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Spotlight On Business: Patricia Dugan

A Riverward Resident/Attorney Serving Her Neighbors

Patricia Dugan (or “Tish” as her friends know her) is “Riverwards” through and through. Her grandparents immigrated directly from Ireland and Poland to the Port Richmond and Fishtown neighborhoods where they resided their entire lives.   Dugan was raised in both Fishtown and Port Richmond, and continues to serve the neighbors of the Riverwards who helped shape her into the person she is today. Patricia is very down-to-earth. She gardens, belongs to a book club, and crochets blankets for wounded soldiers in her spare time. A graduate of Little Flower High School, Dugan went on to Villanova University and Villanova School of Law. She now runs a law office on Allegheny Avenue on her home turf in Port Richmond.

“I have an office ‘downtown’, but no one ever wants to go there,” said Tish.

Patricia’s work centers to a great extent on her elderly Riverward neighbors. When asked how she came to concentrate on this type of work, Tish credited her mother, a woman with whom she has a very strong relationship. The love she has for her mother has created a soft spot in her heart for her elderly neighbors.  “We are extremely proud of our work with Philadelphia’s Senior citizens and will continue to work for their benefit,” said Patricia.

“I do anything they need, which usually includes wills, estates, Powers of Attorney, medical directives, and real estate deeds,” stated Patricia, “My 86 year-old Mother and I live in the same house/apartment setup. She lives on one floor and we meet in the kitchen. We didn’t think it would work, but it does and it’s great. We are there for each other and have a lot of fun at the same time.”

Although Patricia pays special attention to the neighbors outside her window, she is most definitely an accomplished and worldly professional. Following law school, Dugan completed additional studies in Business, Canon Law, Publishing and Theology. For her Canon Law degree, she lived and studied in Rome for two years at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas.

For those who do not know, Canon Law is a separate, multi-faceted system of law that governs the workings of the Catholic Church, encompassing everything from the criteria for starting a religious order to the requirements for teaching in a Catholic University. This end of Dugan’s work keeps her three-person office hopping all day long. To hear Patricia explain, “There are lots of phone calls and lots of appointments.  The Canon Law part of my work means different time-zones in the U.S. and outside the country. So when I get to work, there are usually a lot of messages from when others started their days while I was sleeping.”

Dugan’s worldly ways recently landed her in Scotland for the Annual Conference of the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland. The five-day conference covered the most current topics in Canon Law from an international standpoint, relating to all Catholics. Patricia spent the conference networking and exchanging ideas with Canon Law professionals from all over the globe. “Since it’s a universal church (Catholic means “universal”), it’s not like trying to discuss law with someone from another state or country, where the laws can be so different from your own place,” Patricia confirmed.

Patricia Dugan is also an accomplished author and publisher, with seven books under her belt. Four were published in Montreal and three were published by her own company, Canon Law Books, Inc. Some of the books are translations of conference papers and symposiums. Others focus on specific points of Canon Law. “The last one that we published on May 1st is “A Simple Dictionary of Canon Law,” which was written for everyone except Canon Lawyers,” Tish said, “It works for teachers and members of parish councils, priests, and pretty much anyone sitting in the pews. It is meant to give the people enough knowledge to have a say.”

Although her humble outlook would never allow her to admit it, someone with Patricia Dugan’s education and experience could easily spend her life concentrating on herself. If she wanted, she could easily use her law degree to chase ambulances or focus on her own financial prosperity. However, that is not her way. Patricia has a love for her roots and her neighbors that will always draw her back home. When asked about the appeal of the Riverwards, Dugan replied, “The way so many people know so many other people – it’s the whole six degrees of separation. But in Port Richmond and Fishtown, it’s more like three!”

Patricia also stated, “I work two blocks from my house, so I am one lucky girl. I like it here and feel comfortable here.  The people are the best to work with.  They know what they want and they are well read and sharp about life.  They love their families and want the best for everyone involved.”

Knowing that she is a consummate reader and book lover, I asked Patricia Dugan if she had any specific books to recommend to the Spirit readers. Always wanting her neighbors to be wise and advised, she answered simply, “The Dictionary.”

You can learn more about Tish Dugan and her work by visiting the following websites:  www.CanonLawBooks.com and www.PatriciaMDugan.com.  Patricia Dugan’s law office is located at 2662 East Allegheny Avenue and she can be reached t 215-634-2355.

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