Ann Begler Dedicated to Helping Others through Law
Regent Square lawyer and principal of Begler Group works in mediation
In conflicts between family members and business partners, Ann Begler works to restore human connection.
"I help people really become more fully engaged with each other even when there is a conflict happening," Begler said. "You can't solve a conflict when you are disengaged."
Begler, a Regent Square resident, is owner of the Begler Group, a firm in which she mediates conflicts before they make it to court.
A lawyer who got her start in an effort to help make positive change, Begler works with family business members, couples experiencing divorces and other partners in all aspects of life to come to better agreements and understandings of difficult situations.
"It's fulfilling for me because I feel like I really help people make change and make shifts," Begler said. "I can't prevent them from feeling loss but I think I help them experience the loss in a way that is a lot more constructive."
Begler grew up in DuBois where her family owned and operated Town and Country, a women's clothing store. In 1967 she moved to the city to attend the University of Pittsburgh and later attended law school at Duquesne University in 1971.
"When I went to law school, I went because I was a member of the generation that thought going to law school would help us change the world," Begler said.
And in her work with the law, Begler did play a key role in a major aspect of how rape cases are handled at the Supreme Court level and later in legislation.
"At that time, there was no protection for the communication between counselors at rape crisis centers to protect them from being subpoenaed," Begler said.
Begler handled a criminal case in which a defense lawyer gave a subpoena to Pittsburgh Action Against Rape to produce records or testify on what a victim had said. Begler handled the case pro-bono.
"Eventually, the legislature passed a statute and then there were challenges to it and we fought it," she said. "I did more than a decade of work for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and all the appellate work on confidentiality. So when people ask me if I miss it, that is the stuff I really miss – that real advocacy work."
The case is landmark litigation on the issue of confidentiality between rape crisis centers in the country, Begler said.
In addition to her work at Begler Group, where she also helps to resolve civil rights and employment discrimination issues, Begler also is a mediator with the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.
"This year, we have a 75 percent resolution rate and the national average is a third," she said.
Begler's dedication to the law and helping others began from an experience in high school. Just before she graduated, a teacher who had tried to unionize the faculty was fired. Begler testified at the trial.
"It all happened when I was a senior and that kind of inspired me to think about the law," Begler said. "So then I go to college and get involved in social movements when people's legal rights were affected and I thought well -- this is really a way to help change the world."