Washington, DC Attorney Aimee Griffin is known in the Northeast as an original
incorporator and the former executive director
of the New England Black Chamber of Commerce and nationally as the general counsel and
corporate secretary to the U.S. Black Chamber.
To longtime readers of Perspectives, she will be
remembered as the University’s former director
of the Law and Business Center for Advancing
Entrepreneurship, today’s Center for Innovation
and Entrepreneurship. Since 2011, she has
been principal of The Griffin Firm, PLLC, which
works with individuals to create wealth and
maintain it through business and estate planning support.
It was Aimee’s passion for economic and
social justice and educational opportunities for
African Americans that led her to believe that
growth and planning of an organization were
inextricably intertwined with estate and succession planning.
Working at the School of Law with the
Springfield business community, Aimee
observed “a huge poverty reality,” she recalls.
“I wanted to get into entrepreneurship to
see how we could create more wealth in
One of her first realizations of why wealth
wasn’t retained was the lack of planning for the
future of closely-held businesses. “We realized
that generationally as the families got older they
didn't necessarily plan for succession; their busi-
nesses would just dissolve,” she says.
To enhance her expertise, Aimee pursued her
LLM and took courses in elder law, estate planning, and closely-held businesses, which laid
the foundation for the focus of the Griffin Firm.
While Aimee may hold a record for taking
the most JD classes with Professor Fred
Royal (at least six she estimates), she was
equally impressed with how Fred and his
faculty taught complex subjects in the online
program. She joined a cohort of students
studying across the country, taking courses
live and online.
“The great thing about it was that it com-
pelled me to be a part of the online, global
world which is vital for success right now,”
says Aimee. “It was amazing how no matter
what the class was or no matter what course
you were taking, you felt like your professor
took an interest in you specifically. Everything
about the LLM was truly centered around what
you thought was important to your practice
and professional development. So you felt very
confident about not wasting any of your time.
And the network that you were creating was
With her LLM in hand and the national con-
nections she had made through the U.S. Black
Chamber, Aimee relocated to Washington, DC.
There the economic downturn and many gov-
ernment employees’ early retirement made it
a hotbed for burgeoning entrepreneurs. Aimee
dedicated her practice to helping her clients
create business plans that looked far into
“Typically family owned companies do not
survive multi-generationally because of lack of
planning,” she says. “What I could do for busi-
nesses was not only help them get established
and grow, but also to have succession plans. I
Aimee’s focus on business and estate plan-
ning has attracted a broad-based list of clients.
From physicians to financial firms, a mental
health clinic, to new startups, Aimee has built
her practice through writing, speaking, and
“These relationships have allowed me to get
in front of people so writing and presenting has
been truly miraculous in providing the opportunity to grow,” she says.
Aimee says it is essential to look at each
family individually and acknowledge the values
that they feel are important. “We can’t take a
cookie cutter approach to the work that we
do,” she says “I think I’ve been successful in
my practice because I remember hearing in
the LLM classes to ‘listen to what they want.’
What we may think is best is not important
and sometimes that’s painful. But as a result
I’ve been invited to more family reunions and
holiday dinners because people feel that I
cared enough to become a part of the individual family’s transformation.”
have an LLM, you can have a conversation about this. You can
change the course of many families and communities by doing true
estate planning. When you empower and educate a family, you can
empower a community, which is transformative for the region.”
—Attorney Aimee Griffin JD’03/LLM’09
Want to learn more?
Attorney Aimee Griffin JD’03/LLM’09 Helps Build
Visit the LLM program
website at wne.edu/llm.
Family Businesses from Startups to Legacies