Two experienced San Diego attorneys are joining the staff of Thomas Jefferson School of Law in key positions involving the school’s law clinic and new solo practice programs. Dean Rudy Hasl has announced that Lilys D. McCoy is the new Director of the school’s new Solo Practice Concentration and Lawyer Incubator Program and that Rebecca Nieman is the school’s new Law Clinic Attorney.
“Lilys McCoy is an experienced practitioner with 20 years of experience in a variety of practice settings as well as an active leader within the bar and professional associations,” according to Dean Hasl. “She brings the necessary leadership skills to this new position. I am excited by the experience and potential that she brings to this new initiative within the School of Law.”
“I also am pleased that Rebecca Nieman accepted the position,” said Dean Hasl. “She will be working directly with the students involved in our clinical programs and working with Professors Steve Berenson, Luz Herrera, and Jeff Slattery, who direct the School’s Veterans Legal Assistance Clinic, Small Business Law Center and Arts & Entertainment Project, respectively.”
Nieman most recently has served as Assistant Director of Legal Services at UC San Diego. She also has worked with the San Diego Volunteer Lawyers Program as a managing attorney and with the Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Inc., as a program manager, supervising attorney and staff attorney.
“I believe my years as a public interest attorney supervising legal clinics and law student volunteers, as well as over a decade of experience in practicing law in various legal specialties, make this position a perfect fit for both me and the school,” said Nieman.
“Legal clinical work is a key component in strengthening a student’s legal skills, as it provides real world experience that puts into practice the legal foundations learned in the classroom. I look forward to continuing the school’s priority of providing a first rate educational experience for the law students, while at the same time providing the practical tools needed to be an outstanding attorney.”
Lilys McCoy, a partner with McCoy, Turnage & Robertson LLP since 2003, has been a civil litigator in San Diego since 1994, trying both jury and bench trials as well as representing clients in judicial arbitrations, contractual arbitrations and mediation hearings. For more than a decade she has dedicated her practice to representing plaintiffs in consumer protection cases. She practiced several years as a solo attorney, which will prove invaluable to her new position as director of TJSL’s new solo practice programs.
The Solo Practice Concentration set to launch this fall will teach the ethical, business and entrepreneurial aspects of opening a law office. The solo practice track will be a full year sequence of mini-courses in which students will learn core lawyering skills, such as how to draft a fee agreement, and critical business skills like how to attract clients. The fall semester will focus on general skills necessary for all solo practitioners, from client interviewing to building a website to obtaining malpractice insurance. The spring semester will then focus on discrete areas that solo practitioners often pursue, including criminal law, bankruptcy, employment and family law.
The Lawyer Incubator Program, also debuting this fall, will benefit TJSL’s recent graduates who want to be solo practitioners and who eventually will have completed the Solo Practice Concentration. TJSL will provide a law office environment and training as well as mentoring from experienced alumni for these new graduates who, in return, will gain confidence and a client base through pro bono and low-cost work for underserved members of the community. The goal is that after a year in the incubator, the program participants should have both the business acumen to run a successful practice and a sense of social responsibility that will encourage them to continue to serve their community.
“The Incubator Program is a fantastic opportunity for the School of Law and the greater San Diego community,” said McCoy. “It is an honor to have been chosen and I look forward to working closely with the faculty, students, and alumni of Thomas Jefferson.”
In addition to her responsibilities in the Incubator Program, McCoy also will be involved with the school’s very active and successful mock trial program.