PA Personal Injury & Criminal Defense Attorney Mark Powell: Following in His Father’s Footsteps
For as long as he can remember, Mark Powell always wanted to be a lawyer.
"Some kids want to be firemen, some kids want to be cowboys; I wanted to be a lawyer like my dad," he says.
The youngest of five children in his family, Mark spent a lot of time shadowing his father, the legendary Scranton trial lawyer Chris Powell Sr., visiting clients at their homes, going to court, meeting with criminal defendants at the Lackawanna County Prison.
"I used to follow him around wherever he went," says Mark. "I went to court with him, sat through his trials and listened to countless stories around the dinner table. The stories were always about some case he was working on. My dad didn’t have any hobbies. The law was his life."
A hard-nosed lawyer in the courtroom, Mark grows sentimental when he talks about his dad. Although they never got to practice together – Chris Powell Sr. died during Mark’s third year in law school – "there’s not a day goes by that I don’t recall his words of wisdom or some lesson he taught me. He’s here with me every day."
There’s also no doubt that his father would be proud of the lawyer Mark has become. Mark is the only attorney in Northeastern Pennsylvania to hold a dual certification as both a Civil Trial Specialist and Criminal Trial Specialist from the National Board of Trial Advocacy, and a Master of Laws in Trial Advocacy from Temple University Law School. He also holds a law degree from Catholic University Law School and bachelor’s degree from Villanova University.
Mark and his four siblings, Chris Jr., a partner in Powell Law, Patrice, Tom and Joe, were born and raised in a working-class neighborhood in Moosic. Mark went to Riverside High School where he was co-captain of the varsity basketball team and made the winning shot with six seconds left on the clock to beat Bishop O’Hara in the league championship game. The headline in The Scranton Times read, "Powell Vikings Hero." He was named Best Offensive Player of the Year and won a spot on the Lackawanna All-Star Team. In addition to his athletic achievements, Mark excelled academically and won first place in the interview portion of the statewide "Mr. Future Business Leader of America" contest.
After graduating from Riverside, Mark majored in communications at Villanova University where he met his future wife, Donna. He went on to law school at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., where his father and cousin Jim had both earned their law degrees.
"Law school was supposed to be hard but it’s what I wanted to do, so I loved every minute of it," Mark recalls.
During Mark’s third year in law school, his father passed away suddenly.
"Naturally, I was devastated. We all were," he recalls. "I was really looking forward to practicing with him, but it wasn’t meant to be."
Following law school, Mark came home and passed the bar exam, but took a month-long trip across the country with some buddies before settling into the practice of law at the family firm. Feeling the need to become a better trial lawyer after practicing five or six years, he returned to school at Temple and earned his Master of Laws degree.
"That was a fantastic program – a very practical program that was geared toward making me a better advocate in the courtroom," says Mark.
Through the years, he has successfully represented hundreds of seriously injured clients and their families, as well as defendants in all types of criminal cases.
"When people come to us, they’re often in a very difficult place – either seriously injured or in trouble with the law," Mark says. "It’s extremely gratifying to be able to help people during their time of need."
In addition to his busy practice, Mark also spends a great deal of time teaching lawyers, frequently lecturing at Temple and Georgetown Universities under the auspices of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy.
Mark and Donna married in 1991 and now have four children, Patrick James, Maura, Ryan Christopher and Maggie. They live in Moosic and enjoy playing sports, skiing, cycling, traveling and spending summer vacations at the Jersey Shore.
EDUCATION AND CREDENTIALS
- Villanova University, Bachelor’s Degree in Communications
- Catholic University Law School, Juris Doctorate
- Temple University Law School, Master of Laws in Trial Advocacy with Honors, 1998
- Board Certified as Civil Trial Specialist by National Board of Trial Advocacy, 2006
- Board Certified as a Civil Pretrial Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, 2012
- Board Certified as Criminal Trial Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, 2008
PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS AND RECOGNITION
- National Trial Lawyers Association Top 100 PA Lawyers 2011
- Pennsylvania Disciplinary Board, Senior Hearing Committee Member, 1996-2002; 2004-2010
- Pennsylvania Association for Justice (formerly the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association) – Member; Board of Governors, 2004-2008; 2009-Present
- Northeastern Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association - Member; President, 2002; Recipient, Lawrence W. Roth Award, 2005
- National Institute of Trial Advocacy, Faculty Designation, 2007
- Lackawanna Bar Association – Member; Co-Chair, Bench Bar Educational Conference, 1999-2006
- Licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and New York
- Depositions, Temple Law School, National Institute for Trial Advocacy, January 2013
- Advanced Trial Skills, Washington, D.C., NITA, October 2012
- Advanced Trial Skills, Washington, D.C., NITA, October 2011
- Depositions, Temple Law School, NITA, January 2011
- Advanced Trial Skills, Washington, D.C., NITA, October 2010
- Expert Witnesses, Committee for Justice for All, September 2010
- Trial Advocacy, Georgetown Law School, NITA, June 2010
- Depositions, Temple Law School, NITA, January 2010
- Advanced Trial Skills, Georgetown Law School, NITA, October 2009
- Auto Law, Pennsylvania Association for Justice, December 2008
- Advanced Trial Skills, Washington, D.C., NITA, October 2008
- Advanced Trial Skills, Georgetown Law School, NITA, October 2007
- Trial Advocacy, Georgetown Law School, NITA, June 2007
- Depositions, Temple Law School, NITA, January 2007
- Trial Advocacy, Georgetown Law School, NITA, June 2006
- Distribution Dilemmas, Course Planner, Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association, March 2006
- Depositions, Temple Law School, NITA, January 2006
- Advanced Trial Skills, Georgetown Law School, NITA, October 2005
- Depositions, Georgetown Law School, NITA, August 2005
- Trial Advocacy, Georgetown Law School, NITA, June 2005
- Depositions, Temple Law School, NITA, January 2005
- High-Tech Exhibits, Lackawanna Bar Association, October 2004
- Premises Liability, Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association, September 2004
- Depositions, Georgetown Law School, NITA, August 2004
- Depositions, Temple Law School, NITA, January 2004
- Premises Liability, Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association, September 2003
- Bad Faith, National Business Institute, May 2001
- Auto Negligence, Lackawanna Bar Association, October 2000
- PA Personal Injury
- Scranton Criminal Defense