Support Staff

Karen A. Sheriff, Senior Paralegal

Karen Sheriff has worked with Attorney Cognetti for over twenty years. She has over three decades of experience as a family law litigation paralegal. She is responsible for the management of all aspects of the family law process including the drafting of pleadings and motions; managing discovery issues; deposition preparation; document productions; and trial preparation and support. At Cognetti Law Group, we use a team approach when handling client’s cases, and Ms. Sheriff is an integral part of this team. From client and caseload management to legal research and writing, Ms. Sheriff is an invaluable asset to the firm and has garnered the respect of both clients, judges, and opposing counsel.

Ms. Sheriff is a PACE Registered Paralegal and a Pennsylvania Certified Paralegal. She received her paralegal degree in 1988 from Central Penn College and subsequently returned and completed her Bachelor of Science Degree in legal studies graduating cum laude. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Central Pennsylvania Paralegal Association, of which she was President from 2018 to 2020. She is also a delegate to both the National Federation of Paralegal Associations and the Keystone Alliance of Paralegal Associations, and serves on several committees. In 2019, Ms. Sheriff, along with six paralegals from across the Commonwealth, founded Family Law Paralegals of Pennsylvania (FLPP). FLPP’s goal is to provide family law paralegals throughout the state with better access to information and resources relating to family law matters. Through the collective skills of its members, FLPP provides a reliable resource for paralegals practicing family law. Ms. Sheriff is proud to serve on FLPP’s inaugural Board of Directors.

Ms. Sheriff was born and raised in Pennsylvania. She has been married to her husband, Ken, for almost 30 years, and enjoys traveling and camping with her family.

Erica C. Smith-Simmons, Paralegal

Erica C. Smith-Simmons is a Paralegal working for the Cognetti Law Group. Ms. Smith-Simmons has gained experience in the legal field through prior positions she held as a legal clerk typist for Allegheny County’s Public Defender’s Office, a legal assistant for a private law firm in Harrisburg, and a Judicial Assistant for a Dauphin County Family Court Judge.

Ms. Smith-Simmons received her Bachelor of Art degree in History from the University of Pittsburgh in 2008. She received her post-degree Paralegal certificate from Duquesne University School of Law, Paralegal Institute in 2021.

Ms. Smith-Simmons was born in Pittsburgh, and currently resides in York County with her husband and their four young children. In her spare time, you will find her on the sidelines, courtside, poolside, or seated in an auditorium, cheering on her children, as they compete in various sports and participate in various musical clubs.

Lynn Bookamer, Office Administrator

Lynn Bookamer is the office administrator. In addition to supporting the litigation team of Maria P. Cognetti and paralegal, Karen Sheriff, she is also integral in the day to day operations of the firm. She brings more than 24 years of experience in family law to the firm.

Ms. Bookamer has extensive knowledge of the litigation process and discovery. She plays a vital role in interacting with court personnel, attorneys and staff from other firms.

Ms. Bookamer was born and raised in Pennsylvania and resides in Cumberland County with her husband.

Karen A. Sheriff, Senior Paralegal

Karen Sheriff has worked with Attorney Cognetti for over twenty years. She has over three decades of experience as a family law litigation paralegal. She is responsible for the management of all aspects of the family law process including the drafting of pleadings and motions; managing discovery issues; deposition preparation; document productions; and trial preparation and support. At Cognetti Law Group, we use a team approach when handling client’s cases, and Ms. Sheriff is an integral part of this team. From client and caseload management to legal research and writing, Ms. Sheriff is an invaluable asset to the firm and has garnered the respect of both clients, judges, and opposing counsel.

Ms. Sheriff is a PACE Registered Paralegal and a Pennsylvania Certified Paralegal. She received her paralegal degree in 1988 from Central Penn College and subsequently returned and completed her Bachelor of Science Degree in legal studies graduating cum laude. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Central Pennsylvania Paralegal Association, of which she was President from 2018 to 2020. She is also a delegate to both the National Federation of Paralegal Associations and the Keystone Alliance of Paralegal Associations, and serves on several committees. In 2019, Ms. Sheriff, along with six paralegals from across the Commonwealth, founded Family Law Paralegals of Pennsylvania (FLPP). FLPP’s goal is to provide family law paralegals throughout the state with better access to information and resources relating to family law matters. Through the collective skills of its members, FLPP provides a reliable resource for paralegals practicing family law. Ms. Sheriff is proud to serve on FLPP’s inaugural Board of Directors.

Ms. Sheriff was born and raised in Pennsylvania. She has been married to her husband, Ken, for almost 30 years, and enjoys traveling and camping with her family.

Erica C. Smith-Simmons, Paralegal

Erica C. Smith-Simmons is a Paralegal working for the Cognetti Law Group. Ms. Smith-Simmons has gained experience in the legal field through prior positions she held as a legal clerk typist for Allegheny County’s Public Defender’s Office, a legal assistant for a private law firm in Harrisburg, and a Judicial Assistant for a Dauphin County Family Court Judge.

Ms. Smith-Simmons received her Bachelor of Art degree in History from the University of Pittsburgh in 2008. She received her post-degree Paralegal certificate from Duquesne University School of Law, Paralegal Institute in 2021.

Ms. Smith-Simmons was born in Pittsburgh, and currently resides in York County with her husband and their four young children. In her spare time, you will find her on the sidelines, courtside, poolside, or seated in an auditorium, cheering on her children, as they compete in various sports and participate in various musical clubs.

Lynn Bookamer, Office Administrator

Lynn Bookamer is the office administrator. In addition to supporting the litigation team of Maria P. Cognetti and paralegal, Karen Sheriff, she is also integral in the day to day operations of the firm. She brings more than 24 years of experience in family law to the firm.

Ms. Bookamer has extensive knowledge of the litigation process and discovery. She plays a vital role in interacting with court personnel, attorneys and staff from other firms.

Ms. Bookamer was born and raised in Pennsylvania and resides in Cumberland County with her husband.

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