J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law where she was a Presidential Scholarship in Law Recipient and a Texas Law Fellow. Prior to attending law school she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer leading community health programs in Luapula Province, Zambia. She holds a B.A. from Boston University College Honors Program, summa cum laude. Anne lives in the city of Harrisburg with her husband, Sean, and their daughter.



Pamela F. Cross Pamela F. Cross
Deputy General Counsel 

Pamela F. Cross was appointed Deputy General Counsel with the Pennsylvania Governor’s Office of General Counsel (OGC) in February 2018. In addition to her general responsibilities to the General Counsel, Pamela’s practice focuses on transactional and regulatory matters affecting some 34 executive branch and independent Commonwealth agencies. Pamela is a member of OGC’s Transactions Practice Group and has served as the Chair of its Executive Committee. 

Pamela comes to OGC from the Department of General Services (DGS), where she served as Assistant Chief Counsel for Procurement. Pamela’s practice focused on procurement law and policy, negotiating contracts, reviewing contracts for form and legality, and providing legal counsel on transactional matters. During her time with DGS, Pamela also served as an Assistant Counsel. Prior to joining DGS, Pamela served as Assistant Counsel to the Governor’s Office of the Budget. 

Pamela also serves as an Adjunct Professor at the Widener Commonwealth Law School, where she teaches a course on Government Contracting. She is an active member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association and serves on the Board of Directors for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute. 

Pamela received a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University and was awarded her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.



Jpeg image of Brittany L. MunizBrittany L. Erney-Muniz
Deputy General Counsel 

Brittany L. Erney-Muniz was appointed Deputy General Counsel with the Pennsylvania Governor’s Office of General Counsel (OGC) in April 2018. In addition to her responsibilities to the General Counsel, Britt focuses on transactional and regulatory matters. Britt is a member of OGC’s Transactional and Finance Practice Groups, and a member of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC).  Her interest to work within the Commonwealth as a transactional attorney began while she worked in the Health Care Section of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General after law school.

Britt comes to OGC from the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System, where she served as Counsel in the Business Law and Investment Divisions. As a member of the Investment Division, Britt’s practice focused on negotiating investment contracts and providing legal counsel on private equity, public markets, and real estate transactions, as well as securities litigation matters.
 
Britt received her bachelor of arts in Psychology from Pennsylvania State University, and her juris doctor from Widener University School of Law.



M.Abbegael Giunta M. Abbegael Giunta
Deputy General Counsel 

M. Abbegael Giunta was appointed Deputy General Counsel with the Pennsylvania Governor's Office of General Counsel (OGC) in October 2017. In addition to her general responsibilities to the General Counsel, Abbegael is a member of OGC's litigation group and concentrates her practice on complex litigation, as well as administrative and labor and employment law on behalf of various executive agencies. 

Abbegael came to OGC after more than a decade with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General (OAG), Civil Law Division, Litigation Section where she served as a Senior Deputy Attorney General. At the OAG, Abbegael practiced extensively in state and federal court handling complex litigation, Constitutional challenges, Title VII, ADA, ADEA, and Civil Rights Act claims filed against the Commonwealth and its officials and employees. In addition, Abbegael served as a Right to Know Law Appeals Officer for the OAG. Before joining the Commonwealth, Abbegail worked for a Harrisburg law firm focusing on general civil litigation and administrative matters. 

Abbegael received her bachelor of science in management information systems from Saint Joseph's University, and her Juris Doctor degree from the Widener University School of Law. Abbegael resides in Dauphin County with her husband and two daughters.



Thomas Howell Thomas P. Howell
Deputy General Counsel 

Thomas P. Howell was appointed Deputy General Counsel in the Pennsylvania Governor’s Office of General Counsel (OGC), in April 2016.  In addition to his responsibilities to the General Counsel, Thomas concentrates his practice in the area of public records law. Thomas is also a member of OGC’s litigation group and his practice includes litigation on behalf of various executive agencies and the Governor’s office. Thomas is also the Chair of the Records Access and Management/Right-to-Know Law Practice Group 

Since joining the Commonwealth in 1996, Thomas has served in various capacities with the Department of Labor and Industry, where he represented the Department in areas of Labor and Employment law, primarily as counsel to the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.  Thomas has represented executive agencies in Pennsylvania’s Courts of Common Pleas and Commonwealth Court, and has successfully litigated matters before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.  Thomas received his bachelor’s degree in History from College Misericordia (now Misericordia University) in Dallas, Pennsylvania, in 1994, and received his Juris Doctor from Widener University School of Law in 1996, where he was a member of the Moot Court Honor Society. 



