Jennifer Mercer ’15 and Phillip Chalker ’14 are back at the law school, where they have launched practices offering low-cost legal services to clients as part of a new incubator program.
“The incubator offers a great opportunity for recent graduates of Maryland’s law schools to gain client experience, start a practice and provide affordable legal services to the people of our state,” said Dean Donald Tobin of Maryland Carey Law.
As part of the Law Entrepreneurs for Access Program—or LEAP, as the incubator is known—Mercer and Chalker receive office space, equipment, phone and Internet service from Maryland Carey Law as well as malpractice insurance and bar membership from the Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA). They also have free access to Lexis Advance, which donates its services to beginning attorneys in incubator programs across the country.
LEAP is a joint project of Maryland Carey Law, the University of Baltimore (UB) Law School, Civil Justice, Inc. and MSBA. It is co-funded by the Maryland Bar Foundation.
“I learned so much during my year at the Social Security Administration right after graduation, ” says Chalker. “Now, I want to focus my practice on Social Security disability as well as workers’ compensation, consumer law and environmental justice.”
While in law school, Mercer interned at the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service, FreeState Legal Project and House of Ruth. “I plan to focus on general family law, estate planning and the legal needs of the LGBTQ community,” she says.
Kiyanoush Razaghi and Maya Zegarra, who recently graduated from UB Law, are launching practices in offices there through the LEAP incubator.
Civil Justice, a Maryland nonprofit organization, will provide training and mentoring for the new lawyers, who will each be solo practitioners. The program director, Lynette Whitfield, a solo practitioner in Rockville, MD, will be overseeing the project for Civil Justice. She will conduct weekly case reviews and provide coaching on substantive law, ethical practice management and client development.
All the new lawyers are committed to increasing access to justice in areas of legal need and will spend a significant percentage of their billable time on pro bono and reduced-fee legal work.
Chalker and Mercer work in Room 248 at Maryland Carey Law, 500 W. Baltimore St., Baltimore, MD 21210. To contact them:
Phillip Chalker, Phillip@attorneychalker.com 410-706-2946
Jennifer Mercer, email@example.com, 410-706-2946