About Betsy Graca

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Betsy Graca Articles written 27

Articles written by Betsy Graca

Starting Over

Loyola University Chicago School of Law’s Life After Innocence, the only program of its kind, opened its doors in 2009 for exonerated prisoners struggling to get back on their feet

Antoine Day spent 10 years incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit. But when he got out of prison, things didn’t get much easier. That’s when Life After Innocence stepped in. Many organizations are dedicated to seeing that the wrongfully convicted are released from prison. However, after people like Day are exonerated, many have nowhere and no one to turn to. “There’s just no warning and you’re just starting completely over,” says Loyola law instructor Laura Caldwell. “So, in …

When Jerry Carleton talks …

Clients should listen, because he’s been in their shoes

Business attorney Jerry Carleton knows what his clients are going through—he’s a business owner himself. “I’ve got the healed stomach ulcers to prove that we had hard times launching our company and that sometimes I almost missed payroll,” says Carleton. Fresh out of college, he co-founded Keen Mobility, which creates equipment for people with disabilities. Years later, he  founded Immix Law Group, where he practices business law. Carleton’s college roommate Vail Horton, who was …

The Art of Advocacy

Montana’s Natasha Prinzing Jones brings compassion and tenacity to civil litigation defense

Natasha Prinzing Jones of Boone Karlberg credits her colleagues and mentors for the success of her legal career, which involved getting real trial experience right away. “I was given opportunities that new attorneys didn’t receive until they were five years into their practice,” she says, “and I was doing these things when I was a first-year associate. I was very lucky to have that type of mentoring.” She tried her very first case with partner Randy Cox, who allowed Jones, then a …

Lending a Hand

Florida attorneys pitch in to raise funds—and hope

Stephen Milbrath For the past two decades, Stephen Milbrath has stepped up to fight for the rights of children caught up in the court system when no one else would. “I just have a heart for kids,” says the intellectual property lawyer at Allen, Dyer, Doppelt, Milbrath & Gilchrist in Orlando. “I have five of my own, and I enjoy working with kids. These are pretty tough cases [in the sense that] nobody cares about them. And so, they really do need somebody to advocate for their …

Good Works

Three New Jersey attorneys take time out to serve the homeless and the injured

Steven Benvenisti As he travels around the country, personal injury attorney Steven Benvenisti with Davis, Saperstein & Salomon likes to tell about his “the most significant case of my entire career.” “I tell the audiences about a student who was in college who had everything going for him,” begins Benvenisti, who represents drunken-driving victims and others with brain and spine injuries. “He was on top of the world; he was at the top of his class; he was homecoming king and he …

Where Have You Gone, Thomas Edison?

Patent attorney Darin Gibby’s new book poses the question: Why Has America Stopped Inventing?

“We were all sitting around talking about the neatest inventions we’d seen as patent lawyers,” says Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton partner Darin Gibby, “and we all started noticing that in the last few years, we really hadn’t seen anything … groundbreaking.” Gibby couldn’t get the thought out of his head and decided to do a little research. After two years of digging, he found he had enough for a book. Published last winter by Morgan James Publishing, Why Has America Stopped …

In the Footsteps of His Father

Second-generation attorney Brent Rosser lets integrity and honesty guide his practice and pro bono work

It’s rare to find islands with beaches as unspoiled as Bear Island, parts of which haven’t changed since Blackbeard hid along its shores in the early 1700s. The island, part of Hammocks Beach State Park, remains one of North Carolina’s most treasured pieces of land, and is one that Brent Rosser, partner at Hunton & Williams in Charlotte, is trying to preserve for its recreational and educational value. “My favorite thing about practicing law is the opportunity to help others,” …

Good Work

William Gibbs, Linda Coberly and Richard Levin believe in giving back

William Gibbs  / Personal injury law, Corboy & Demetrio “Service, in whatever capacity it’s available, to me, is just kind of what you’re supposed to do,” says Chicago personal injury attorney William Gibbs. “It’s part of the responsibility of being in a position that you can give back a little bit. In other words, it’s not really a choice; it’s just kind of what I think has to happen.” For Gibbs, before there was law, there was teaching. The Corboy & Demetrio …

The Two-Way Street

Lawyers at Davis Polk & Wardwell activate the firm’s worldwide pro bono initiatives

“Pro bono work has been a very important part of this firm for a very, very long time,” says Sharon Katz, senior counsel for pro bono at Davis Polk & Wardwell. Established in 1849, the firm now has 10 worldwide offices with U.S.-based attorneys and legal staff taking on a huge number of matters on a pro bono basis each year.   In 2011, the firm focused on criminal justice matters—such as wrongful convictions, death penalty work, serving as counsel to the New York State Justice Task …

Situation NORML

Why Kirk Obear, a former chief of military justice, works pro bono for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws

“My mother was from the Woodstock generation,” says criminal defense attorney Kirk Obear, “and never really imagined that any of her children would end up in the military.” But he did. Obear started as a combat videographer in the U.S. Air Force in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm. After earning a psychology degree and a J.D., he became a JAG officer, then the Chief of Military Justice and an assistant U.S. attorney. He received a medal for valor under enemy fire in the …

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