Attorneys Jehan Crump-Gibson and Ayanna Alcendor have joined forces to create the powerhouse law firm Great Lakes Legal Group PLLC in metro Detroit. The minority Black women-owned law firm was launched at the beginning of 2018, and will offer one-stop-shop service to a range of clients…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Crump-Gibson comes with a plethora of experience, as she’s been recognized three times by the Michigan Super Lawyers Magazine as a rising star.
After earning dual bachelor’s degrees in political science and english from Michigan State University, Crump-Gibson then went on to earn her juris doctorate from Wayne State University Law School. Post law school, Crump-Gibson opened up her very own law firm, C&G Solutions, for a while before joining forces with Alcendor.
She received the 2015 and 2016 Martindale Hubbell ® Client Distinction Award and was recognized as one of Michigan Chronicle’s ’40 under 40’. United States Senator Gary Peters appointed Crump-Gibson to the Michigan Senate Judicial Advisory Committee in 2017 and she was admitted to practice law in Michigan and before the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Alcendor also comes with an abundance of experience as well. Having received her Juris doctorate degree from Western Michigan Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 2013, Alcendor actually interned at C&G Solutions, Crump-Gibson’s law firm.
She also interned at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan with Judge Mark A. Randon, the state appellate defender’s office, the Wayne County prosecutor’s office and a number of area boutique firms as well. At Ernst & Young, she served as a client servicing associate in the Detroit office. Alcendor also founded her own practice, Allied Legal Consulting, PLC., before teaming up with Crump-Gibson.
Rolling out had the opportunity to speak with these two dynamic black women about the inspiration for launching their own firm in metro Detroit. We discussed the services that their new firm will specialize in and we also touched on the unique skillsets they collectively bring to the firm as a team. Check out the interview below and drop a line or two in the comments section to let us know what you think about this minority women-owned law firm.
What was the inspiration for launching a minority black women owned law firm?
Jehan Crump-Gibson: You have to be the change you want to see. This is why we thought it was so important to start the firm. Black women continue to be underrepresented in equity positions in law firms and the legal field as a whole.
A minority-woman owned law firm like Great Lakes Legal Group is uniquely positioned to aid in the ongoing efforts to address this disparity. Minority black women serving in such critical leadership roles are integral in diversifying the legal profession. In turn, this diversification has a direct impact on the communities we serve.
With these roles, we have a responsibility. As important as it is to command a seat at the table, you have to leave the door open to the room for those to come in behind you. We do this by continuing to feed the pipeline. Recruiting talented young women of color and providing opportunities for exposure to black women in firms’ aids in augmenting representation in the industry. We are fully committed to these efforts at Great Lakes.
What services does your firm specialize in?
Ayanna Alcendor: Probate and Estate Planning, Family Law, Criminal Law, General and Civil Mediation, Business and Commercial Matters, Governmental Affairs
Tell us about your background and previous experience. Crump-Gibson, you previously had nine years of legal experience, and you also served as the president of the Wolverine Bar Association & the Wolverine Bar Foundation. How has your previous experience helped to prepare you for opening up your own firm?
JCG: I have been blessed with diverse experiences in the legal field and in the community that have unquestionably prepared me to take on the role as Managing Partner of the firm.
I have had the great fortune of gaining critical experience in government, serving as staff attorney and deputy chief of staff for former Detroit city council member Saunteel Jenkins and as a policy analyst for former Detroit city council member Sheila Cockrel.
During my law school tenure, I also clerked in-house at Comerica Bank’s corporate legal department and externed at the federal district court for the Honorable Arthur J. Tarnow. Garnering knowledge and skills from these roles, I practiced as a solo-practitioner for a number of years, representing clients in various courts at the state level and in federal court.
The Wolverine Bar Association was integral in cultivating my career, from my very first day as a law student at Wayne State. As soon as I got the opportunity, I began to involve myself with leadership roles, ultimately serving as president.
The most important takeaways from my legal experiences and my role with the Wolverine Bar were leadership, commitment and accountability. By its very nature, the role of a lawyer is a leader. Having ownership in your practice takes that role to the next level. It also requires an unwavering commitment and a strong sense of accountability, to your partners, your staff and most importantly, your clients.
Alcendor, your expertise is in criminal, family and probate matters, and you’re also a certified Michigan supreme court administrative office civil mediator. What are some specific instances about your past experience that have prepared you for opening your own firm?
AA: When I decided to become a lawyer, I wanted to gain experience and knowledge in as many areas as possible. To this end, I connected with seasoned attorneys practicing civil, family, probate, bankruptcy and criminal law.
While in law school, I had the opportunity to clerk for a federal magistrate judge, and serve as a pro bono pro se bankruptcy consultant and expungement advocate. The legal field is ever-changing and more times than not, clients are being confronted with overlapping legal conflicts. The diversity of my experiences lends to my ability to effectively address the issues of our clients and pool resources to best meet their needs.
As a team, what are your unique skillsets that you collectively bring to the table?
AA: Steadfast commitment to ethics, strong communication skills, and knowledge of the law are essentials of any reputable law firm.
Great Lakes Legal Group offers clients and the community at large not only these fundamentals, but also two partners that have the ambition, drive and commitment to excellence and client satisfaction. These are qualities that are far too often overlooked. GLLG offers a holistic approach to meeting client needs. We have the unique ability to offer a vast array of client services in-house. This law firm truly is a one-stop shop. Black Women are passionate about the law and our clients.
JCG: Our website is www.gllegalgroup.com. There, you will find detailed information about the owners’ backgrounds, the services we offer and the areas we serve.
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