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Rishi Desai L'09 Pursued his Passion at Western New England

By Kenneth Stratton '19 WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26, 2019 - 12:00 PM WNE100

Today, Rishi Desai L’09 is Managing Attorney at RKD Law LLC, but ten years ago he was an uncertain law student facing abysmal job prospects in a slow legal market.

Desai explained that around the time he was graduating from law school, the Great Recession hit the legal market, making it harder than ever before for young lawyers to find a job. While it was an uncertain time, he never regretted his decision to attend the Western New England University School of Law, which he thanks for giving him the skillset he’s used to succeed.

“On my first visit to WNEC, I was sold. The combination of the attractive scholarship and the warm faculty and students who spoke with me during my visit sealed the deal. It simply felt right, a gut feeling,” Desai said.

The former law student reflected on his experience with the faculty and staff of law school, saying they were all supportive and “amazing!”

“The professors were some of the best in their respective fields, always open to connect outside of class; the coursework combined with experiential learning significantly prepared me for my path, and I made some lifelong best friends during my time at WNEC,” Desai said.

Desai explained that the work he put into his time inside and outside the classroom through opportunities provided by the law school really paid off once he was practicing in the field.

“I really liked that they offered ‘concentrations’ in different areas, and the experiential learning opportunities put me ahead of many of my peers at the beginning of my career,” Desai said. One such opportunity was a chance to work at the Springfield District Court.

“My role at the Springfield District Court was also life changing in that I had the ability to prepare work product with esteemed Judges, listen to their interesting experiences during their careers, and observe the daily happenings of Springfield,” Desai explained. He added that his Clinician role and Teacher’s Assistant Clinician role in the Small Business Clinic planted the seed of who he is now as a professional. “I couldn’t have achieved success without that experience,” Desai said.

After graduation, Desai returned to New Jersey and began life as a lawyer, working as an Associate with Dubal Law Offices, LLC.

“I was initially nervous, as anyone would be. It was very difficult for anyone to get a job at that time. Unemployment for law graduates were at an historic low nationwide. I was also very grateful to get my shot,” Desai said. He added that his experience in the School of Law’s Small Business Clinic prepared him to hit the ground running, and the passion he’d developed for business law helped him ease into the new role.

Desai would hone his “expertise” in the legal field over time, and today focuses on commercial transactions, specifically in the franchise and hospitality industries – a fair fit with his passion for food and travel! Desai explained that he represents buyers, sellers, and lenders in the acquisition, disposition, financing, and leasing of business and commercial real estate. In 2017, Desai started his own law firm, RKD Law LLC, where he explained as Managing Attorney, he’s “the boss.”

“I manage all aspects of the business, including leading our team, made up of another WNEC Law graduate in her Associate Role, and two rockstar Paralegals,” Desai said. He added that as Managing Attorney, it’s part of his job to run marketing, operations, accounting, human resources, and quality control for the firm as well.

As for what comes next, Desai looks forward to further honing his skills, and transforming RKD Law LLC into a “fine-tuned closing boutique!”

As a student, Desai fostered a passion for working with businesses, and he’s thankful that his experience at Western New England led him to a point where, as a professional, he is doing just that.