When Lori Antkoviak (’00) began her college career at PCC, she knew what she was working toward—her pre-law degree, starting her journey toward becoming a litigation attorney or prosecutor.
Four years later, Lori’s next step took her to the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Michigan to earn a juris doctor. “The English and grammar classes along with the business law practice of writing legal briefs provided the basics of legal writing,” she said. “Because of the practice and variety of classes [at PCC], I felt better prepared than many other law school students that had only majored in political science or history.”
During her second year, Lori was on the school’s mock trial travel team, and in her final year she was a finalist in the Moot Court Competition. Subsequently, she was asked to join the school’s Moot Court team, but she turned it down, knowing she was ready to move on. After graduating Cum Laude in just 2 1/2 years, Lori took the bar exam. She scored over 150 on multi-state bar exams, something only a few are able to accomplish. “Since I had never done well on a standardized test before, I felt that this was the Lord showing me that this was clearly His direction for me.”
After having served as a law clerk on the 48th Circuit court, Lori practiced law in a firm along with her husband for three years, primarily in criminal defense, child abuse and neglect, and family and estate areas, before taking the position of Executive Director of Safe Harbor Children’s Advocacy Center for Allegan and Barry Counties in Michigan. “We work closely with the Prosecuting Attorney, Child Protective Services, and law enforcement,” she explained.
The Children’s Advocacy Centers (CAC) help children who have allegations of sexual or severe physical abuse. In Michigan’s April 2018 Child Abuse Prevention Proclamation, it’s estimated that 1,540 children die each year from child abuse and neglect. These centers give abused children a neutral, safe environment to share their story through a forensic interview which uses open-ended questions to help a child share the abuse they may have endured.
“Safe Harbor Children’s Advocacy Center is the only private agency providing a safe environment for children to share their stories and to begin their healing journey,” Lori said.
Since having been Executive Director of Safe Harbor for eleven years, the nonprofit agency has recovered from struggling financially and has operated more smoothly. Lori was instrumental in managing the centers, improving their fiscal health and increasing their financial reserves. The improvements also helped to grow their staff by 25 percent. Safe Harbor has even opened a satellite CAC program to serve the neighboring county.
Lori continues to serve at Safe Harbor Children’s Advocacy Center, “providing a lifeline to victims of child abuse and neglect” in Michigan.