Kenneth L. Joel
Deputy General Counsel 

Kenneth L. Joel was appointed as Deputy General Counsel with the Governor's Office of General Counsel in January of 2018.  In additional to his general responsibilities to the General Counsel, Ken co-chairs the Litigation Practice Group, is a Member of the Mediation Practice Group, and litigates affirmatively and defensively in state and federal courts in a number of substantive areas including constitutional defense and complex litigation.  Ken supervises appellate brief writing across all OGC agencies, and he actively participates in OGC's Moot Court Program and Litigation Skills Program

Ken comes to OGC from the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, Civil Law Division, Litigation Section.  Ken first served the Commonwealth as a Senior Deputy Attorney General from 2008 through 2011 and, after serving as the Chief of the Litigation Section for the Indiana Office of the Attorney General, he rejoined the Pennsylvania OAG in 2014 as a Chief Deputy Attorney General and Chief of the Litigation Section.  Before entering public service, Ken was in private practice for 17 years and represented corporate, individual, and municipal interests in a variety of substantive areas including environmental and land use law, administrative and governmental law, tort matters, contract disputes, bankruptcy law, and employment and labor issues. 

Ken received his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire and his juris doctor degree, magna cum laude, from Boston University School of Law.  In addition to his legal work, Ken is passionate about legal education.  He is a frequent presenter at CLE programs including programs focusing on civil rights, legal writing, trial advocacy and civility in the practice of law and is an adjunct professor at Widener University, Commonwealth Law School. 



John Lavelle John K. Lavelle
Deputy General Counsel

John K. Lavelle was appointed Deputy General Counsel with the Pennsylvania Governor’s Office of General Counsel (OGC) in April 2015.

In addition to his responsibilities to the General Counsel, John focuses on legislative practice on behalf of the Governor’s Office and in conjunction with various executive agencies.

John came to OGC from the Legislative Reference Bureau where he worked as an attorney for over a decade drafting legislation for the General Assembly.  The legislation drafted involved a range of topics, including energy, elections, insurance, taxation, health care, administrative law, the environment, labor, public utilities, and congressional reapportionment.

John is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA).  He is also Vice-Chair of the PBA's Statutory Law Committee and serves as co-editor of the committee's newsletter.  John received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Scranton and his juris doctor from Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg.  He is an avid baseball fan and resides in Harrisburg with his wife, Casey. 



Marisa G. Z. Lehr Marisa G. Z. Lehr
Deputy General Counsel

Marisa G. Z. Lehr was appointed as Deputy General Counsel with the Governor’s Office of General Counsel (OGC) in March 2015. In addition to her general responsibilities to the General Counsel, Marisa’s practice focuses on regulatory and transactional matters on behalf of the Governor’s Office and in conjunction with various executive and independent agencies. She is also a member of OGC’s hiring committee.

Marisa comes to OGC from the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General (OAG), Civil Law Division, Litigation Section where she served as a Deputy Attorney General, providing legal representation to Commonwealth agencies, officials, and employees in a wide variety of litigation matters in both state and federal court. During her time at OAG, Marisa also assisted Special Deputy Attorney General H. Geoffrey Moulton, Jr. in his review of and report on the handling of the Jerry Sandusky investigation by the Office of Attorney General, other law enforcement agencies, and child protective services. Prior to her employment with OAG, Marisa served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Thomas G. Saylor of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

Marisa received her bachelor of science in business administration, summa cum laude, from Robert Morris University. During her time at Robert Morris, Marisa was a member of the University's Division-I field hockey team. Marisa received her juris doctor, summa cum laude, from Widener University School of Law, graduating as the valedictorian of her class. While at Widener, Marisa was a member of the Widener Law Journal, a Widener Scholar, and recipient of The Dean’s Award.



Victoria S. Madden Victoria S. Madden
Deputy General Counsel

Victoria S. Madden was appointed Deputy General Counsel in the Governor’s Office of General Counsel (OGC) in January 2018. Vicci has over 22 years of experience with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Since 2013 she served as counsel to the Department of the Auditor General, as the Executive Deputy Chief Counsel and then Chief Counsel. As Chief Counsel she supervised the legal staff and provided legal advice and support to the Auditor General, Deputy Auditor Generals and Department Bureaus.

