When Alexandra Forkosh was 5 years old, she combined her love of Hebrew school and family vacations to Mexico into her first career aspiration: a rabbi and flamenco dancer.
Now 25 years later, Forkosh has found her professional niche in a field her young self would have never known existed: she practices commercial litigation as an associate attorney at Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP in downtown Cleveland.
Forkosh covers cases dealing with anything from trade secret disputes to breach of contract disputes to intellectual property litigation. But at the core of everything she does as a commercial litigator is her life’s mission to help others, a motivation that she gained from her parents, Marina Forkosh and the late Marton Forkosh, both of whom immigrated to the U.S. from the former USSR.
“I‘ve been really fortunate to have role models in my life, in particular, my parents and my grandparents, who overall set a really good example for being generous with your time and resources,” said Forkosh, a resident of Lakewood. “Keeping that legacy alive is something that is important to me.”
Forkosh was nominated to receive the 12 Under 36: Members of the Tribe award for her community involvements in pro bono work and legal organizations. As a volunteer with the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, Forkosh provides pro bono legal services to low-income individuals. As a participant with LegalWorks in Cleveland, she helps provide free and low-cost legal services to expunge past criminal records to remove the legal impediments to employment and full community participation.
Forkosh is also a part of the 3Rs Program associated with the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association. Through the program, Forkosh and other attorneys visit public high schools across Cleveland to talk to students about the law and give career advice to those interested in pursuing legal careers.
She additionally serves as a member of Calfee’s Associates Committee, which focuses on key issues important to the development and well-being of Calfee’s associate attorneys. She also mentors junior lawyers, assisting with topics such as client service, legal skills development and navigating law firm politics and operations.
Extending her legal services for free to those facing hardships has been vital to Forkosh, as she said that individuals unable to afford necessary legal representation can encounter debilitating issues.
“I grew up with a lot of privilege, even being a first-generation American,” Forkosh said. “Nonetheless, it’s always been easy for me to put myself in the shoes of somebody without that privilege and opportunity. Using my legal career to help those in need is always something that’s been important to me.”
When it comes to the years ahead, Forkosh’s crystal ball shows a promising, hard working future. She said she would like to expand her involvement into the Jewish community and broaden her pro bono legal work.
“I’d like to find ways to best serve the needs of the community,” Forkosh said. “I just have to figure out what that looks like.”