April 15, 2012
Rosanna Roizin (’08) had only to look at her own life to find inspiration for starting a small law practice. Her father and brother own businesses; her mother founded and runs a nonprofit ballet school.
“Coming from an entrepreneurial family, that inclination was there,” Roizin said, to launch a startup. Another strong influence: the Russian-speaking community where her family is and where she still resides: Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.
“I live there; I grew up there and speak Russian,” she said. “I wanted to become a lawyer to work with people of need, to help solve their problems.”
Roizin joined the Incubator for Justice because it provided the nuts and bolts on starting up and running a practice, offering workshops on topics such as managing finances, marketing, and accounting.
“Just being able to talk about all of these startup issues is huge, because you don’t learn that in law school,” said Roizin.
The incubator also gave her funding to do community counseling work with seniors at the Shorefront Jewish Community Center in her own neighborhood.
“There’s such a variety of issues to keep you on your toes and broaden your knowledge and skills,” she said. On topics outside her expertise, Roizin can always talk to colleagues at the incubator or the Community Legal Resource Network‘s Lisa Reiner, or post a query on CLRN’s e-mail subscriber list.
In November 2011, Roizin and Fordham Law graduate Elena Volkova started Roizin & Volkova Law Group, focusing on small businesses and nonprofits.
The firm’s edge, Roizin believes, comes from both partners’ close knowledge of the inner workings of nonprofits. Roizin has been helping her mother’s ballet school since she was 18 years old, writing grant proposals and, since law school, taking care of legal matters. She also did fundraising and development for a New York–based nonprofit to benefit an orphanage in Ukraine.
Roizin’s time at the incubator wraps up this summer, and she will need a new office, likely in Manhattan. The work she does now, however, will continue, as will her flexible schedule. That way, she can stay true to her family roots and her strong connection to the communities where she works.
That dovetails with her CUNY Law family, its mission, and the clinics that drew her to the school. The incubator just gave her a push to the next level.
“To me, starting my own practice came a little sooner [than I expected]. Having the chance to join the incubator is the reason,” said Roizin.
– Paul Lin