March 22, 2021
By Parade Stone with contribution by Elizabeth Aquino, Esq.
Elizabeth Aquino, Esq., Senior Associate Attorney at JLC & Associates, celebrates her three-year anniversary with the firm on February 1st. A former litigator with over ten years of experience in both real estate and family law, Aquino brings her multifaceted perspective to her role as a transactional attorney. As she reflects on her path to her current position, she marvels at the sense of home she feels at JLC: “I didn’t expect it to feel like this is where I should’ve landed all along, but now it feels that way.”
Growing up in Oak Park, Illinois, Aquino did not imagine she would work in a legal field. “I didn't have exposure to attorneys in my life. I’m the only one in my family that’s an attorney so I really forged a new path,” she explains.
Even after completing her undergraduate degree at the University ofWisconsin-Madison, she regarded her acceptance into DePaul University College of Law as an opportunity for an academically enriching experience, not a clear career path to practicing law. Despite her initial uncertainty, her career trajectory quickly became clear: “Everyone that knows me in my family knows why I’m the attorney.”
As an early-career lawyer Aquino represented individuals in divorce and custody cases in Chicago, Illinois. After working in family law in her home state, she moved to New York and promptly passed the bar, allowing her to practice real estate law. After several years of litigation in the real estate field, Aquino decided to transition her career as she felt dissatisfied with the “zero-sum” quality of the court system process.
Aquino speaks highly of her work at JLC & Associates and values the opportunity to support clients through the closing process. She explains, “...the practice that I have now is really gratifying because I’m advocating for our clients’ interests. Instead of thinking only of how to win, we’re thinking of the bigger picture and how to advocate for our clients legally.”
Aquino characterizes her role as a “risk manager.” Who could imagine that she would have to mitigate the kinds of risks that the Covid-19 pandemic would induce in the real estate field? Her investment in counseling her clients served her well when the JLC team had to essentially reinvent closing strategies while working from home. She explains, “It was one of those times in our professional careers where we as attorneys needed to be able to council our clients while not necessarily knowing what was going to happen.”
Despite the abundant challenges that the New York City real estate community navigated last year, the JLC team remained positive. Aquino describes the way she creatively addressed her client’s needs with a “yes first” approach. She admires the way the JLC team came together in a time of crisis: “ I have so much respect for the people that work here especially coming out of the past year. We all cheered each other on. It was a nice reminder that everyone is just rooting for you.”
Aquino's ability to adapt to new and challenging circumstances speaks volumes about her role as a leader and team member. She looks forward to continuing her work in 2021. “I think it will be a very prolific year for real estate in New York City,” she confidently predicts.