As a lawyer, Melissa Gerrits spends a lot of time demystifying the law and legal matters in her daily work. Even as a trained lawyer, she recognizes how unnerving it can be to navigate the legal aspects of a business.
Early in her law career, she worked with a tech startup and recalls that “there was so much for me to learn and wrap my head around and I realized, firsthand, the gaps in the market with respect to legal resources and training.”
She had colleagues and mentors to consult but saw this wasn’t the case for many others in business, particularly women entrepreneurs. After years of building her skills in contract and commercial law, intellectual property, privacy and other areas, Melissa felt she was in a position to leverage that competency for others who, like herself, were navigating the interconnected worlds of entrepreneurship, business and the law.
Now, as the founder of Lady Lawboss, Melissa is building a new pathway for success with her own “boutique virtual legal service that specializes in providing legal support, educational resources and training to female-owned businesses and female entrepreneurs.”
“I want to educate and empower women to leverage the law in order to protect and build sustainable enterprises and really, at the end of the day, to legally protect their dreams.”
Melissa actioned the idea with a Lady Lawboss Instagram account in January 2020. She shared insights, education and resources about the law and business. Traction grew quickly. “People started showing up in my DMs and sending me emails… people were seeking me out,” she said. She fielded questions about next steps after incorporating a business, copyright and trademark advice, contract reviews, infringement claims and more. “That, to me, was affirmation that the gap still exists.”
This affirmation, and a recommendation by a fellow Laurier alumnus, prompted Melissa to join the Start My Business Bootcamp at the Laurier Women Entrepreneurship Centre. “I wanted a primer on all the various aspects of starting a business,” she said, particularly branding, marketing and bookkeeping.
She’s now ready to launch Lady Lawboss, starting with facilitated webinars where people can learn and engage in live discussions about legal issues. Since most everything has moved online during the global pandemic, Melissa has witnessed a greater willingness for people to engage with professionals online and through social media.
Melissa plans to evolve the business gradually, but most importantly, she is eager to see that “this kind of service instills confidence in women to navigate and leverage the law to protect their empires and enterprises!”
When that happens, Melissa will be there, celebrating the growing contributions and economic participation of successful women in business in our communities.
Watch Her Soar by following her on Instagram
The Women Entrepreneurship Centre (WEC), as part of the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University, is dedicated to empowering women entrepreneurs of every age, stage and culture to achieve their business dreams. We believe in fostering leadership. We believe that everyone deserves an equal shot at success. We believe in connecting you with the right people, skills and support to make it happen.
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