Civil Justice, Inc., the University of Baltimore School Of Law, and the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law have collaborated to create the Law Entrepreneurs for Access Program (“LEAP”), a new incubator for recent law school graduates who are interested in starting their own practice. The LEAP program is funded in part via a generous grant from the Maryland Bar Foundation. While the American Bar Association has registered over fifty different legal incubator programs, the LEAP program is the only legal incubator in Maryland, and is currently the only incubator in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
Access to Justice
The LEAP program aims to expand legal services to low and moderate income people by having the participant attorneys provide affordable legal assistance in areas of unmet legal need. At the same time, the LEAP program assists the participants in developing legal skills and practice models through which they can sustainably provide affordable services to low and moderate income clients, or can be transferred to other legal practice settings. In addition to providing affordable legal services, LEAP participants will also fulfill a pro bono requirement as a part of their participation in the LEAP program.
Solo Practice Incubator
The program supports the LEAP participants as they start their own solo law practices, and enables them to continue as solo practitioners or obtain experience and clients so they can transition into small firm practice. LEAP participants develop their own solo practices while also receiving training, advice and mentoring on both substantive legal issues as well as law practice management and marketing as they get started. LEAP participants have been given office space, access to Lexis Advance online legal research, access to Clio, a web-based practice management software program, access to the Practicing Law Institute’s online CLE webcasts and materials, and were given a one-year membership in the Maryland State Bar Association.
The LEAP Program Director, Lynette Whitfield, is a successful solo practitioner in Rockville, Maryland. Her practice consists primarily of plaintiff-side federal sector labor and employment law, Maryland unemployment and wage & hour cases, federal sector workers compensation, and domestic litigation. Lynette has a strong commitment to social justice issues and has donated a large percentage of her time to serving underrepresented communities, through the Montgomery County Bar Foundation's Pro Bono Program and the Women's Law Center of Maryland's Employment Law Hotline.
Prior to becoming an attorney, Adina Katz was a social worker and holds an MSW from the University of Maryland, where she later received her law degree. Ms. Katz has experience working with the Baltimore City Courthouse Alternative Dispute Resolution Center, as a judicial clerk at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and has assisted individuals with a criminal conviction seeking to overturn their conviction due to jury instruction errors. Ms. Katz’s practice focuses on family law and estate planning. More information regarding Ms. Katz’s practice can be found on her website, www.adinakatzlaw.com.
Kathleen DeNobile has a passion for criminal defense and in addition to her law degree, Ms. DeNobile has a BA in Criminal Justice and Criminology from the University of Maryland, College Park. Ms. DeNobile has experience as a law clerk for the Office of the Public Defender and has also had extensive exposure to family law and civil matters from her time as a judicial intern in the Anne Arundel County Circuit court. Ms. DeNobile’s practice focuses on criminal defense and family law matters. More information regarding Ms. DeNobile's practice can be found on her website, www.denobilelaw.com.
Calvin Fisher is an advocate for Maryland's immigrant community, especially those in his home county of Frederick. After volunteering as an English teacher at Centro Hispano de Frederick, Mr. Fisher went to the University of Maryland School of Law to better serve the immigrants of Western Maryland. While in law school, Mr. Fisher spent one year as a Student Attorney with the Immigration Clinic. Mr. Fisher’s Frederick-based practice focuses on solving the variety of legal issues facing the immigrant community, including immigration, employment, landlord-tenant, and traffic and DUI matters. More information regarding Mr. Fisher's practice can be found on his website, www.calvingfisher.com
Scott Chambers is a native Marylander who returned home after graduating college to attend the University of Baltimore School of Law. During law school, Mr. Chambers spent two years competing on moot court teams culminating in a second-place nationwide finish in the Frederick Douglas Moot Court Competition. Mr. Chambers gained a semester’s experience working for his school’s Civil Advocacy Clinic, serving low income clients in a variety of matters including housing benefits, MTA benefits, and consumer protection. Additionally, Mr. Chambers has interned for the Baltimore County Circuit Court, and worked for one year at an Annapolis based law firm, dealing primarily with business and environmental law. Mr. Chambers’ practice focuses primarily on business law and consumer protection. More information regarding Mr. Chamber’s practice can be found on his website, www.strousechambers.com.
Alan Lee Johnson
Alan Johnson, a lifetime resident of Maryland, graduated summa cum laude from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 2015. Since then, Mr. Johnson has represented individuals in matters pertaining to criminal defense and general civil litigation, helping ordinary people receive the justice they deserve. Mr. Johnson’s practice continues to focus on helping everyday people with common problems, including family law, landlord-tenant disputes, consumer protection, and criminal defense. More information regarding Mr. Johnson’s practice can be found on his website, www.alanleejohnsonlaw.com.
David Z. Lomke
David Lomke is a native of Maryland who earned his J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law, where he graduated with honors. Before transferring to the University of Baltimore School of Law, Mr. Lomke attended Albany Law School, where he served as Associate Editor of Albany Law Review. During law school, Mr. Lomke participated in the Bronfein Family Law Clinic, where he represented low-income clients in a variety of issues. Mr. Lomke’s practice focuses on the areas of family law and estate planning where he offers clients personalized representation at an affordable price. More information regarding Mr. Lomke’s practice can be found on his website, https://dzlegal.wordpress.com/.