Public Defender Holly Mosher '98

Exercise science and sports led to a law career for Holly Mosher ’98.             by Anne Ryan

A major in exercise science and minor in sport studies might not seem like the best preparation for a career in law, but you wouldn’t know it from watching Holly Mosher ’98 on the job. The onetime basketball and softball player is now chief public defender of Schuyler County, New York.

After graduation Holly worked for a year in a physical therapy office and three years with a food product development company, both in Ithaca. Deciding that a laboratory career was not for her, she began applying to law schools.

Syracuse University College of Law proved a perfect fit. During her second and third years, Holly specialized in trial law. Her two semesters in the criminal law clinic honed her courtroom skills, and after graduation she joined the Schuyler County district attorney’s office, where she worked for two years as assistant district attorney.

A year ago Holly was appointed to a four-year term as public defender, representing indigent clients charged with felonies in criminal and family courts. In family court she deals with such issues as child custody, child neglect, and visitation. It’s not an easy job, as anyone who watches courtroom dramas on television might suspect. Yet even at her youthful age, she is making a name for herself as an attorney to be reckoned with.

“Holly’s tenaciousness and zeal as assistant district attorney earned her promotion to this position as public defender,” says Tim O’Hearn, Schuyler County administrator. “She continues to be a formidable opponent in the courtroom.”

Living in Watkins Glen, where she grew up, Holly has reconnected with Ithaca College. “I returned to campus for my 10th reunion last spring,” she says. “I even wrote a letter to my classmates urging them to attend. I still feel such pride in the College, and I want to be even more involved in planning our 15th reunion.”

She also joined the Friends of Ithaca College and goes to as many Friends events as she can throughout the year. Such connections seem important for someone who deals with so much sadness during the workweek, with clients who for the most part probably don’t have the same sense of belonging to a place or to a group of people.

Holly treasures her own new connections, along with the education and the friendships she gained while a student-athlete at Ithaca. “I think of my years at IC as a perfect experience, from academics to athletics and everything in between,” Holly says. “If had to do it over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.”