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OGC Main Office Attorneys



Rodney R. Akers Rodney R. Akers
Deputy General Counsel

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.



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, Abbe 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. Abbe is a certified mediator and member of the OGC Mediation Program and was appointed as a mediator for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Abbe 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, Abbe 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, Abbe served as a Right to Know Law Appeals Officer for the OAG. Before joining the Commonwealth, she worked for a Harrisburg law firm focusing on general civil litigation and administrative matters. 

Abbe 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. Abbe 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. 



17457_ogc_lori_irwin_8x10_dz_ - 200 x 250.jpgLori K. Irwin
Deputy General Counsel 

Lori K. Irwin was appointed Deputy General Counsel with the Pennsylvania Governor’s Office of General Counsel (OGC) in October of 2019.  In addition to her responsibilities to the General Counsel, Lori focuses on legislative practice on behalf of the Governor’s Office in conjunction with various executive agencies.

Lori came to OGC from the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) where she was counsel since 1997. During her time at DCED, Lori served in a variety of capacities. She was counsel to the various economic development financing programs and tax credit programs administered by DCED and worked closely with the Governor’s Action Team on economic development incentive projects. 

Prior to her service with the Commonwealth, Lori was in private practice with Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, Philadelphia, PA, where she was a member of that firm’s Corporate and Securities Group. 

Lori received her Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, from LaSalle University in Philadelphia and her Juris Doctor degree, magna cum laude, from Boston College Law School. She resides in Lancaster County with her husband and two children.



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. 



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.



Doris M. Leisch
Deputy General Counsel

Doris M. Leisch was appointed Deputy General Counsel in the Governor’s Office of General Counsel (OGC) in October 2019.  Before her appointment, Doris served as Chief Counsel to the Department of Human Services since April 2015, after serving as Senior Counsel and Chief of Litigation for the Department for over two decades.  During her tenure at the Department, Doris provided legal advice and counsel to all program offices in the Department on the wide range of issues that arise in administering the multiple programs for which the Department is responsible.  As the Chief of Litigation, her responsibilities included overseeing, supervising, or handling all major litigation brought by and against all program offices within the Department in federal and state courts at the trial and appellate level as well as in administrative tribunals.  She has litigated several issues of first impression in the Department’s favor in both federal and state courts.  She is admitted to practice before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and the United States District Courts for the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of Pennsylvania.

Before joining the Commonwealth in 1991, Doris was the Chief Deputy City Solicitor for the City of Philadelphia, representing the Department of Human Services and the Department of Public Health, after serving a clerkship in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.  Immediately before her appointment as Chief Counsel, she served as the General Counsel for Community Behavioral Health in Philadelphia.

Doris received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history, magna cum laude, from St. Joseph’s University and her law degree from Temple University, where she served as managing editor of the law review.  Before attending law school, she was employed as a manuscript editor at the Institute of Early American History and Culture in Williamsburg, VA, where she edited several books, one of which was awarded the 1983 Pulitzer prize for history.



Basil L. Merenda
Deputy General Counsel

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.


Theron R. Perez
First Deputy General Counsel

Theron R. Perez was appointed First Deputy General Counsel in the Governor's Office of General Counsel (OGC) in October 2019.  Prior to his appointment, he had served as Chief Counsel for the Department of Corrections (DOC) since July 2013. Theron had previously served as Deputy Chief Counsel at the DOC and headed the Employment Litigation section since June of 2011. Prior to that he had served as Assistant Counsel for the DOC since 2005. During his tenure with the DOC, he represented the agency in both federal and state litigation in various civil rights and employment matters. He has also been involved in the negotiation and review of contracts, developed and delivered legal training for DOC staff, and provided advice regarding the promulgation of policy, Right to Know Law matters, and employment and labor issues. 

Prior to serving at DOC, Theron served as the Deputy Director for the Central Region for U.S. Senator Arlen Specter. An active member of the community, Theron is a deacon at Calvary Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Middletown, PA and has served as a volunteer attorney in the Dauphin County Pro Bono Program. He is a graduate of the Dickinson School of Law and completed his undergraduate studies at Messiah College.


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.