Nicole Whitaker is an attorney with a particular interest in immigration law which, she says, did not develop until she began teaching English as a Second Language when she was in law school. There, most of her students were immigrants who often shared incredible stories of being deceived by attorneys here in the U.S., something which shaped her future law practice.
Whitaker has a B.A in Sociology with a minor in Spanish Language, Business, and Cultures from the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland and a J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law.
What inspired you initially to go to law school and then to start your current law practice, Whitaker Legal?
“I knew I wanted to be a lawyer after watching Judging Amy and Law & Order on television.”
“Then, every semester I taught English in law school, students would tell me about serious legal situations they faced here in the U.S. I opened my law office because I saw a need for competent and compassionate legal representation for the immigrant community.”
How does your educational background relate to your current role?
“Every step I’ve taken has taught me something I’m using now as a lawyer and adjunct professor. All along the way, I had choices to make i.e. I decided to go to the University of Maryland where I received scholarships and in-state tuition; and that led me to my next move which was to go to Spain to teach for a year.”
“Each successive step, including coming back to Maryland to go to law school and being able to make important local connections in the legal community, figured into my being able to eventually open my own practice. Looking back, everything seems to have happened for a reason.”
How has your education helped to further your career and contribute to your success?
“I took advantage of internships and work opportunities in law school. I served as a judicial intern at the Baltimore Immigration Court; I both observed court hearings and drafted judge’s opinions. Then, I practiced as a Rule 16 Attorney with the Harford County State’s Attorney’s Office.”
“I also worked as a law clerk at a private firm where I got the practical experience I needed.”
What is some advice you can offer others looking to go into the practice of law?
“There are many areas of law. Shadow lawyers in different practice areas to find your interests. Law school is prohibitively expensive. Be smart about your finances. Work on your writing and analytical skills. 90 percent of the practice of law involves research and writing. Practicing law can be stressful. Decide whether you have the temperament to cope.”
Susan Brown originally spent many years in banking/finance before confronting her addictions. She has now been in recovery for 20 years.
Primary interests include metaphysics and energy healing in which she has several certifications. She has written for Examiner.com since 2009 and also writes for Om Times. Sue lives in Baltimore.