One Chicago woman shares her story of becoming a lawyer and helping Black entrepreneurs secure financial wealth for their families.
Rosezena Pierce, founder of the RJ Pierce Law Group, was born and raised on the westside of Chicago and knew she wanted to become a lawyer since she was a child.
“I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer since I was five,” Pierce said in an interview with Black Enterprise. “One reason being [because] my father actually worked as a law clerk for a lawyer when I was a little girl. Sometimes he would take me to the law office and I loved to sit at the lawyer’s desk and I [would say to myself] I do not know what they are doing, but this is what I wanna do.”
Pierce found inspiration in her father’s work and decided that she wanted to pursue a law career.
She graduated with an associate’s degree from Northwestern Business College and a bachelor’s degree from Roosevelt University. Pierce was determined to complete her academic career and was confident she wanted to attend John Marshall law school. However, things became quite difficult for her since she was already a full-time mother with two children and one on the way. As a result, Pierce was forced to attend school part-time.
“So, I got pregnant with [my daughter] in my last semester of law school. [When I went into labor] I had her by C- section and by next week I was [back] in class. I was bent over in class and everything, but I graduated three months later and began studying for the bar exam,” Pierce said.
While balancing a full-time job and caring for her children, Pierce became overwhelmed as she patiently waited for her bar exam results.
“When I found out that I passed the bar on the first try, I was like thank you, God, I really did this, I’m so happy but now I am conflicted,” Pierce recalled. “I really like being home when my kids come home from school, but I know that the job that I want at a big law firm in Chicago is going to require a lot of hours from me. Which would [in turn] take a lot of time away from my kids.”
At the time, Pierce was torn between working long hours at a law firm and being at home to raise her children. However, she postponed making any decisions until after completing the requirements to become a lawyer.
According to Chicago law, those who pass the bar exam must take a course to receive their law license.
“I pass the bar and Illinois makes you take a professional responsibility course, before getting sworn in to get your license. So, because the course was taught by a professor who actually teaches lawyers how to start their own law practice, I decided to tell him how conflicted I was,” Pierce said.
Pierce and her professor had in-depth conversations about her career goals when he encouraged her to establish her own law firm.
“He told me well, you should start your own firm and at first I was hesitant, [but then] he said, no you will go a long way serving the underserved. He [made me] think about who were people who could benefit from the type of law I wanted to practice and that’s when I knew it was small business owners for me,” Rosezena explained.
Now, Pierce specializes in trademark law, helping Black entrepreneurs become successful. She has worked with some of the most prominent figures in Hip Hop and reality television, including the founder of Money Monster Academy, Sierra Gates, and rapper-producer Twista.
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Pierce is utilizing her resources and brand to give back to the community by educating small business owners on maintaining ownership.
“Education is important, especially for our community. I always say an educated entrepreneur is a successful entrepreneur, but what is even more important is that we own the platforms that we are speaking from because that is where our profit comes from. As a creator, when you start to provide services and products with your name attached to it that is when it becomes a brand. That is when it is time to protect it,” said Pierce.