My Personal Background Story

pic 3I am the daughter of German immigrants who came to this country in 1959.  My father joined the United States Army and served in Vietnam (two tours) and Korea (one tour).  He served this country for 33 years of active duty in many roles, including as a helicopter pilot, flight instructor pilot, and commander of Department of Defense operations.  He rose to the rank of full Colonel, and is now retired and lives, together with my mother, in Fairfax, Virginia.  After raising me, my mother went back to school, earned a degree in accounting, became a CPA, and worked as a contract audit manager for the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. for many years before she retired.

Over the course of my father’s 33 years in the service, my parents and I lived in many different parts of the country and world.  I was born in Newport News, Virginia; lived in Omaha, Nebraska; Worms, Germany; Fort Leavenworth, Kansas (Kindergarten); Fort Lee, Virginia (First Grade); Northern Virginia (Grades 2-6, while my father worked in the Pentagon); Bad Vilbel, Germany (Grades 7-9, while my father was stationed in Frankfurt, Germany); and Fort Totten (Queens), New York (Grades 10-12). I graduated from Bayside High School in Queens in 1987; I was valedictorian of a class of 655 students, captain of the varsity swim team, and active in various music groups (having studied classical piano for many years).

IMG_20160528_171938I attended Harvard College from 1987 through 1991, earning a bachelor’s degree with honors in English and American Literature and Language.  While at Harvard, I wrote for The Harvard Crimson, played varsity water polo, and was a teacher’s aide through the Harvard Program for International Education.  For two summers during college, I worked at the Westdeutsche Landesbank in Duesseldorf, Germany, where my grandmother lived at the time.  (I am fluent in German, which was my first language.)  After graduation, I remained in Cambridge and worked for two years for the Harvard University Development Office, doing fundraising with the Major Gifts group.

Temple ImageIn the summer of 1993, I moved to Philadelphia to begin law school at Temple.  While there, I was the Managing Editor of the Temple Law Review and was a member of the Moot Court Honor Society.  I interned for the Honorable Harvey Battle III, a former Insurance Commissioner for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, after my first year of law school.  I graduated with honors in 1996.  After graduation, I served a one-year judicial clerkship with the Honorable Stanley S. Brotman in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey in Camden.  I travelled with the judge to St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, to preside over cases in the District of the Virgin Islands, where he sat by designation throughout his career.

DM logo imageIn the fall of 1997, I joined Duane Morris LLP as an associate.  Effective January 2005, I was invited to join the Duane Morris partnership. Details of my professional experience at Duane Morris are at  In a nutshell, I have been a commercial litigator for more than 20 years.  My practice has been extremely diverse over this time period, and has included a wide variety of commercial litigation, bankruptcy litigation, IP litigation, employment litigation, software licensing and systems failure litigation, product liability litigation, consumer fraud and securities litigation.  I have represented corporate entities, bankruptcy trustees, officers and directors, and individual clients; I have represented clients as plaintiffs and as defendants; I have litigated matters in courts and arbitration forums throughout the country.  

AAA logoPerhaps because of my extensive and diverse practice over many years, my practice expanded significantly in 2010, when I was selected to serve on the American Arbitration Association’s Roster of Neutrals for commercial cases.  As an arbitrator for the past eight and a half years, I routinely preside over pre-trial and evidentiary trial hearings, resolve discovery disputes, issue rulings and awards, and resolve disputes between parties.

FullSizeRenderIn March 2000, I married Gregory Ott, and in August 2000, we moved to Delaware County.  We have lived here, at 117 Wilton Woods Lane, Media, PA, for nearly 17 years.  Greg is from Pittsburgh, PA, and earned his undergraduate degree in chemistry from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and his PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania.  He has worked for the past decade in West Chester, Pennsylvania, first for Cephalon and now for Teva Pharmaceuticals, in the fields of oncology and neuroscience drug discovery.

image3In September 2003, our daughter, Madeleine, was born; and in November 2006, our daughter, Cassidy, joined us.  Both girls are musicians–Madeleine plays flute and piano, and Cassidy plays the cello–and are active, year-round swimmers.  Since the summer of 2011, our family has been a member of the Knowlton Swim Club atKNO logo Linvilla Orchards in Middletown Township.  As Knowlton Swim Team members, the girls have been proud representatives of the Delco Swim League each summer.  Since the fall of 2011, we have also been members of the Suburban Seahawks Club (SSC) in Newtown Square.  SSC logoThe girls swim year-round for SSC, where I served on the Executive Board for several years.  My husband and I spend much time volunteering at swim meets in various capacities throughout the year.  We are also swimmers ourselves, and are members of the United States Masters Swimming organization.  USMS logo IAfter college and during law school, I also ran a variety of road races and completed the Philadelphia Marathon in 1995.

Paid for and authorized by the Committee to Elect Kelly Eckel