From the Ground Up
Raysheea Turner works to help others build generational wealth
Published in 2022 Upstate New York Super Lawyers magazine
By Taylor Kuether on August 25, 2022
When Raysheea Turner was growing up in the projects in Brooklyn, she dreamed of someday helping others who looked like her and who had lived a similar experience. In one recent case, that’s exactly what the real estate attorney did.
Turner’s client was purchasing a home that was in disrepair. “It was her first time purchasing a home, and to buy a home that is not even anything that you can live in before you invest a substantial amount of money … she was really nervous,” Turner says. “I had the opportunity to talk her through the process really intimately.”
Turner successfully got her client to the closing table, she says. But it wasn’t until the end of the process that Turner learned who her client’s spouse was.
“It was a childhood friend who I had lost touch with,” she says. “In Brooklyn, in the projects, this person and I slept in the same beds. We literally grew up together. … And to find out I was helping them in this way was just such a wonderful surprise.”
The couple, who has two boys, wanted to buy the home with plans to renovate it to show their children that it’s possible to build something from nothing, Turner says.
“They’re actually now purchasing some more property, and we scheduled to do the closing at my new office so that the kids can come. We can celebrate, and they can have the kids sign the papers so we can really laser it in their brains that this is possible,” Turner says. “We want to document what we’re doing because we’re these two girls from Brooklyn, from the projects, who didn’t really have anything growing up. Now it’s, ‘I’m your attorney, you’re a real-estate buyer, and you’ve got your kids involved.’ It’s a full-circle moment for me.”
“To all little Black and brown girls, we are the evidence that it’s possible to open up your own law firm, and to be successful.”Raysheea Turner
It’s just the kind of moment she and law partner Kimberly Wallace envisioned when they decided using their law degrees to advocate for housing and homeownership would be their calling card. Both partners hailed from public defender offices when they met in October 2019 and came to the same conclusion: They should start a Black- and women-owned boutique, which they did in February 2020.
Since then, they’ve worked to educate others through seminars, workshops, panels and more about the possibility of homeownership and what it means to build generational wealth in marginalized communities.
“There’s a need, especially in the minority community, for homeownership,” Turner says. “When we’re talking about creating generational wealth, real estate is one of those pioneering vehicles to do that. So if we can set people up for that, we can help start laying the foundation for what’s to come later.”
Turner says Wallace Turner Law is unlike any other in the Capital Region, which is part of the reason they chose to set up shop there.
“There’s a need right here in Albany,” Turner says. “Everyone always says they want to leave something behind, they want to have a legacy. We’re helping people realize their dreams, and we love that.”
One of the best things about doing this kind of work, she adds, is doing it for people who look like her.
“It’s one thing to have an attorney, but it’s another thing to have an attorney that looks like you, especially because we’re so far and few in between,” she says. “Kim and I always say it’s 2022 and we are the only firm like us in the Capital District—which is exciting but also a little bit scary. We would think we should have another Black, women-owned law firm. We should have been able to follow in their footsteps, to have them as mentors.”
Instead, that’s the role she and Wallace have taken on. “What we’re really doing is paving the way for others that come behind us to know that it is possible,” she says. “To all little Black and brown girls, we are the evidence that it’s possible to open up your own law firm, and to be successful.”
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