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Nicola grew up and attended school in South Georgia. After graduating from college with a degree in theater, she decided to enroll at the University of Georgia School of Law.
While attending law school, Nicola worked as a summer associate at a large law firm and also at two public defender offices. After graduating second in her class, Nicola clerked for two federal judges: Chief Judge Clay D. Land in the Middle District of Georgia and Judge R. Lanier Anderson, III on the Eleventh Circuit. While working with the judges, she realized she wanted more daily contact with people. This took her to a position as an assistant district attorney prosecuting felony cases at the Cobb County DA’s Office.
“Coming from an acting background,” she explains, “I am fascinated by people and their stories. Learning about and helping people is one of the most satisfying parts of practicing law. I hope that clients describe me as not only a competent lawyer but a caring person, someone who can hold their hand through a good cry if needed.”
Nicola was drawn to family law because it promises an opportunity to make a real difference in the life of an individual who is going through a difficult time. SM&P gave her that opportunity. “I wanted to work with experienced attorneys who are some of the best in their field. That is exactly what I found at Stearns. The staff is exceptionally compassionate and committed to clients and each other. I love the group dynamic in the office and the way that every person is valued for their unique contribution.”
Founding and managing partner Mary Montgomery was impressed with Nicola’s unique skillset. “Her theater background combined with her genuine interest in people makes for a great attorney, both in court where presentation counts and in an intimate setting with distraught clients.”
Nicola stays active. When not at work, she volunteers as an alumni mentor for UGA law school students. She also enjoys outside activities, especially walking and hiking in her DeKalb County community, and travel, particularly visiting friends and family who live in different parts of the country. She’s close to her siblings. Her sister is a ballet dancer in the Midwest, and the family frequently gathers there, “even in the winter,” to watch her perform.
Georgia Supreme Court, 2019
Georgia Court of Appeals, 2019
State of Georgia, 2016
Athens, Georgia, 2015
Juris Doctorate, Summa Cum Laude
New York City, New York, 2009
Bachelor of Arts