These days, everyone wants to be their own boss but doesn’t understand the legality of what needs to happen behind the scenes. That’s where “The Biz Lawyer” Rosezena Pierce enters the picture. With many years of experience, Rosezena specializes in helping small business owners of color protect their brands, while educating them on how to maintain a successful brand. If you want to learn more about Rosezena and the importance of having an intellectual property law attorney, keep reading below!  


How can entrepreneurs protect their brands legally?   

The best way to protect your brand first and foremost is by making sure that you adopt a unique brand name that will be easy to register and defend against infringers. But also, once you have developed that unique brand, you want to make sure you do the research to make sure no one else is using it where it can be deemed confusingly similar, or the same as someone else’s usage. 

 From there you will then move to proceed to file the trademark with the USPTO, which is the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which is the federal government which is going to give you broader coverage than just only having your LLC or incorporation under your Secretary of State.   

While attending law school in Chicago, you were pregnant with your youngest daughter. How did you graduate law school and prepare for the bar exam while being pregnant?    

My last semester of law school, I was pregnant with my youngest daughter. I was already a mom to my son, who at the time was 11, and my daughter, who was 7. How I got through is that I just wanted to see it through to the finish line. I wanted to see it to the end.  

My daughter was born in my last semester of law school. I made sure I only took a week off and returned to school so I could stay on track with my bar study schedule. I didn’t want to get off track, so I was very, very focused. At one point I was feeling mommy guilt, and my mom gave me a very harsh but loving speech that I really needed at that time. 

 She reminded me that my newborn baby would not even remember that I would be gone and sitting in the library 16 hours a day, while my mom was at home taking care of her and helping me out with her. So, from that point, it just became about being laser focused. 

 A lot of people talk about work life balance and sometimes balance can be a fictitious word, but what I advise people to do is to become a master of priorities and learn how to prioritize. So, in that moment, even though I was a new mom with a newborn baby at home, I made it my business to prioritize the bar exam so that I could pass the first time, so that I can give her the best life. 

 There was a mentor who told me, (who also experienced having her kids before the bar exam as well) that you have to eat, sleep, and live the bar exam. And that’s exactly what I did. I sacrificed those 2 1/2 months of studying, being with my daughter when I can, helping her throughout the night, but I just made sure that I stayed focus in the meantime while making sure that I was supposed to pass the bar on the first time, and I did because of the discipline I had to take on even as a mom. 

What drew you to assist minority business owners with their legal issues?   

Initially coming out of law school, I knew that I wanted to work in intellectual property law. I had studied intellectual property law since I was in undergrad, and basically what ended up happening was I finished law school and didn’t have any job offers. And when I did pass the bar, I took a professional responsibility course that was taught by a professor who taught lawyers how to start their own business.  

He told me something very profound that I think was the seed that planted me to work with small business owners. He asked me who was underserved in my practice area, and I said small business owners, then he said, “You will go a long way serving the underserved”. And he was so right because I thought that I wanted a big law firm job or big corporate job where I was going to be making more money than ever before, but it really was about helping and serving business owners who may not think that they have access to trademark ownership or accessibility to trademark ownerships.  

 It’s been 11 years now and we have done a great job helping small business owners and minority owners achieve ownership through trademark law, through our affordable trademark legal services. 

Early in your legal career, you practiced more than trademark law. Talk to us about the other areas of law you have worked in. If you didn’t practice intellectual property law, what else would you love to practice?   

That’s a great question! So early in my career, I knew I wanted to stay on the business side, so I did contract law, business formation law, entertainment law through negotiating contracts and deals and things like that, and I did real estate law with real estate closings.  

So, I will still stay on the business side with the contracts, business formation, real estate transactions and things like that. If it would not be intellectual property law, it probably will still be some form of business law. Also too, I did, and I love estate planning. And I think for me, I have such a passion for people retaining ownership and having ownership that it would probably be along the lines of estate planning and contract law if it wasn’t intellectual property law. If I choose one, it’ll be estate planning because I am passionate about seeing people secure their legacy, which we own the trademark to “Secure Your Legacy”.   

