It is fairly clear that one of Montage Legal’s primary goals is to provide attorneys with opportunities for more flexible work schedules. But that is only part of the picture. Montage Legal is also inspired by attorneys who are balancing their lives and careers by creating their own models – whether in a firm, a solo practice, or completely outside the box. Since starting Montage Legal Group, we’ve met some incredible attorneys and firms with inspiring stories of their own.
We are initiating a new series on our blog – the “Legal Success Series” – which is dedicated to profiling these truly admirable individuals. We launch the series with the following interview with superstar attorney, Rahsaana Allen.
Earlier this year, while I was enjoying a leisurely walk in a beautiful San Diego botanic garden with my two adorable sons, I received a pivotal phone call. It was Erin Giglia, co-founder of Montage Legal Group, presenting me with my first freelance opportunity as a Montage attorney. Erin had been contacted by Rahsaana Allen, the founder and managing attorney of Nella Law Group, an up-and-coming business law firm based out of Los Angeles, about a debt financing transaction with which Rahsaana needed immediate assistance. I dived in. Before I could blink an eye, that matter turned into a series of matters, and has led to rewarding working relationship.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Rahsaana about her practice and the unique challenges she faces as an entrepreneur, attorney, mother and wife – to name just a few of the many roles she plays on a day-to-day basis.
Sara Mostafa-Ray: Rahsaana, please provide us with a little background about yourself and Nella Law Group.
Rahsaana Allen: We are a comprehensive business law firm providing cost-effective legal solutions that equal or surpass the quality of work you would expect from a top national law firm. I am the founder and managing attorney. I have been practicing law for more than 13 years, and my experience includes commercial contracts, corporate governance, corporate transactions, real estate, entertainment and other transactional matters.
Sara Mostafa-Ray: What inspired you to open your own firm?
Rahsaana Allen: After the [most recent] recession, I decided I wanted to control my own destiny and take my career in my own hands. Riding the ebb and flow of my employer’s successes and struggles did not appeal to me anymore. I looked around at my peers who had also gone out on their own, realized that the only thing holding me back was myself, and just did it!
Sara Mostafa-Ray: What has been your greatest challenge with owning and operating your firm?
Rahsaana Allen: The greatest challenge has been wearing all the different “hats” that you wear as a business owner. At various times, I am the business manager, the rainmaker, the managing attorney, the bookkeeper, the administrative assistant and marketing professional, all rolled into one! I would love to continue to grow my firm so that I can have more personnel support to take on some of this additional responsibility. It will come in due time.
Sara Mostafa-Ray: What has been your greatest reward?
Rahsaana Allen: The greatest reward has been being my own boss. I enjoy the freedom and flexibility that I now have to control whom I bring on as a client, which client matters I take, how many billable hours I submit, what hours of the day I work and where I choose to do my work. I’ve never had that sort of flexibility being an employee for someone else.
Sara Mostafa-Ray: Like me, you have a preschooler and a toddler. How do you balance your career with being the mother of two young children?
Rahsaana Allen: That’s very tricky. You become an ultimate multi-tasker. It is not uncommon for me to take a phone call for a client, then book an appointment for one of my kids, go back to drafting a contract, and then rush off to relieve the nanny. I try to always make it home in time for dinner, bath and bedtime, and then if more work needs to be done, I’ll resume the work after the kids are asleep. It’s extremely challenging, but also extremely rewarding.
Sara Mostafa-Ray: With such a jam-packed schedule, what do you do to unwind?
Rahsaana Allen: I like to watch mindless television after a long day, or go out to a nice dinner (without the kids!).
Sara Mostafa-Ray: What inspired you to contact Montage Legal Group?
Rahsaana Allen: I was referred by my financial advisor. I mentioned to him that my practice was growing to the point that I needed immediate legal help, but was hesitant to hire several attorneys as employees so early in my firm’s growth. He suggested I contact Montage Legal.
Sara Mostafa-Ray: What advice do you have for an attorney who would like to start her own practice?
Rahsaana Allen: I would say to try to get that first client even before you go all in. That way, you can test the waters a bit, and if you go forward, it’s always easiest when you have a client or two on day one. I’d also add, “Good luck!”
Rahsaana Allen – Founder of Nella Law Group
Rahsaana Allen is the founder and managing attorney of Nella Law Group, a business law firm. Her practice includes, general business law matters, venture capital transactions, private placements, financing transactions, joint ventures & strategic alliances, celebrity licensing, legal department management, employment matters and commercial agreements.
Ms. Allen’s experience includes representing public and private companies in a broad array of industries including real estate, hospitality, shopping center, marketing & advertising, retail, apparel, consumer products, e-commerce, and healthcare.
Ms. Allen graduated from UCLA School of Law in 1999, where she was an editor of the UCLA Law Review. In 1992, Ms. Allen received her bachelor of science degree from San Diego State University, where she majored in Criminal Justice Administration with a minor in English.
Ms. Allen is a member of the Beverly Hills Bar Association, Corporate Counsel Women of Color, Black Women’s Lawyer’s Association and a former participant in the Fulfillment Fund Mentoring Program and Vice President of the Western Center on Law & Poverty, Advisory Board.
You can learn more about Nella Law Group and Rahsaana Allen at www.nellalaw.com.