Graduating college with a journalism degree, Julie Rabin had every intention of being a journalist. But, after holding an internship at a small newspaper in Binghamton, N.Y., she decided it wasn’t where she wanted to be. That was when she turned her eyes to law.
Now a partner at Rabin & Rabin Co., LPA in Cleveland, Rabin practices bankruptcy law. She is also a member of local and statewide bar associations and is a lecturer for the Ohio State Bar Association’s bankruptcy seminars. But, deciding to focus in this area was a choice that evolved, she said.
“I started my career at a large law firm that needed help in the commercial bankruptcy area,” she remembered. “Once I had my first child, I joined my mother who had gone to law school later in life, worked at a firm doing consumer bankruptcy and then opened her own office. It was a good firm. I worked part time until my children were in school.”
CJN: Why is bankruptcy law an important part of the community?
Rabin: Financial difficulties cut across all segments of society, including the Jewish community, with devastating effects. Bankruptcy allows for a financial fresh start, a way for someone to begin to rebuild his or her life in a relatively short period. The results can be dramatic.
CJN: What about your job makes you a good advocate for your clients?
Rabin: At this point, I’m realistic and not afraid to tell clients when their goals are not realistic. I have lots of favorite things, one of which is interacting and finding common ground with people from all walks of life with all sorts of life experiences. Our country is truly a melting pot. Another is doing pro bono bankruptcies on behalf of the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland. Many people don’t have a safety net and need a helping hand.
CJN: What would you consider a major turning point in your career? How did that shape the lawyer you are today?
Rabin: No one particular thing. I graduated from law school in 1981. I note the great strides that women have made in the profession since then and how my viewpoint of family and career has changed over time. I now think that you can have it all but that you cannot have it all at once.
CJN: What role does your relationship to Judaism play in your work?
Rabin: Judaism’s ethical underpinnings inform my sense of social justice. I’m proud to be Jewish and of my heritage, traditions and customs.
As she continues on in her professional journey, Rabin said she hopes to leave a legacy for both her professional and personal life.
“Professionally, I have always worked to help my clients obtain a financial fresh start,” she said. “I hope my legacy is that my clients – and at this point, there are many of them – are better off having worked with me. Personally, my legacy is my children. They are, of course, the best legacy one can have. I have tried to be present when needed but to allow them to chart their course.”