Rachael J. Leah
WHAT THE PRACTICE OF LAW MEANS TO ME
What motivates and guides me in the client-centered practice of law is my curiosity, compassion, and critical thinking. I thrive in situations where I systematically identify, research, and strive to solve client issues. By keeping the human element in the practice of law, I am mindful of where you - the client - are, and am always aware that what I do impacts your life. My job as a lawyer is not merely academic; it is to assist clients to achieve their individual goals and have a positive impact on their lives.
FOR BUSINESS CLIENTS
When I am assisting entrepreneurs in establishing a business venture, I make sure that I am apprised of their situation and their unique vision. Having started my own business, I understand some of the trials and triumphs that occur between the conception and realization of a business. I advise business clients on the law and use my knowledge and skills to help their dream become a reality.
FOR HOME BUYERS AND SELLERS
Likewise, I see my residential real estate clients who are buying or selling a home as more than “buyers” and “sellers.” No two residential real estate transactions are the same, and I mold my practice of real estate law to fit the clients. Because my clients will likely be working when the bank or title company is working, I do my best to have flexible office hours, particularly when closings are approaching, or new developments arise during the real estate transaction process.
FOR CIVIL AND CRIMINAL APPEALS
In pursuing and securing justice for those appealing a trial court judgment. I firmly believe that all stages of a case, whether in a trial or in the appeal process, are crucial moments. My approach to appellate practice is to systematically research the law and the record to zealously advocate for my client, whether they won or lost at trial, and regardless of whether they are the plaintiff or the defendant.
HOW THE VIRTUAL PRACTICE MODEL EMPOWERS
Because of my virtual practice model, my clients are afforded greater flexibility in communicating and meeting with me. Clients can make online payments using either Clio or my website via Law Pay's secure online system. Using the Clio application, my clients can send documents and messages to me through a secure message portal. Likewise, I can send documents and messages to my clients faster, making it easier for them to know what they need to know when they need to know it.
MY EDUCATIONAL AND PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND
In 2014, I received my Bachelor's in Science in Communicative Disorders (minor in cognitive neuroscience) from Northern Illinois University, graduating magna cum laude. After graduating, I worked as a legal assistant at Slingerland & Clark, PC, with the intention of going to graduate school to earn a Master's in Speech-Language Pathology. While working at Slingerland & Clark, PC, I fell in love with the practice of law and decided to go to law school the following year.
I earned my Juris Doctor, cum laude, in 2019 and was awarded the Brian & Tamra McGough Prize for Highest GPA in Corporate Law Sequence of Courses. During law school, I fell in love with business and corporate law, choosing to write my directed research paper (supervised by Professor Carliss Chattman) on the business judgment rule. Specifically, I argued that Delaware statutory and case law supported applying the business judgment rule to corporate officers, as well as directors.
While in law school, I worked as a graduate research assistant at the Center for Child Welfare and Education at Northern Illinois University. In this role, I researched and analyzed data concerning the welfare and disparate treatment of children in the child welfare system. My job was to analyze the data, prepare presentations and reports for the Permanency Enhancement Project, and identify the strengths and weaknesses in the system. In particular, I focused on the disparate and disproportional outcomes between children of color and their Caucasian peers in the child welfare system. To this aim, I thoroughly researched the social and legislative history of the child welfare system and critically analyzed current practices to discover trends that might lead to more fair and equitable outcomes for children in care.