#WCIW: Nicole Fegan
Relentless Fighter for Human Rights. Utterly Confident. The Lebron James of the Legal World.
Despite women being over 50% of law school graduates, they make up only 35% off all practicing lawyers in the United States. What's more, only about 20% of those who do practice will ever find themselves in a partner position, where the best money can be made. Even rarer-still are female lawyers who decide to open their own practice. And yet, that's exactly what defense attorney Nicole Fegan decided to do.
Fegan has become a bit of an Instagram celebrity in recent years. Known for her over-the-top, no-holds-barred posts, unwavering confidence, and foul-mouthed sense of humor, Fegan is an anomaly when it comes to lawyers.
While most called to the Bar shy away from social media and lead very private lives for fear of causing controversy and damaging their careers, Fegan openly embraces controversy, color, and personality. While some may find her posts insensitive or in poor taste, she's determined to give not even an inch.
She knows that her Instagram helps establish her with clients, making her more approachable and real. Ultimately that unconventional attitude continues into the courtroom. Fegan begins every case with her client as her co-counsel, since she works on her own (and a few interns), her cases rely heavily on client involvement. In a recent interview with Medium, Fegan said, “There is nobody better to know their case than themselves. And there is nobody better to beat a criminal case than a criminal.”
Fegan decided to become a lawyer after facing drug charges herself in college. She fought the case and won, and from that moment knew that she had to help others do the same. She was accepted to John Marshall Law School where she eventually graduated Magna Cum Laude. During her interview for admission to the Bar, she was questioned about her drug charges. When asked why she felt that she was searched for drugs by the police, Fegan bluntly responded, “Because I had a black man with me.”
An advocate for social justice, Fegan often takes cases that many would see as lost causes. She only takes cases in which the defendant is willing to go to trial: no settling or plea deals for this defense attorney!
She has made it her mission to defend her clients, many of them young, black men, with a level of commitment and passion that often becomes personal. And she loves to win. Many women in the law profession unfortunately suffer from “Imposter Syndrome” and question themselves. Fegan applauds her victories publicly and exudes confidence at every turn. She is proud of the work she does and of the difference that she makes in the lives of her clients and their families. One of her favorite slogans is that she is “the youngest lawyer to beat a murder charge” — she was 25 years old at the time and working on her own.
She also recently launched an app called “Got Proof?” which is free for Georgia residents and helps educate people about their rights and how to behave when they have an encounter with the police. The app makes no profit for Fegan, but she feels that it is absolutely necessary in order to protect people and level the playing field.
Fegan’s longtime mentor, the Hon. Parag Shah said of Fegan:
"For a client to trust you, they have to know you and be able to connect with you. Social media has allowed an avenue for clients to develop that trust with their lawyers. Fegan’s Instagram gives her clients a glimpse at how hardworking, passionate, and charming she is. She has an innate ability, to bring life to the words in a report or indictment and get to the humanity of criminal cases. She is the Lebron James of the legal world."
For her mastery of criminal defense, her utter confidence, and her relentless fight for the rights of both her clients and everyday people, Nicole Fegan is this week’s #WCIW.