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Law incubator welcomes inaugural class

Loyola press release - January 22, 2015

The Loyola University New Orleans College of Law has announced its inaugural group of participants for the Loyola Incubator Program, an intensive, yearlong mentorship and skills program for recent graduates in their first three years of solo practice. With 25 percent of participants’ time devoted to pro bono legal work, the Incubator Program addresses the unmet legal needs of poor or moderate-income individuals in the Greater New Orleans area. The first year of the two-year pilot program began this month and runs through December 2015.

The following alumni have been selected:

  • Lori Noto Alphonso, J.D. ’12 focuses on family law matters, such as divorce, child custody and child support. Her pro bono practice focuses on helping domestic violence victims.

  • Jonah Freedman, J.D. ’14 focuses on family law, estate planning, and property law. Prior to attending law school, he served his clients' financial needs as a Certified Financial Planner for more than 10 years. He was a student practitioner in the family law section of the law clinic.

  • Anna Lellelid, J.D. ’13 focuses on criminal appeals, post conviction, and civil rights cases. Through the Education Justice Center, Lellelid will provide holistic, wrap-around education advocacy, represent students in school disciplinary and special education proceedings, and work to end the school-to-prison pipeline in Louisiana. She was a student practitioner in the criminal section of the law clinic.

  • Nadia G. Madary, J.D. ’13 focuses her practice on family law, successions, and elder law. Madary worked as a student practitioner in the family law section of the Loyola law clinic.

  • Peter D. Russell, J.D. ’14 worked as a student practitioner in the criminal law section of the law clinic and focuses his practice on criminal law, family law, and personal injury.

Incubator Program participants receive free office space in the Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice to independently operate their own law firms.

"This program will offer me luxuries rarely enjoyed by a starting solo practitioner; the ability to focus primarily in my areas of legal interest and the fortune of providing a substantial community service from the very start," said Freedman.

The Incubator program also includes a pro bono lawyering requirement - that at least of a quarter of participants’ time be spent, free of charge, on cases for low income people. Participants receive a modest stipend to support the year of pro bono work.

“The demand from graduates is great; an increasing number of law graduates are interested in combining social justice and solo practice especially in the context of challenging employment rates. The Incubator Program will go a long way toward teaching law graduates while providing a critical service in the local community for low- and middle-income people who cannot otherwise afford attorneys and access to justice,” said Davida Finger, associate clinical professor in the law clinic and the Incubator Program’s inaugural director.

In partnership with the Office of Skills and Experiential Learning, the Incubator Program will provide regular skills courses for participants to support development of the solo practice/social justice path including instruction in law practice management, ethics, and professionalism. Other program features include pro bono case referrals, mentorship, and access to a variety of resources including research and case management tools.

For more information, contact Davida Finger at dfinger@loyno.edu or 504-861-5596 or visit the Incubator Program’s website.