Student Spotlight: Abigail Ledman, Life After Innocence

While I entered law school knowing that this was where I was meant to be, it was my future ventures into the legal world that had me worried. I began my classes with fingers crossed that something would peak my interest. Not surprisingly, civil procedure and property did not leave me a die-hard fan. At the end of my first year, I knew I needed to find my niche somewhere, and thankfully, I did just that.

I stumbled upon Life After Innocence while researching the different legal clinics and projects present here at Loyola. Business Law Clinic? No, thanks. I will pass. Child Law Clinic? Definitely not my passion. Then I came to Life After Innocence. The title, itself, does not give too much away, so I kept reading. I learned that the program was—and still is—relatively young. It is designed to help individuals with the post-exoneration process. Many clinics in the Innocence Network (a title given to the group of projects throughout the nation designed to advocate for innocent people) deal exclusively with the process of releasing from prison those who have been falsely convicted. Life After Innocence ponders the question: Then what? What happens to these individuals after they have been exonerated? That is where we come in. Life After Innocence is all about assisting exonerees with the social, psychological, mental, and legal effects that set in after a person has been released from prison.

When I finished reading every line of the webpage, I knew I had to join. I can honestly say it has been the best decision of my law school career. The students with whom I have been afforded the opportunity to work; the professors who have taught me everything I know about exoneration and its effects; and the clients who have left me with impressions I will never forget are absolutely invaluable. As part of Life After Innocence, I have personally helped draft and edit legislation for the state of Illinois. I have assisted our clients in finding jobs and homes and getting back up on their feet. I have heard and been a part of stories that have forever changed my outlook on life. I have been a part of something greater than myself, and this is truly an experience that has shaped my entire legal career.

Learn more about Life After Innocence and how you can help.

Abigail Ledman

Abigail Ledman Photo

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