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Hansen brings vast experience to assistant attorney position

September 21, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Former teacher, hospital manager, regional planner and law firm partner Michele Ferris Hansen has taken on a new role as Washington County assistant state's attorney.

Hansen, a 1990 graduate of University of Baltimore School of Law, started work Sept. 7, shadowing other county prosecutors. She has been placed on the Child Abuse Treatment Team, where she will work closely with the Department of Social Services and the Child Advocacy Center, among others.

Hansen was a partner in the Greenbelt, Md., and Frederick County, Md.- based firm Ferris, Hansen & Gorvoy P.C. since February 1994, where she concentrated on family law, personal injury and general litigation. Before that she worked as a regional planner, advocating funding for various highway safety projects addressing law enforcement and emergency medical services concerns in Charles, Calvert and St. Mary's counties. She also worked in administrative management, overseeing a variety of departments at Providence Hospital in Washington, D.C.

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Hansen, who has a master's degree in secondary education from Catholic University, also worked as a substitute teacher.

She said she believes her experience in other fields and her work with litigation will help her in her new job as a county prosecutor.

"It's very important to be able to communicate well and accurately, to be patient and understanding, to be well-organized, efficient and diligent and, as an attorney, to be flexible," she said.

Hansen said she looks forward to "seeing that justice is served by balancing the need to protect and vindicate the victim and uphold the law."

Washington County State's Attorney Charles Strong said Hansen "brought a lot to the table in terms of her experience."

"It's often more inviting to have someone who's had various work experiences and personal experiences and community experiences," he said. "I think they help the whole office because they bring into the program a deeper and wider information source."

Strong said Hansen filled one of two positions that had been vacant at the office. Washington County Assistant State's Attorney John B. Dunlap filled the other vacancy in March.

Those vacancies were created when Theresa M. Adams left to become a Frederick County Circuit judge and Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Viki Pauler took a grant-funded position as the county's violent crimes prosecutor.

Strong said the office is in the process of filling an assistant state's attorney position at the Washington County Narcotics Task Force that Joseph Michael vacated when he was promoted to deputy state's attorney.

Hansen was hired at an annual salary of $47,592, said Dave Hankinson, human resources director for Washington County.

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