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York Daily Record: Southern Gal, "super lawyer"

Attorney Sara A. Austin is a self-described "Southern gal" with a four-page resume and a love for York County.

The president of the York County Bar Association, Austin, 40, heads Austin Law Firm LLC, concentrating on labor and employment, bankruptcy and corporate law.

Originally from Richmond, Va., Austin was introduced to York County by a former boyfriend and moved to Pennsylvania in 1991.

"I like the area, I like the lifestyle, I like the people," she said. "It sounds quaint, but there are good people around here."

Along with leading the 400-plus members of the local bar this year, Austin is an adjunct professor teaching legal classes at Widener Law School in Harrisburg and York College. One of her published treatises carries the weighty title "New Value Exception: (Wanted) Dead or Alive - Viability of the 'New Value' Exception to the Absolute Priority Rule Under Bankruptcy Code 1129(b)(2)."

"We do a lot of corporate work," Austin said. "Advising clients whether or not to start a business, what are the necessary legal requirements, the legalities of what they want to do."

She was named a 2005 Super Lawyers' Rising Star, among the state's top 2.5 percent of up and coming under-40 lawyers.

While the public might, by and large, presuppose corporate and bankruptcy law is a stodgy enterprise, along with her law degree, Austin's office walls contain posters of Ansel Adams landscapes and Disney cartoon cels of Dumbo and Jungle Book.

"You spend a lot of time in the office...you need something to make it a little more cheerful," she said. Austin and her husband, Jeffrey Schlaline, who runs a radon mitigation company, live in Springettsbury Township with their dogs, Jed, and bloodhound, and Phantom, a Weimaraner.

"Sara has been very active in the (bar) association for a very long time," said Thomas L. Kearney III, past president of the bar association and current president of the bar foundation. "Her license plate says 'I LUVE LAW.' she spends a lot of her time advancing the interests of the association."

Austin was instrumental in revamping the bar's lawyer referral service into Attorney Connection, a service that connects people with legal problems with local attorneys whose experience meets their needs.

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