Lil’ Lawyas

By Alberto Gilman
Posted 3/20/24

Family and friends on Saturday, March 9 at Life Restoration Church Inc at 136 First St, celebrated 19 graduates who completed the Lil Lawyas program in the City of Newburgh. The graduates received …

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Lil’ Lawyas


Family and friends on Saturday, March 9 at Life Restoration Church Inc at 136 First St, celebrated 19 graduates who completed the Lil Lawyas program in the City of Newburgh. The graduates received certificates and completed the ceremony with food and refreshments.

The Lil Lawyas program, hosted by Azariah McLymore, daughter of Councilman Robert McLymore, was a free program held over the course of several weekends where she offered education on the legal system, education on the steps needed to be an attorney and help with performing mock trials for additional education and practice.

Born and raised in the City of Newburgh and a graduate from Newburgh Free Academy, McLymore attended North Carolina Central University, a historically Black university, and achieved her Juris Doctorate in 2023. “I was in the performance-based admission program so I didn’t directly get an absolute acceptance into the program,” she said. “I actually had to go for two weeks to show that I could handle the rigor of law school.”

McLymore currently practices criminal law but would like to work and practice within youth and juvenile law as she progresses in her career. McLymore’s work included juvenile representation during school suspension hearings and while in North Carolina, she worked on the Death Penalty Project as well as the Innocence Project.

The Death Penalty Project is a non-governmental organization that provides free legal representation and assistance to individuals facing the death penalty and other vulnerable prisoners. The mission of the Innocence Project is to work to “free the innocent, prevent wrongful convictions, and create fair, compassionate, and equitable systems of justice for everyone.”

McLymore then went on to take her uniform bar exam in July of 2023. In October, she acquired her results and learned she’d passed the exam, which means she can apply to practice law in 41 states. She passed the New York State bar exam in December 2023. In January 2024, she applied for admission to the New York Bar.

The idea for the Lil Lawyas program, she said, came from inspiration from the book “The Garden Within,” which she read with her book club at Sadie’s Books & Beverages in Middletown. One of the themes the book focuses on, McLymore said, is what you as an individual want to leave behind in terms of a legacy. With that inspiration, McLymore went about creating the program, began registration in January and kicked off the program in February.

Each of the sessions, she explained, was about two hours long. Students spent each session discussing prepared material. “In the first session we went over the actual steps to becoming an attorney, the different types of attorneys. We’re not even exposed to all of the different types of attorneys there are,” she said.

Several types of lawyers they discussed were criminal lawyers, corporate lawyers, family lawyers, constitutional lawyers, labor lawyers, estate planning lawyers, immigration lawyers, and environmental lawyers, to name just a few. “For the second session, we actually went through being professional but remaining your authentic self,” she continued. “When it comes to being an attorney and dealing with the clients that you might be dealing with, it’s so much better to be able to be your authentic self.”

McLymore hopes to see her students from the program one day pursuing their dreams and graduating from law school like her. McLymore dedicates her program to the city and her community where she comes from.

“I love my community. I really want to see everybody be able to bloom and reach their full potential. That means so much to me,” she said. “Just because our program ends in a couple of weeks, that doesn’t mean that our connection has to stop. Now you [her students] have me as a mentor.”

At the graduation ceremony on Saturday, certificates of thanks and support were distributed with a few words about each student shared by McLymore. Gratitude and thanks were given along with certificates to McLymore’s parents, her grandmother and the sponsors of the program.

The graduates of the Lil Lawyas program were: Anecia Williams Finch, Ciara Carcamo, Sydney King, Esther Celestin, Waleed Mohamed, Marissa Dolfinger, Kwarojuok Omot, Andrea Hickman, Nimyah Richardson, Meena Quinn Braxton, Zoe McLymore, Robert McLymore Jr., Yasmeen Bashir, Micah Reynolds, Aileen Ramos Moya, Giselle Martinez, Melody Wildman, Yazzari Reynolds and Estefania Nava.