How Two Women’s Heartbreaking Stories Changed This Divorced Mom’s Life
Andrea Chase graduated cum laude from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 2002. Shortly after marriage and becoming a mother to her twin children in 2005, she graduated with a Master of Science in Educational Counseling from National University in 2007, and a Juris Doctor degree from Concord Law School. She was also the honorable recipient of the Kaplan Legal Service Award, Sue Lane Award, and Duane Hurt Award from Concord Law School in January 2016.
Today, she is a dedicated volunteer with Legal Aid of East Tennessee and is passionate about community service and helping those in need. Andrea completed 46 hours of mediation training at Professional Dispute Resolution Services in Chattanooga, and she will be using her education and experience in psychology, child development, counseling, and the law for those that may not be able to afford traditional legal and family support services as the co-founder and co-executive director of Solomon Family Solutions.
As a domestic violence survivor facing divorce and raising twins as a single mom, Andrea Chase certainly had no shortage of her own challenges. But an unexpected encounter with two different women in even tougher circumstances touched her heart and set her on a new path forward.
"In my process of going through all the court cases involving my divorce and the domestic violence, I met two women at two separate times one morning who shared their stories with me. The stories were heartbreaking.
They had been through way more than I ever could imagine. And neither one had an attorney that day. Neither could afford one. And the one lady actually went into court and she came out crying. She was asking the court to change her identity so she would be able—be better able to protect herself and her child. I don’t know what happened in that courtroom, but it made me feel like she probably needed an attorney to be able to explain to the judge what her situation actually was. And that day, I decided to go to law school.”
Connecting Beyond the Classroom
Andrea was a standout student, receiving two notable awards during her graduation. The first was the Sue Lane Award; created in memory of Sue Lane, the first registrar of Concord Law School, and awarded to the graduate who best embodies Sue's character, dedication, and pursuit of excellence. Andrea was also recognized for her notable service with the Student Bar Association.
Andrea recalls her participation in community and student organizations as a highlight of her Concord journey. “If you want camaraderie and you want community, it’s there. It really enhanced my educational experience . . . not just to be alone at my computer, but actually, you know, making friends virtually and having meetings and study groups.”
Fulfilling Her Promise
Andrea says she feels “blessed” to be doing exactly what she envisioned that morning after hearing those heartbreaking stories. “I recently started a nonprofit organization with a friend of mine. And currently, we’re providing income-based family mediation services as well as income-based supervised visitation services for families in crisis and have domestic violence in their life. I’ve been spending a lot of time volunteering with Legal Aid as well. Their mission is very similar to mine in helping people that don’t have money get the legal help that they need.”
Her Advice for New Concord Students
“Concord is extremely supportive of their students. I urge people to reach out to the Student Bar Association and the other student organizations and make friends. This is a long, hard journey, but it’s well worth it, and it’s great to share with other people.”