Three graduates of Maryland Carey Law will be getting the advanced legal and business training they need to run successful solo practices as part of a year-long incubator program.
“The incubator offers a great opportunity for young lawyers to start a practice, get client experience, and provide affordable legal services to people in our state,” said Dean Donald Tobin.
Phillip Chalker ’14, who is concluding a year in the incubator, agrees. The Law Entrepreneurs for Access Program—or LEAP, as the incubator is called—helped Chalker get the client experience and exposure to several practice areas that he wanted.
“LEAP gave me some terrific client experience,” Chalker says. It also provided good work-life balance, although, as he notes, “Everything comes in waves in a new solo practice. You either have more work than you can handle or you’re focusing almost completely on business development. After a year, things are becoming smoother.”
Now in its second year, LEAP is a joint project of Maryland Carey Law and the University of Baltimore’s Law School; the Maryland State Bar Association; and Civil Justice, a Baltimore-based non-profit organization which will train and mentor the new solo practitioners.
Maryland Carey Law’s newest LEAP attorneys plan to develop practices that range from criminal and family law to immigration and estate planning. Kate DeNobile ’16 and Adina Katz ’15 will be based at the law school, while Calvin Fisher ’16 will run his immigration practice in Frederick.
Lynette Whitfield, an experienced solo practitioner in Rockville, MD, will oversee the project for Civil Justice, providing weekly case reviews as well as coaching on substantive law, ethics, practice management and client development.
The LEAP lawyers will also spend a significant percentage of their billable time on pro bono and reduced fee legal work. “The pro bono work is incredibly valuable,” says Chalker. “It makes you a more competent attorney.”
2017 LEAP Participants from Maryland Carey Law
Kate DeNobile ’16
Kathleen DeNobile’s practice focuses on criminal defense and family law. She has served as a law clerk in the Maryland Office of the Public Defender; as a judicial intern for the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court; and earned her undergraduate degree in criminal justice and criminology at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Calvin Fisher ’16
Located in his home town of Frederick, Calvin Fisher’s practice handles the full range of legal issues facing the immigrant community in central Maryland, including immigration, employment, and landlord-tenant disputes as well as traffic and DUI matters. Fisher served for a year as a student attorney in the law school’s Immigration Clinic; volunteered as an English teacher at Centro Hispano de Frederick; and graduated cum laude from Maryland Carey Law.
Adina Katz ’15
Adina Katz’s practice focuses on family law and estate planning. She has worked at the Baltimore City Courthouse Alternative Dispute Resolution Center, as a judicial clerk at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and holds a Master’s of Social Work degree from the University of Maryland School of Social Work, Baltimore.