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BY Abu Mubarik, 10:00am December 05, 2022,

Cleveland: This is how a homegrown lawyer became ‘The People’s Esquire’ amid Covid

Arleesha Wilson. Image via attorneyawilson.com

According to the American Bar Association, women of color only hold 3 percent of law firm leadership positions. Arleesha Wilson was aware of this challenge while rising up the educational ladder to become a lawyer.

She earned both a law degree and a master’s in urban planning from Cleveland State University in 2017. The following year, she became a lawyer after passing her bar exams and was licensed to practice in the state of Ohio.

“I began my career studying Criminal Justice at Bowling Green State University. Shortly thereafter, I was a Probation Officer for five years. During this time, I supported many through the process of probation and found my passion for advocacy. As a Probation Officer, my philosophy was simply to inspire people to do better in life, rather than violate them, which often came with jail time,” she says on her website.

According to her, she was inspired to go to law school after discovering her passion for advocacy. In law school, she participated on the Trial Advocacy Team. This experience taught her how to present a case and advocate for a client in court. 

“I continue to draw on that experience as a real-life attorney. Cleveland Marshall College of Law taught me how to read and interpret the law, a skill that I offer clients in hopes of helping them fight through the complex legal system. Although I can’t promise to win every case, I can promise to fight for my clients,” she notes.

The mother of two owns her own law firm and calls herself “The People’s Esquire” because she serves clients who fall into what she calls the “Justice Gap.” According to her, they are typically people who will not qualify for Legal Aid but do not have the means to hire an expensive attorney, reports wkyc.com.

No sooner had she become a lawyer than she started to field calls from people in need of legal assistance all while working full-time in the non-profit sector. She subsequently moved to work fulltime at her law firm as demand for her service increased. This was in January 2020, just at the onset of COVID-19. 

Although the Cleveland native was riding on the rising demands for her service, she was soon faced with the harsh reality of being a business owner amid COVID-19. “I probably lost about seven thousand dollars in revenue for the month of March, and I was like ‘what did I just do,’” Wilson shares.

The 37-year-old survived by depending on her savings during low months and grew her business during the pandemic housing crisis due to her real estate background. Since launching her law firm, Wilson says she has managed almost 500 legal matters.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: December 5, 2022


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