Central Penn College Legal Studies student wins rare reversal in unemployment case

Angely Rodriguez-Arroyo did something nearly unheard of in legal studies circles. She persuaded the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review to reverse a decision that denied her client unemployment benefits.

Rodriguez-Arroyo was given the case as a part of her duties as an intern at Legal Aid in Lancaster during 2019. She would go on to graduate in May of that year.

“This kind of reversal is extremely rare,” said Professor Robert Donley. “Once a referee makes a decision denying an unemployment claim, those benefits stay denied. Kudos to Angely for her hard work, determination and legal know-how.”

Originally from Puerto Rico, Rodriguez-Arroyo grew up in Lancaster. She talked about the case via email at the time…

Legal Studies at Central Penn College

As you were working on the case, did you think you had a good chance of a reversal?

After reading the facts of the case, unemployment compensation rules, and recent case law, I felt that I had a chance to achieve a reversal of the referee decision. In addition, my internship supervisor is an exceptional attorney who was able to educate me thoroughly about unemployment law.

Without revealing any personal details, can you talk about how you built the case?

Once I was provided with the case file, my supervising attorney gave me a little bit of background information to help familiarize me on the facts of the case. I started by reading the unemployment record and reviewing the attorney notes. Prior to receiving the unemployment compensation (UC) hearing transcript, I created an outline with all the notes and evidence I was able to obtain from the file and client.

Once I received the UC transcript, I was able to gather more information about the case and get a better understanding of what occurred at the hearing. While reviewing the transcript, I was able to quote certain statements and cite facts that would be beneficial for the client case and build my argument that shows that the client was indeed eligible for UC benefits.

In my brief, I had to prove to the board that the referee’s decision was legally and factually incorrect and that the decision should be reversed deeming the client eligible for benefits.

I conducted legal research by locating similar cases to the case I was handling. I then applied the facts of the case to the law where it showed that the client was able and available for suitable work. In my brief, I presented the facts, the law, applied current case law that to this case and provided my conclusion.

What has been the reaction of your client?

The client was beyond pleased and grateful. It made my whole internship.

What other types of cases have you assisted with?

Other areas of law that I have been involved with include:

  • Expungement
  • Custody
  • Protection from abuse
  • Bankruptcy/consumer matters
  • Welfare

How has your Central Penn education prepared you for the work you’re doing?

Where do I begin? My journey at Central Penn has been amazing… everything from the professors and the students to the curriculum. All of my legal studies professors have gone above and beyond to embed certain techniques and tools that I can utilize in the legal studies field in order to be successful. They were very detailed, thorough with their instructions, and prompt when I needed help.

Throughout the last four years, I have gained so much knowledge and even though I have so much to learn, I am truly grateful for my Central Penn experience. I want to thank my professors Randy Brandes, John DeLeo, Bob Donley, Jon Koltash and Randi Teplitz for everything they have taught me. I am forever grateful.

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