Law Alumna Creates Life-Saving App

Lyons callout

Downloading apps is part of everyday modern life. But a Rutgers Law–Camden alumna has developed an app that could save your life.

Theresa Lyons ’01, one of the first graduates of a Rutgers dual-degree program that combines a J.D. with a M.S.W., has with her New Jersey family and divorce law firm, Lyons & Associates, launched an app that connects users instantly to every domestic violence shelter and hotline across the Garden State.

“Oftentimes victims may not have access to a computer or to outside resources, but they likely have their cell phone or know someone who does. The app also serves as a public service and educational tool,” advises Lyons of the program’s other features that include assisting with child support calculations, divorce records, as well as instantly connecting with the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency.

With over 70,000 incidents of domestic violence and over 60,000 incidents of suspected child abuse each year, New Jersey was in need of an innovative tool like this to connect victims with professionals trained to help.

“The more people who use the app (and not just potential clients are using it – also law enforcement, teachers, and medical professionals), the more likely those people may be to pass on life saving information to persons they encounter who may be suffering from abuse,” says Lyons, who serves as the firm’s managing partner.

Just as this app represents the first of its kind, Lyons herself was a trendsetter at Rutgers. She was one of the first two graduates in the state to earn simultaneously a J.D. and M.S.W., which earned her special recognition. This decision to take a chance on a new program ultimately proved advantageous to her career.

“I was curious to see how two such seemingly divergent schools of thought would work together in one brain. But having the two degrees is amazing,” she says. “I am a more compassionate lawyer and a more thoughtful social worker.” Her distinct approach to the law is also detailed in her new book, Sticks and Stones, Life Lessons from a Lawyer (Turn the Page Publishing, 2014).

As Lyons was navigating the demands of two programs at once, she also capitalized on Rutgers Law–Camden’s strong tradition in clerkships. “The fact that Rutgers–Camden stresses clerkships so emphatically also helped me obtain my clerkship at the New Jersey Supreme Court, and that opportunity has opened more doors than I ever could have imagined. I also value the vast network of so many Rutgers alumni across the state.”

As Lyons works to improve the lives of New Jerseyans through her app and her practice, she also personally opens her doors to the state’s most vulnerable: children in foster care. A foster and adoptive parent for many years, the Rutgers alumna says it’s been those kids who have taught her the most.

“All the children in my home have taught me that life is not always easy, that it is OK to surrender some things to the universe, but that even so – a good sense of humor and a good attitude go a long way.”

Developed in coordination with GetLegal, the Lyons & Associates app is downloadable for free on Apple iPhone and Android devices by keying in “Lyonspc” in the App Store.

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