Turning a Passion into a Career
Approximately two years ago, Associate Attorney Noah Lauricella joined GoldenbergLaw, PLLC, marking a new beginning on a path that had come full circle. Noah grew up in a small town in Illinois where his father was the local pastor. His family would welcome the homeless into their own home, the church parsonage, and provide them with food, shelter, and a listening ear. During the holidays, the family basement was filled with Salvation Army donations unable to fit in church storage space.
Early in his career, Noah was a social worker for homeless and disadvantaged populations struggling with addiction and attempting to transition from inpatient rehabilitation programs to a more stable lifestyle on their own. During this time, he began to notice flaws in how the legal system handled his clients despite their desire and willingness to leave their troubled past behind. This realization marked Noah’s shift from social work to law. While Noah never expected to be an attorney growing up, he had begun to see injustice as a multifaceted issue with multiple layers. He had witnessed his father seek justice at the grassroots level, sought justice himself through social work, and was now ready to seek justice from a legal perspective.
In order to seek that justice, Noah enrolled at the Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Virginia. During law school, a large part of Noah’s time was spent as a student caseworker and Advanced Clinic student in the school’s Black Lung Legal Clinic. The purpose of the Clinic is to help coal miners and their families affected by coal worker’s pneumoconiosis, commonly referred to as black lung disease, in obtaining federal benefits through the Black Lung Benefits Act (BLBA). Black lung disease has no cure and can be fatal. “Today it is estimated that 1,500 former coal miners each year die an agonizing death in often isolated rural communities, away from the spotlight of publicity,” reports the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA).
“It’s difficult to fully grasp the seriousness of the issue [Black Lung Disease] until you’re surrounded by it,” Noah told me when reflecting on his experience visiting coal miners and their families in need to the BLBA benefits. “Once I understood the horrible nature of the disease, the vast resources available to the mining companies, and the chronic underrepresentation of these hardworking people and their families, I knew how I wanted to spend my three years in Virginia.”
After law school, Noah began working as a defense attorney for a law firm located in Chicago, Illinois. “For me, living and working in downtown Chicago, having grown up in rural Illinois, meant that I could make it anywhere in the world,” he said about making the move to a big city. During his five years in Chicago, Noah found himself working on one pro bono project after another. Among other pro bono accomplishments, he volunteered at the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic representing women in need of emergency and plenary orders of protection, established and served as Clinical Supervisor of a pro bono legal clinic through Loyola University Chicago School of Law, and sat on the Board of Directors for Chicago Volunteer Legal Services. “Working in the Black Lung Clinic and seeing the substantial good we could do for people in need of our assistance inspired me to continue similar efforts in other arenas and helped me develop the tools necessary to do so successfully,” he explained when asked about the motivating force behind his dedication to pro bono work.
At GoldenbergLaw, PLLC, Noah has now found a way to turn his passion into a career. He is currently involved with the talcum powder litigation against Johnson & Johnson; Noah handles hundreds of such cases across the nation representing women who developed ovarian cancer and recently spoke at a national conference about proper screening of such cases. He also serves on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in MDL No. 2666, In re: Bair Hugger Forced Air Warming Products Liability Litigation, representing individuals who developed deep joint infections following use of 3M’s Bair Hugger warming blanket during orthopedic surgery. Although Noah has been exposed to injustice firsthand since he was a child, he hasn’t let it discourage him. Instead, he uses it as motivation to continue his work at GoldenbergLaw and show his genuine, tireless dedication to justice.