One of Warren County’s judicial law clerks celebrated a major event on Thursday.
Tayler Moses, clerk for Judge Gregory Hammond, took the Oath of Admission to the Pennsylvania Bar.
After seven years of undergraduate and graduate studies, from the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) to the Bar Exam, once she files the document she and Hammond signed in the Main Courtroom at Warren County Courthouse Thursday morning, Moses will be an attorney.
Moses was on the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners list indicating that she had successfully passed the Bar.
“I saw my name on the successful list, I still don’t believe it,” she said.
That lack of belief is gone following Thursday’s event.
She had to swear to uphold and defend the constitutions of the United States and of Pennsylvania.
“That’s when it’s going to get real,” she said. “It’s a pretty big deal.”
Her parents, Samuel Moses and Tammy Lyons, were in the courtroom to support her as she swore the oath administered by Hammond.
She didn’t have much to say, but she thanked her parents as well as Hammond and President Judge Maureen Skerda for their support.
“This is a huge day for Tayler and her family,” Hammond said. “It marks the start of Tayler’s journey as a lawyer. She’s going to be a great lawyer.”
He listed some of his virtues that lead him to that conclusion — “intelligence, analytic abilities, energy, and compassion.”
Moses, an Erie native, graduated from Widener University Commonwealth Law School with a juris doctor degree in 2021.
She accepted a post as a judicial law clerk with the president judge in Northumberland County.
“After about a year, I decided to move back home,” she said.
She started in Warren County on April 1.
Moses is in no hurry to start practicing law on his own.
“Personally, I like clerking. I enjoy it,” she said. “I enjoy being in the middle, being the one that helps with the judge’s decision… with that operation. I think I’ll stay as long as possible.”
Typically, clerks stay on for a year or two, she said.
Hammond isn’t just her boss, he’s her mentor.
“He is very wise,” Moses said. “He is a very good teacher. Even in my short time here I’ve learned so much.”
Clerking for one judge in one county is not necessarily the same as working for another.
“He’s helped me get accused of how it works in Warren County… instead of Northumberland,” Moses said.
The clerk position is not exactly entry-level.
“They’re the right-hand-man of the judge,” she said. “Any research or legal issue presented to the court, I research. He’ll tell me which way he’s going towards. I’ll take that and write the opinion accordingly.”
Hammond makes sure those documents reflect his wishes. “Upon the judge’s review, they will be sent to the superior or commonwealth court,” Moses said.
She corresponds with attorney. She sits in at trials and takes notes “in case a legal issue arises and I’m able to do some research.”
“We do the back-end work,” she said.
She reports to the judge.
“We work together on issues,” Moses said. “If I’m finding certain law, I’ll bring it to the judge. We’ll discuss.”
It’s not just a program that makes the judge’s life easier.
“My takeaway … it’s preparing me to be a better attorney,” Moses said. “It’s helping me see all facets of the law. I’ve seen it all.”
She sees civil proceedings and criminal cases. From minor offenses to malpractice to murder—in Northumberland County.
“It’s making me more familiar and comfortable, being in the court system as a legal representative,” she said. “It’s giving me the opportunity to not be on one particular side. I’m able to see all sides from the bench.”
Her interests are pushing her in one direction.
“I’m definitely looking at criminal law,” she said. “I plan to have a long career in criminal law.”
“I definitely want to work for a government in some capacity,” Moses said. That doesn’t eliminate one side of the court system or the other.
She is prepared to work to defend those who need her help as a public defender — she previously served an internship with a PD — or to advocate for victims. “The district attorney is tasked with that job.”