Prior to her position with the Department of Auditor General, Vicci served as both the Chief Counsel and later as the Chief Hearing Officer for the Board of Probation and Parole collectively for ten years. Previous to her positions at the Parole Board, Vicci was the Criminal Justice Policy Manager for the Governor’s Policy Office and was a Deputy Attorney General in the Civil Litigation Section for the Office of Attorney General

Vicci’s earlier experience with the Commonwealth included six years at the Department of Corrections in the Office of Chief Counsel and in the Executive Office of the Secretary. Her interest to work within the Commonwealth started while she was a law clerk at the Department of Public Welfare’s Office of Chief Counsel during law school.

Vicci is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association and Dauphin County Bar Association, and is a certified mediator for the Pennsylvania Middle District Court. She received her B.A. in Psychology at the University of Delaware and her juris doctor from Widener University School of Law. Vicci resides in Lemoyne PA with her husband and their two daughters.



Basil L. Merenda
Deputy General Counsel

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Basil L. Merenda was appointed Deputy General counsel with the Governor's Office of General Counsel (OGC) in July 2019. He brings to OGC extensive experience in state and local government, including criminal and consumer protection law enforcement. His chief responsibilities are in labor issues and matters involving the interaction of law and public policy.

Basil comes to OGC from the City of Philadelphia where he served as Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Licenses and Inspections.  Prior to his time with the City of Philadelphia, Basil served as a Director and Chief Deputy Attorney General for the Bureau of Consumer Protection with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General. 

Basil's earlier experience with the Commonwealth included seven years at the Department of State: first as Commissioner for the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, and then as Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 

Prior to his Commonwealth service, Basil was a Deputy Attorney General for the New Jersey Attorney General's Office Antitrust and Financial Crimes Bureau as well as practiced law with private law firms.

Basil received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Villanova University, a Master of Arts in Economics from the University of Notre Dame, and his juris doctorate from Villanova University Law School.  Basil is a huge fan of all Philadelphia professional sports teams as well as Villanova and Notre Dame basketball and football. He is an avid runner having completed several Philadelphia Broad Street Runs and four marathons.



Gregory G. Schwab Gregory G. Schwab
Deputy General Counsel

Gregory G. Schwab was appointed as Deputy General Counsel with the Governor's Office of General Counsel in July 2016.  Prior to his recent appointment he served as Chief Counsel to the Pennsylvania Department of Education from April 2015.  In that role, Mr. Schwab oversaw investigations, regulatory enforcement, litigation, contracting, legislation, and rulemaking, among other matters.  Prior to joining the Commonwealth and the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Mr. Schwab was in private practice with Saul Ewing LLP, Philadelphia, PA, where he was a member of that firm’s litigation department.  Mr. Schwab represented clients in federal and state courts and in various arbitration forums.  He focused his practice on representing higher education institutions and companies in litigation matters and in government investigations and enforcement proceedings.  He also devoted significant time to pro bono matters.

Mr. Schwab received his undergraduate degree summa cum laude from The Catholic University of America, in Washington, DC, and his juris doctor with honors from the University of Maryland School of Law, in Baltimore, MD.  Mr. Schwab served on the editorial staff of the Maryland Law Review.  Mr. Schwab also served as a law clerk to the Hon. Susan K. Gauvey (Ret.) in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.



Jullia A. Sheridan

  Jullia A. Sheridan 

  Deputy General Counsel

Jullia A. Sheridan was appointed Deputy General Counsel in the Pennsylvania Governor's Office of General Counsel (OGC) in January 2019. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Sheridan served as Chief Counsel to the Office of Administration, providing legal counsel to the agency on matters involving employment and human resources issues, information technology, IT procurement and civil service modernization.  Ms. Sheridan also served as assistant counsel, and later, as deputy chief counsel in the Office of Chief Counsel of the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, representing that agency in a wide variety of areas.

Ms. Sheridan received her undergraduate degree with honors from Gannon College, in Erie, Pennsylvania, and her juris doctor from the Franklin Thomas Backus School of Law of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.



Jennifer G. Whare Jennifer G. Whare
Deputy General Counsel

Jennifer G. Whare was appointed Deputy General Counsel in the Pennsylvania Governor’s Office of General Counsel (OGC) in January 2017. In addition to her general responsibilities to the General Counsel, Jennifer focuses on legislative practice and regulatory matters on behalf of the Governor’s Office and in conjunction with various executive agencies.

Jennifer came to OGC from the Department of Human Services where she served as counsel since October 2002.  During her time with the Department of Human Services, Jennifer’s practice included reviewing and drafting legislation and regulations. She also provided counsel to the Bureau of Child Support Enforcement.

Jennifer received her bachelor’s degree from the American University in Washington, DC, and her Juris Doctor degree from the Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University.  Jennifer resides in Cumberland County with her husband and two children.