This story appears in the School of Law’s Summer 2012 Mag­a­zine. It was written by free­lancer Maura King Scully.

There are a lot of jokes about the sorry state of Pennsylvania’s high­ways, but for Tara I. Allen, L’98, Can­dace Cain, L’83 and 
Linda (Jar­rett) Cohn, L’97, all roads lead to Pitts­burgh, where the three have formed a North­eastern law tri­umvi­rate at the Fed­eral Public Defender’s Office for the Western Dis­trict 
of Pennsylvania.

When I was a stu­dent, I don’t think there were any co-​​op employers in Pitts­burgh,” recalls Cohn. Yet, the three were seem­ingly drawn, like mag­nets, to the Steel City. Cain and Cohn are both orig­i­nally from the area; Allen moved to Pitts­burgh from the Fed­eral Public Defender’s Office for the Eastern Dis­trict of Cal­i­fornia in Sacra­mento, in a quest to get closer to her native Boston while staying on track with her career as a fed­eral crim­inal defense attorney.

All three credit Northeastern’s clinics with inspiring their public interest careers. “I blame Wally Holohan and the Pris­oners’ Rights Clinic,” says Cain. “That absolutely cemented my love of crim­inal defense work.”

There’s not a trial that goes by that I don’t think back to Wally and his cross-​​examination tech­niques,” echoes Cohn. “That was the best training I ever had.”

For Allen, it was the Crim­inal Advo­cacy Clinic that “shaped my desire to do this work,” she says. “That was the first time I had to go to court, to learn how to talk with clients, and not in legalese.”

The training appar­ently paid off. In fall 2011, Cain, with Allen as her second chair and Cohn cheering from the side­lines, argued Reynolds v. United States before the U.S. Supreme Court, securing a vic­tory for her client. The case, which grap­pled with the ques­tion of whether or not SORNA (Sex Offender Reg­is­tra­tion and Noti­fi­ca­tion Act) applied to those con­victed before 2006, has now been remanded to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Cir­cuit. And so, like these three North­eastern alumnae, the battle over SORNA will hit the road back to the Key­stone State.