Volunteer Spotlight: Nicole Gaither

Photo by Adrienne Battistella 2019

Photo by Adrienne Battistella 2019

Nicole Gaither is a native-New Orleanian, who took to heart the Chris Rose quote: “She is a New Orleans girl and New Orleans girls never live anywhere else and even if they do, they always come back.” After spending 12 years searching for real culture and good food, she came back to her hometown to attend Loyola University New Orleans College of Law to study entertainment and sports law. After thinking that her calling was in other areas of the law, she knew that she wanted to help small business owners and creatives protect their hard work through federal trademark and copyright registration. Nicole is the owner of Creativa IP Law LLC, a New Orleans-based virtual law firm. She is obsessed with hip hop music and art. She will take a day at a museum over a day at the beach all day, every day.

Nicole recently talked with us about why she volunteers with The Ella Project, and the importance of pro bono:

Why do you feel it’s important to do pro bono work?

It’s necessary. There is an access to justice gap in this country and many people with legal needs fall through the cracks. The Constitution provides counsel for those accused of crimes if one cannot be afforded, but it does not provide a similar resource for civil legal needs, especially not for the types of issues artists and entertainers deal with from time to time. Before I started my firm, I worked on and off for about three years for Southeast Louisiana Legal Services as a Staff Attorney. I saw firsthand the desperate need for civil legal help. Since I have finally moved into my dream practice area, I wanted to continue providing those types of services.

Is there something about the culture of New Orleans that resonates with you?

What doesn’t? New Orleans is its own brand. I’m from here, but I moved away right after college. For 12 years, I searched for culture and soul similar to what I grew up with in New Orleans. There is no city in the world that offers the level of culture that New Orleans does – food, music, art, movies, the people….

How do you find the time to run your practice and also do pro bono work?

It is not always easy, but that’s what weekends are for, right? My Ella Project clients are treated the same as my paying clients. The same amount of time and work is given, unless I have an emergency (which is rare in trademark law). No one is put on the side or treated differently because they cannot pay for my legal services.

Thanks to Nicole and all our Ella Project volunteers. Inspired to help? Click here to volunteer.