Hanlon said she always been focused on public service, which continues to drive her professionally and personally. Prior to law school, she worked for six years at College Bound Saint Louis, a whole-child program helping students in generational poverty get to and through college. She assisted students with academic enrichment, securing financial aid, accessing health and mental-health services, and finding foster-care and housing arrangements. Hanlon started with the organization as an AmeriCorps member, rose to the position of co-director of the high school program, and found the work to be both enjoyable and fulfilling.
In her role, Hanlon realized the most difficult hurdles for young people and their families to navigate often were legal and systematic barriers — everything from dealing with traffic tickets to securing immigration status.
“I found myself being drawn toward the legal work that dealt with some of the harder, more painful aspects of what can happen to young people, such as foster care, the juvenile-court system or interaction with the adult criminal system,” she said.
Today, Hanlon serves as a court-appointed special advocate with Voices for Children and is a member of the Legal Services of Eastern Missouri Young Friends Board. The class she teaches at the Justice Center is being piloted through Street Law, a volunteer outreach program between the law school and city jails that facilitates classes and workshops; Hanlon serves as its president.
In addition, she acts as a managing editor of the Saint Louis University Law Journal, has represented SLU Law on its Moot Court competition team, and is active in the school’s American Constitution Society, having served as its vice president and now president.
Next year, Hanlon will clerk for Judge Laura Denvir Stith on the Missouri Supreme Court. Her long-term plan is to focus on state and local issues.
“My goal is to stay in this community and hopefully stay in public interest,” she said. “At some point later in life, I hope to shift more to policy or academic work.”