Female lawyers in the United States only make up about 38% of today’s legal world. Although a huge improvement from 1960, where female attorneys accounted for just 1 in 25, change has been sluggish. Three local women bucking the trend are attorneys Dawn Kirby, Erica Aisner, and Julie Curley, who recently combined their many years of expertise to open an all-female law firm: Kirby, Aisner, and Curley LLP in Scarsdale.
The trio, who met in 2005 while working at Rattet, Pasternak, & Gordon Oliver LLP in Harrison, specialize in bankruptcy cases, real estate, and commercial transactions. Their clients typically range from family-owned businesses to smaller public companies. “Bankruptcy is a very difficult time in anyone’s life,” explains Aisner. “Whether it’s an individual filing with a house in foreclosure or a company filing that employs 50 people and puts food on the table for their families,” she says.
Devoted to each individual, their slogan: Guide, Protect, Empower represents the ideals of the firm, which opened in April. After the economy collapsed in 2008, the women saw an increase in Westchester residents having issues with mortgages and keeping their homes. “I’ve also been seeing a trend of elderly people on fixed incomes,” explains Kirby, a graduate of Brooklyn Law School. She says, “Maybe they’ve been using their social security to buy their medicine, but then they’ve been using their credit card to buy food. Then it rolls out of control.” To help some of these clients, the firm offers pro-bono work and holds clinics that provide legal counsel for people who are below the federal poverty line that are not able to afford a lawyer.
Much of the dedication and detailed mindset of these women can be traced back to their life experiences. Kirby, whose father worked in broadcasting, moved the family around the country about 20 times. “Because of the instability of journalism, he forbid me to go into journalism, which I found so interesting,” she says. “Law seemed like a way to use those investigative skills.”
Aisner and Curly, both graduates of Hofstra, not only maintain a career but also juggle family life as well. New Rochelle resident Aisner, and Curly, who lives in New City in Rockland County, both have three children.
The lawyers say that one of the key things to running their practice is finding solutions for their clients. “We want them to always feel that they can lean on us,” expresses Aisner. “Once they retain us, we like to take the stress off their shoulders so they can focus on what’s important.”