Attorney Profile

Attorney Michael J. Harper Michael J. Harper, Esquire is committed to advocating for his clients and protecting their rights. He also advocates to improve education and recovery supports in our communities. Major accomplishments and activities include the following:

  • Montgomery County Committee for Mental Health and Criminal Justice (2015)
  • William & Mary Law School, Special Education Law & Advocacy Clinic (2015)
  • Delaware County Juvenile Justice Summit & Links to Special Education (2014)
  • Development of Drug Court, Mental Health Court, Veterans Court and Specialized Diversionary Programs (1999-2013)
  • Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Accreditation Advisory Committee convened to assess specialty courts throughout the Commonwealth (2011-2013)
  • Community, Hospital & Justice Project (2012): Regional workgroup convened by PA Office of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services to make recommendations to the Governor
  • Chairman of PACT Advisory Board, Horizon House (2006-2010)
  • Founding Board Member of PA Association of Drug Court Professionals, a statewide professional association (2002-2004)
  • The Council of Southeast PA, Inc., Assistant Director (2013-2014): Senior management for regional non-profit that is a national leader in prevention, early intervention, recovery support and advocacy
  • PRO-ACT (2013-2014): Strategic planning for nationally recognized recovery advocacy organization operating throughout Southeast Pennsylvania

Professional Legal Experience

  • Senior Attorney, Delaware County Public Defenders, 1992-2013 (criminal litigation)
  • Offices of Owens, D’Ambrosio & Nescio, West Chester PA   1993-2008 (civil litigation)
  • Federal Defense Panel for the Third Circuit, 2001-2004 (federal criminal litigation)
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Judicial Law Clerk 1991-1992

Professional Teaching Experience

  • Widener University, Adjunct Instructor (2002 – Present): Criminal Justice
  • Delaware County Community College, Adjunct Instructor (2002 – Present): Criminal Justice and Business Law
  • Accredited seminars for attorneys, law enforcement, probation and behavioral health professionals on cross-systems issues related to diversion, recovery and CIT Training (1998-2014)
  • Presenter at statewide conferences for judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, probation officers and treatment professionals (2002-2004)

Professional Associations and Activities

  • PRO-ACT (2013-Present): Recovery supports and advocacy organization
  • Delaware County Criminal Justice Advisory Board, Behavioral Health Sub-Committee (2007-2012)
  • National Association of Drug Court Professionals
  • PA Association of Drug Court Professionals
  • Delaware County Bar Association
  • NAMI, PA, Main Line


  • University of Delaware, B.S. in Economics (1987), magna cum laude
  • Villanova University School of Law, Juris Doctor (1990)
  • William and Mary School of Law, Special Education Law & Advocacy Clinic (2015)
  • Recovery Specialist Training, 52 credit hours (2013-2014)