In honor of National Women’s History Month, we are honoring some of the many talented women who work for the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office through a series of interviews entitled: “The Women of CCPO”

Today, we recognize Deputy Section Chief Lauren Pratter.

What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

Lauren: Women’s History Month is a wonderful opportunity to recognize the women who have paved the way for all of us and helped further that progress for future generations of women.  The increase in the number of women in the legal profession is encouraging, but we still have a long way to go.  Women’s History Month is a reminder to set a good example for young women while continuing to push for more opportunities.

What woman did you admire growing up and why?

Lauren: I had no doubts about entering the law field, in particular, criminal prosecutions because I grew up surrounded by strong women in my family and life. My ice skating coach, Denise, was a significant force in my life from a very young age.  I was four years old when I started taking ice skating lessons.  Although I didn’t realize it then, most of the coaches at that time were exclusively men.  Denise was certainly a model for me as she was a woman excelling at a job usually held by men.  She taught me to put in the work necessary to succeed in competitions and performances through the years.  During the long hours of training, she always told me to get back up when I fell and keep going until I got it right.  I believe those lessons as a child translated to other aspects in my life, such as school, work, and life in general.

Describe your role at the CCPO:

Lauren: I am currently the Deputy Section Chief of the Homicide Unit.  The Homicide Unit investigates and prosecutes criminal cases involving criminal homicide including Murder, Aggravated Manslaughter, Reckless Manslaughter, and Vehicular Homicide.  The Assistant Prosecutors in the Homicide Unit handle court hearings, from the arraignment to Grand Jury presentation through pre-trial hearings to trial, if necessary. The attorneys work closely with detectives during the course of the investigations.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Lauren: The most rewarding part of my job is seeking justice for families who are dealing with immeasurable loss and grief.  Families and loved ones are forced into the judicial process at the same time they are grieving the loss of a loved one.  Helping families by providing them with information and guidance through this process and seeking justice for them and their lost loved one is an incredibly difficult and rewarding aspect of my job.

What is your message to young girls interested in pursuing a career path like yours (or to young women in general)?

Lauren: My message to young women in general is that there is no substitute for hard work.  Although this is Women’s History Month, my father instilled in me the value of hard work and never letting anyone treat you differently.  He never had lesser expectations for me because I am a girl.  There are always obstacles in your way no matter what you are trying to accomplish.  It is crucial to learn how to navigate those obstacles and put in the work to accomplish your goal, whatever it may be.