Hofstra Law Class of 2015 graduates Nicholas A. Pagano and Eric J. Richardson have joined the Access to Justice Incubator as the Certilman Balin Fellow and the Forchelli Curto Fellow, respectively.
Pagano and Richardson are the seventh and eighth hires for the Incubator and join Class of 2014 fellows Kellianne C. Jones and Kiran H. Raghubeer. The four fellows work under the leadership of Hofstra Law alumna Lisa M. Petrocelli, Esq. ’94, executive director and managing attorney.
About the Fellows
Why did you want to join the Incubator?
Nicholas A. Pagano: I was interested in the Incubator as soon as I heard about it. I had spent my second and third years of law school doing public interest work, and I wanted to continue down that path. Also, the Incubator is allowing me to get practical training and experience while I bridge the gap between law school and a full-time legal career.
Eric J. Richardson: I wanted to join the Incubator because it seemed like a great opportunity to practice public interest law while also allowing me to develop as an attorney. I felt that the learning environment of the fellowship would provide an opportunity to re-enter the workforce a much more polished attorney after the experience was over.
What are you most excited to learn?
Pagano: In law school and externships you get a little taste of what it is like to practice law, but always under complete and total supervision. In law practice, especially in today’s job market, law firms are less patient and less willing to train incoming recruits. Because of that I want to take advantage of this opportunity to be practice-ready next year in a way that I would not have been had I gone straight to a full-time position as an attorney.
Richardson: I’m most excited to expand upon the practical skills that will help me become a more effective lawyer. This includes the day-to-day activities of drafting court documents and interacting with clients to the more involved duties of questioning witnesses on the stand or speaking to judges. Overall, I hope to build a reservoir of experience here that will serve me well throughout my career.
What is your legal passion?
Pagano: I like doing fulfilling work. Our justice system works, but the system is inaccessible to too many people who need it. I had spent my last few semesters helping those who have been discriminated against and also rent-regulated tenants, and now I have a chance to help people with cognitive deficits or mental illness. It gives you a great feeling to know you have taken a case that otherwise may not have been resolved fairly because the client could not afford legal services.
Richardson: My legal passion is centered on youth advocacy-based representation. I had the honor of interning at both The Legal Aid Society’s Juvenile Rights Practice and the Hofstra Law Youth Advocacy Clinic during my time as a student. While it is an area of law I knew little about before attending law school, my time spent practicing it was the highlight of my academic experience.
Were you always interested in public service? Was there something you did in law school that spurred or affirmed your interest?
Pagano: When I worked for Professor Krieger’s Law Reform Advocacy Clinic my mind was opened to public interest work. The clients we helped that semester had been patiently waiting for justice for nearly a decade. Seeing the joy on their faces after each of our successes and knowing it would not have happened without free legal services showed me what it could be like to do this.
Richardson: I came to Hofstra Law with the desire to pursue a career centered on public interest law. From my first summer interning at the Mental Hygiene Legal Service to my last semester working full time at Nassau/Suffolk Law Services, each experience along the way solidified my desire to work in public service.
Learn more about the fellows and the Access to Justice Incubator online at justice.hofstra.edu.