Ruky Tijan
STEPPING OUT: Ruky Tijani ’14 leaned on her training and intuition in launching Firm for the Culture.

Flying Solo to Exciting New Peaks

es, Ruky Tijani ’14 is a lawyer. And a trademark specialist. And an entrepreneur. But really, as the founder of Firm for the Culture, she’s an elevation expert.

Vaulting social entrepreneurs to a place where they can benefit society. Lifting up small businesses tangled in legal quagmires. Raising the status and number of diverse company founders.

“We help clients avoid legal pitfalls when engaging in social impact initiatives, such as creating innovative ways to provide affordable access to healthcare and devising procedures to increase voter participation, and changing the world in other meaningful ways,” Tijani says. “I’m proud to have a team combining social impact, intellectual property, tech, and creativity to make this happen.”

Firm for the Culture offers trademark, brand protection, and brand strategy services. It also provides low-cost legal education courses to diverse communities and social impact founders in exchange for clients’ purchase of its services, much in the way TOMS® Shoes provides free shoes for people in need in exchange for each purchase.

After working as an associate at Quinn Emanuel in Silicon Valley, Tijani struck out on her own.

“I wanted to help diverse clients who were changing the world but couldn’t afford my services at the hourly rate Quinn provided,” she explains.

Using a flat fee model that allows clients to feel comfortable sharing their stories and experiences without fearing a huge invoice after their sessions, Tijani helps them succeed in both their business goals and internal operations. She also follows up with them about their lived experiences, not simply their legal matters.

During the pandemic, when a client who usually replied quickly to email lagged in responding, she reached out and learned that one of the client’s closest family members had died from COVID-19.

“When I heard this, I did not think twice about scheduling a client session at no additional cost. Essentially, the client and I spent the session discussing ways the client could engage in self-care,” Tijani says. “In the end, the client not only successfully registered their trademark, but also took time to work on healing so they could be a better business owner.”

Tijani oversees a paralegal and other team members who handle daily operations, and outsources staffing help for bookkeeping, updating systems, and related functions. A 2021 Tory Burch Fellow, she says she’s getting the help needed to scale her business exponentially without diminishing the quality of its offerings.

For Tijani, “Having clients who truly trust us is what makes this work so meaningful.”

— Andrew Cohen