Patti G. Rieder, Esq. is a native of Northeastern Pennsylvania and has been a practicing attorney in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. She was an adjunct professor at Pennsylvania State University for 17 years, throughout which she served as a Federal Judicial Law Clerk and as an attorney both in private practice and in law firms.
Rieder received her Bachelor of Science degree in History and Political Science from the University of Scranton before moving to Washington D.C. to pursue her law degree. There, she attended the Columbus School of Law where she earned her Juris Doctorate. While in law school, she was awarded the American Jurisprudence Award for earning the highest grade in her Family Law and Agency and Partnership Law class section.
After graduating, Rieder became a Federal Judicial Law Clerk for the Honorable Richard P. Conaboy who was the Chief Judge of the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Her time as a Federal Law Clerk for Judge Conaboy taught Rieder how to expertly handle complex legal cases. With new skills under her belt, Rieder then joined Schnader, Harrison, Segal, and Lewis, a Philadelphia-based law firm. She then returned to a Federal Judicial Clerkship for the Honorable Thomas I. Vanaskie who had been appointed to the US. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
Rieder went on to serve clerkships with the Honorable Thomas J. Munley and the Honorable Chester T. Harhut, both judges in the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas. Rieder has also served as Hearing Master in the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas. A Hearing Master is responsible for overseeing case management and resolution and makes recommendations about the matter at hand to the presiding Judge. During her time there, she handled Status Court, Dependency Court, Custody Court, and Orphan’s Court matters.
After some time in private practice, Rieder joined the Scranton law firm Powell Law, where she learned more about personal injury and medical malpractice cases. Rieder also did appellate work on the State Police of Pennsylvania v. WCAB (Bushta) case. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling in this case clarified the law and ensured that Pennsylvania employees working in dangerous occupations, such as firefighters and police officers, received the proper protection and compensation when injured on the job.
Attorney Rieder has been named a Lawyer of Distinction for her excellent work in Civil Litigation. She is a firm believer in being an active community member and volunteers her time as the advisor for Lakeland High School’s Mock Trial Team. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and four children.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
My training in federal and state courts by outstanding jurists is my inspiration. As a law clerk, I gained a unique perspective in the procedural and legal foundation of the legal process. I was fortunate enough to be mentored by scholarly, compassionate jurists who always exhibited a high level of professionalism. As a result of my trusted relationships, I developed superior research, writing, and analytical skills, as well as the ability to manage a great deal of information in a decisive and efficient manner.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My greatest asset with respect to being productive is my persistence. I focus on the task at hand until I find the answer to my legal question. I am acutely aware, due to my extensive experience, of the need to be both thorough and efficient because the court system and litigants were and are depending on me to do so. As a result, I developed a methodology to effectively and timely analyze cases.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Because of my several judicial clerkships, as well as my private practice experience, I have the ability to thoroughly process and analyze information. I effectively anticipate how to meet my burden by knowing the strengths and weaknesses of both sides of my cases.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Problem-Solving Courts such as mental health court and treatment court are effective ways to deal with resolution of non-violent offenders, as well as dependency matters in family court. Lackawanna County has an established and effective track record with such courts and successfully focuses on rehabilitation, as opposed to punishment. Focusing on the social determinants of a person’s life, housing, mental health, trauma, substance abuse, and housing and social service involvement treats the whole person, and very often the whole family. This holistic approach serves to actually address the underlying cause of an individual’s poor decision making, and not just administer punishment.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Preparation is a habit I formed in childhood. Focused and consistent preparation benefits not only me, but also my clients and the court system.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Learn to live in the uncertainties that come your way in life. There are no guarantees and life very often leaves us with unanswered questions. As a result, I try to stay in the moment and take things one step at a time. Years of life experience has taught me that all matters have a process and we must let the process play out to its conclusion. To do that, one must learn to live in the uncertainty, even if only for a brief time.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Everyone is doing the best they can possibly do and if they could do better they would.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Create your own narrative and do not let others define you. Step out of your comfort zone and be willing to express your aspirations because aspirations are worthy causes and endeavors. Also, fight and work hard to overcome doubt. Use doubt only to make you more determined and not as a reason to give up.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Listening to what people have to say and validating the experiences I hear from them. I appreciate what others have to say.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
My greatest failure was not recognizing that failure itself is part of life. Failing is only practicing to get it right the next time, or eventually.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. Any book which brings to life humanity I find enlightening and inspiring.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.