You’ve spoken about how harsh corporate law can be on black women and how many lawyers you knew simply weren’t thriving in that environment. Why do you think that is? What changes need to be implemented for women of color attorneys to thrive in this area of law?   

I think when it comes to corporate law and big law firms, they talk about diversity inclusion, but they’re not really invested in inclusiveness and making one feel included and just because there is different dynamics that come with people; their differences, backgrounds, culture and how they grew up. 

 People I know who have worked in corporate America and in corporate law say it feels like they’re in a foreign land or a foreign situation where they never feel comfortable or they don’t feel accepted, they don’t feel like it’s a safe place to be themselves. And I think for corporations and big law firms to get it right, you must provide a safe place for people to be themselves. We talk about diversity, inclusion and how we want all these different people to be included, but once they’re there, what are we truly doing to make them feel included?  

I remember being at an event where it was nothing but corporate lawyers and big law firms there, and it probably was only about out of the 150 people attendees, there were 5 minority attendees, and you can just see by looking in the room during the networking session the lack of inclusiveness. All the minorities were talking with each other, because that’s where their comfort level was, and when they tried to interject into a circle of the others, it didn’t feel comfortable. It felt like you were invading someone’s space or something. It wasn’t a welcoming feeling, and I think that actual inclusiveness is the shift and change in the dynamics of corporate law and corporations if they truly want to be invested in diversity inclusion.   

You started your own law firm, R. J. Pierce Law Group P. C. back in 2013 fresh out of law school. Looking back, what were some challenges early on starting your own law firm? 

Some challenges were figuring out how to create a sustainable business model and it’s funny because even years later, that’s still one of my goals and is still one of the things that I am trying to accomplish as a minority own business owner, particularly with the law firm. For small business owners, it becomes challenging to create a sustainable business model when the clients are not on an hourly billable or monthly retainer. So, the challenge for us and I believe this is even within a lot of black female-owned businesses, where they talk about we are one of the leading groups to start businesses, but we fail when it comes to achieving sustainability in our businesses.  

And I don’t think the failure is that we don’t know how to get the business to be sustainable, it’s just based on the community that we serve, their resources don’t support a sustainable business model for someone like our business. So that is where the challenge comes in, and that’s still been a challenge for me that I have been navigating even 11 years later. So that’s what I would say, creating a sustainable business model.   

Black women are the fastest growing demographic of entrepreneurs in America, yet we’re given the least access to financial capital. What are a few things black women entrepreneurs could do to gain more financial capital for their businesses?    

Support each other like we support other businesses, being willing to invest in the growth of other businesses as well, being willing to share resources with each other, being willing to genuinely support each other. 

 I feel like change has to start with us. We can’t expect another group of people to do something for us that we’re not willing to do for ourselves. And so we do have to take some responsibility and some accountability as black business owners and the black community as to how we treat our black businesses because if we’re not invested in their success, if we’re not invested in their sustainability, the businesses will be no more and we wouldn’t have anyone to serve us and cater to our community and needs.   

Along with assisting small business owners you also work with entrepreneurs and entertainers. What are a few things you’ve noticed entrepreneurs don’t always do to legally protect their businesses outside of trade marketing it?    

I think the entrepreneurs and entertainers that I worked with kind of go hand in hand with the issues that they face. So outside of trademarking, I don’t think entrepreneurs and entertainers do a good job with hiring a CPA to make sure that their taxes are filed properly. I think there is a big misconception that if I file taxes, I’m going to have to pay a lot of money and that may be true in some cases, but if you don’t file taxes, it makes it harder for your business to be able to: (1) be looked at as a real business, (2) it also makes it complicated for you to try to maneuver and get business loans or even get personal loans as a business owner and entrepreneur as well.  

