Albany Law School will delay opening until 11am due to the weather.
Noelle Lagueux-Alvarez ’05 is using all of her skills these days as an entrepreneur, combining what she calls a "micropractice" in law with a varied business mix as she raises her two children in suburban Atlanta, Ga. With summer here, her focus is on growing CourtCamp, a week-long mock trial program designed for youth aged 13-18. The goal, she says, is to provide a fun, yet challenging environment for them to develop four important skills: critical thinking, logical reasoning, public speaking, and professional polish.
Lagueux-Alvarez has always been a high-energy person. "I'm a doer," she says. After working in the private sector for six years for such companies as Goldman Sachs and Swissair, she came to the Capital Region as a newlywed when her husband accepted a position at GE. She decided to go to law school and Albany Law was the only place she applied. "I loved my years at the law school, it was a great experience," she said. As a non-traditional student, Lagueux-Alvarez gravitated toward other "OWLS"—Older, Wiser Law Students. She served on Law Review as Executive Editor for Symposia, organized not one, but two, symposia and graduated magna cum laude. She keeps in touch with law school friends and reconnected with many at her 10th reunion in 2015.
After graduation, she followed her spouse to Atlanta, where she worked as a litigator at Paul Hastings, a large international law firm. After that, she served as program director and staff attorney for the Fulton County Business Court, and then for the U.S. Department of Labor, representing a sub-agency in litigation. As her family grew, Lagueux-Alvarez decided to step away from the time and deadline pressures of full-time legal work and became deeply involved in her Atlanta-area community and schools. Now raising her two elementary school boys, her midlife has bloomed in a burst of entrepreneurship.
Two years ago, she had what she calls a "light bulb moment." Driving through her community, she saw yard signs for camps—LEGO camp, robotics camp, all kinds of children's camps. Her mind honed in on an opportunity. "There are lots of kids around here. I wish I could do a camp … what would I do … I did mock trial in high school … and the light bulb blazed: a 'court camp.'"
An idea was born. She did her due diligence and searched for a model of such a camp. There were only a smattering around the country, and none local. The logistics would take a lot of effort, she thought. She needed a logo, a flyer, a web site. She called GoDaddy and said, "I need a website". Done. She needed a location, and found a local church with a reasonable rental rate. "I have three employees—me, myself, and I. We work very well together!"
Now starting its second year, CourtCamp provides a fun yet challenging environment for teens interested in law, public policy, and leadership,
Lagueux-Alvarez says. Students examine basic legal concepts, legal terminology, the American court system, and more while focusing on a fictional case. CourtCampers then prepare for a mock trial held for family and friends on the last day of the week. She oversees every detail of CourtCamp and does have assistance during the camp from other legal professionals and law students.
This year, Lagueux-Alvarez is expanding the camp to two other sites, one on Long Island, and one in the Capital Region at Siena College, July 10-14. How did that happen? Her Albany Law School mentor, Deborah Kelly '87, teaches there. They have stayed in touch, and Kelly put Lagueux-Alvarez in contact with the administrator of Siena's academic summer camp, where she sold the idea. For more information about CourtCamp or to enroll, visit