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Crown Point lawyer leaving for Peace Corps

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On Sept. 19, attorney Connie Postelli will leave legal practice behind and depart for a two-year stint in the Peace Corps. Postelli will be teaching English in Ukraine. But she knows little else about her trip.

“People ask me if I’m scared, and I tell them I don’t have enough information to be scared yet,” she said.

Last year, Postelli met a woman who was in her 60s and had just served with the Peace Corps in Albania for two years. “She had suddenly realized that with her life, she was just collecting stuff.” And Postelli began to think about how she, too, could take her life in a different direction.

“She and I talked for a while, and I thought: wow, this sounds good,” Postelli said.

Postelli began the 15-month application process last year, which included a 27-page application and 14-page health questionnaire. The Peace Corps requires that any health problems or concerns be thoroughly checked out before approving an applicant. Postelli, who turned 56 in April, said a series of medical tests and evaluations – along with a mental health assessment – took about four months to complete. Postelli said a few of her friends “were glad I had my head examined – and were surprised that I passed.”

Initially, Postelli was supposed to be heading to Turkmenistan, so she had been preparing to live in an arid climate where the Muslim culture required modest – yet cool – clothing. But in August, Turkmenistan withdrew its request for Peace Corps volunteers, and Postelli was reassigned to Ukraine.

She will spend 27 months there, the first three of which will be devoted to training, including 4.5 hours of language training every day. After 10 weeks, she’ll have to pass a language test, or she may be sent home. And she will live with a host family who speaks no English and will not have electricity, running water, or Internet access.

At the beginning of this year, Postelli merged her solo practice with another firm, so her clients would be taken care of. Since then, she’s been preparing for her trip and teaching English as a second language at her local library.

Postelli said her friends and family have been supportive of her decision.

“Most of them aren’t even surprised, because I’ve always had this personality that needs to save things,” she said.

Postelli said that until training is complete, she will not be permitted to receive any packages. And she is allowed to bring with her two suitcases, weighing no more than 100 pounds combined.

“I’m going to spend my weekend packing my suitcases and weighing them repeatedly,” she said.

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  1. IF the Right to Vote is indeed a Right, then it is a RIGHT. That is the same for ALL eligible and properly registered voters. And this is, being able to cast one's vote - until the minute before the polls close in one's assigned precinct. NOT days before by absentee ballot, and NOT 9 miles from one's house (where it might be a burden to get to in time). I personally wait until the last minute to get in line. Because you never know what happens. THAT is my right, and that is Mr. Valenti's. If it is truly so horrible to let him on school grounds (exactly how many children are harmed by those required to register, on school grounds, on election day - seriously!), then move the polling place to a different location. For ALL voters in that precinct. Problem solved.

  2. "associates are becoming more mercenary. The path to partnership has become longer and more difficult so they are chasing short-term gains like high compensation." GOOD FOR THEM! HELL THERE OUGHT TO BE A UNION!

  3. Let's be honest. A glut of lawyers out there, because law schools have overproduced them. Law schools dont care, and big law loves it. So the firms can afford to underpay them. Typical capitalist situation. Wages have grown slowly for entry level lawyers the past 25 years it seems. Just like the rest of our economy. Might as well become a welder. Oh and the big money is mostly reserved for those who can log huge hours and will cut corners to get things handled. More capitalist joy. So the answer coming from the experts is to "capitalize" more competition from nonlawyers, and robots. ie "expert systems." One even hears talk of "offshoring" some legal work. thus undercutting the workers even more. And they wonder why people have been pulling for Bernie and Trump. Hello fools, it's not just the "working class" it's the overly educated suffering too.

  4. And with a whimpering hissy fit the charade came to an end ... http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2016/07/27/all-charges-dropped-against-all-remaining-officers-in-freddie-gray-case/ WHISTLEBLOWERS are needed more than ever in a time such as this ... when politics trump justice and emotions trump reason. Blue Lives Matter.

  5. "pedigree"? I never knew that in order to become a successful or, for that matter, a talented attorney, one needs to have come from good stock. What should raise eyebrows even more than the starting associates' pay at this firm (and ones like it) is the belief systems they subscribe to re who is and isn't "fit" to practice law with them. Incredible the arrogance that exists throughout the practice of law in this country, especially at firms like this one.

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