Another thing that I see as an issue is we don’t structure our businesses properly when it comes to the formation of our businesses. A lot of times we jump on the LLC bandwagon because we think that that is the best entity type for us when that may not be the best entity type for us. It may be a corporation or maybe a partnership. It just really depends. The law is not a one-size-fits-all garment, so it is very important that we explore those different options before we adopt something so permanent when it comes to our businesses.  

The third thing that we don’t do and more so in our community is we don’t succession plan. We also don’t invest in estate planning, which is very important because estate planning and succession planning is where the legacy comes in. A lot of people talk about generational wealth and generational legacy, but no one is really talking about how we accomplish that and what we do to achieve it. And one thing we must do is sit down with an estate and trust attorney and make sure we set up a proper estate and succession plan.   

For anyone wanting to start a business, what should they do to properly protect their brand?    

Research. Research. Research. A lot of times people think, oh, God gave me this name last night in my sleep, I’m going to go ahead and adopt this brand and just hit the ground running, but you must research first. So many times, people make the biggest mistake by investing in a business and brand and not doing simple research first to see if the brand possibly is already owned by someone else or something very similar to it that can cause confusion. So first, do the research and then from there, achieve ownership.   

How has social media helped your business? What are some things you have done to expand your reach for your legal services?    

Social media has been a tremendous blessing to my business, in particular Instagram. Very early on, I always seen people on Instagram promoting their businesses. Facebook has changed now, but in the beginning, Facebook was a lot of my family and friends complaining about life or celebrating life but not really business oriented. And what I loved about Instagram was like, everybody seemed like they were running their business on Instagram.  

So, when I started using social media, particularly Instagram, and taking it seriously, it helped catapult the growth of my business and exceed. It helped me fast forward and track just some of the great things that happened in my business. So, I recommend anyone who has a business that you do have some form of social media marketing. I like to educate people on why they will need to protect themselves. 

 A lot of people, believe it or not, don’t even know what the difference between a trademark, copyright, patent, and trade secret is. So I like to educate people on why it’s important that we know the difference because I always say “An educated entrepreneur is a successful entrepreneur”, and so for me it’s very important that we start with education so I have to use my social media platform to educate a potential entrepreneur or an actual entrepreneur who can actually turn into a client. 

Let’s Talk About your event in Atlanta, the “Secure Her Brand Social”. You will be combining 3 events into one and will be accompanied by a star-studded line-up of entrepreneurs. Talk to us more about how this event came about and what attendees can expect from it.   

So, I was bit by a bug to do an event in honor of Women’s History Month back in 2020 and I was starting to plan this event and then March 2020, the world was shut down by COVID. So, the event came back over me late last year and I was like, you know what? I don’t want to let go of that vision. Nobody is doing anything like this. And because trademarking is the foundation for all business owners who have a brand in the marketplace, I just need to do this event, so I just said OK, this is going to be one of my goals.  

The last webinar I taught was December 28th, – I pre launched the event to the attendees then, I got a great response from it, and I just said this is something I’m going to do. The vision since the beginning has gotten bigger and bigger, and bigger than I can even imagine. I always knew 300, I don’t know why, but I just knew it’s going to be 300 women.  

I really wanted to do this event because so many times, so often, I get so many DM’s of women who are asking me how should they maneuver their business, how should they maneuver the fact that they have started the business and now they learn that someone owns the trademark, how should they actually deal with someone infringing on their brand because they actually own the trademark and so I kind of wanted to address in the midst of celebrating women and honoring women just for their achievements and highlighting the fact of why trademarking is so important because too often, there’s too many myths out there where people are told trademarking is something they don’t have to worry about.  

Everybody knows when you buy a car before you drive it off the car lot, you have to insure that car and so why wouldn’t you ensure a business before you begin to build it and attach the name to everything that is related to it. So, this event is going to educate, empower and inspire people not to only achieve business ownership, but brand ownership through trademark law and intellectual property! 

You’ve spoken about the struggles of maintaining a high-profile career while balancing being a mother of 3 children. Talk to us about how you can do both and give tips for other mothers who may struggle with the same thing.    

For me, I try to keep them as separate as possible. I’m not one that really posts my kids or exposes my kids because I want them to be able to have their own privacy, do their own things with their own life and not come in the shadow of what I’m doing.  

My kids kind of make jokes cause sometimes when they’ll come in my office and begin to talk to me and when I’m ignoring them because I’m busy focusing on work, they’ll be like “Can we make an appointment with “The Biz Lawyer” so we can have a conversation with her about what we need our mother to do?”, So I think I have done a great job with just separating business from personal.  

When I’m in my office, I am the lawyer, I am the CEO, I’m the person running the business, but once I step outside of my office, I’m their mother. I’m there to ask them how their day went, what they have going on, what they’re doing, what they’re exploring. I just try to keep it separate.  

And I also try to make time and be intentional about when I am spending my time with them.  So, my tip for other mothers who are trying to run a business is understand your why and why you’re doing what you’re doing. And I believe for me, my why is what keeps me grounded. I want to prepare a better life for my kids. I come from the west side of Chicago and although I wouldn’t say we were poor, we were limited to certain things and had limited access.  

I want my kids to have the privilege to have access to different things, numerous things, and be able to explore things. Therefore, I understand that when I get up and I go to work, it is for them. I am doing this for them.  

So when Mommy guilt begins to set in because I might not have as much time as I like to have, I understand my why and it kind of helps me get through the fact of me talking myself out my greatness, because I am caught up in guilt of me not being able to do all the fun things and making sacrifices when it comes to time and things like that.  

If your kids are the root of why you’re doing that, then it will help you combat those times when mommy guilt begins to set in or people being able to tell you what you should be doing versus working on your business.   

In your opinion, how has your law firm shifted our culture?   

I believe my law firm, which is ranked in the top 1% of all trademark law firms in the country and that’s coming from a black woman who is from the West side of Chicago! I hope it inspires anyone from our culture to know that they can do it too.  

Being that I am ranked #15 out of over 33,000 trademark lawyers in the country, and earlier I spoke about not having a job offer after law school, and now being ranked above those law firms that I applied to work at.  

I hope it actually empowers and inspires, but I really believe our biggest contribution to our culture is the education that we provide, the education of enlightening people on why trademark law is important, why copyright laws are something that we need to understand as business owners, why it is very important that we handle our trade secrets very differently so that they can remain a secret and be respected under the law. I believe that our contribution to our culture is profound and powerful because it is empowering people through education to achieve success, ownership, and greatness in their businesses.   

What’s next for Rosezena J. Pierce? 

What’s next for me is I want to start a foundation for minority-owned businesses where the government will help fund their legal services to help them obtain ownership in the early stages of their businesses. I want to also go after corporate clients.  

I do believe that we deserve that considering our rankings and the rankings come straight from the USPTO data. No one can argue with those numbers. We have proven and shown that we are one of the best to perform and get the quality of work done. So, we do want to work with corporate clients. We believe there is some sustainability there and we can give great legal representation to those big companies as well. And like I said, utilizing government resources to help minority and small business owners secure ownership to the businesses that they’re building so they can eventually become one of those big corporations in the future as well.  

I also want to do more speaking as it relates to diversity inclusion, because it was so many law firms that missed out on me because I didn’t come in a perfect package, but what they failed to realize is that this not so perfect package did finish law school with three kids, this not so perfect package did pass the bar on the first try and this not so perfect package also is now ranked #15 out of over 33,000 trademark attorneys in the country, but also a trademark law firm founder and operator of an international law firm.  

So just talking about how to not overlook people like me because there is still greatness there, although it doesn’t come in a perfect package. And I want to go and speak with college students as well and tell them how you can create your own lane, how you can create your own table. If there is rejection there, that is probably protection so that you can be all that God has called you to be and that are not a factor or an issue for you. 


Feature Editor: Taylor Winter Wilson (@taylorwinter)

Photographer: Prince Brown (@princedaphotographer)  

 Hairstylist: Byron Marcelle (@b_marcelle)

 Makeup Artist : Chanel Thompson (@beautybychaneltruly)

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