Elizabeth L. Carter,

Managing Attorney

Elizabeth is a crowdfunding securities attorney who represents investment companies, small businesses, nonprofits, cooperatives, and other social enterprises with the legal strategy and compliance of raising capital from both accredited and non-accredited investors. She is currently Of Counsel to Cutting Edge Counsel, a community capital securities law firm where she further represents investment funds, small businesses, cooperatives, and other social enterprises with the legal compliance of raising capital from investors. For instance, she recently assisted a cooperative investment fund with its creation and capitalization through a $2 million Rule 506(c) crowdfunding offer composed of accredited investors. Similarly in this role, she assisted a consumer cooperative with the amendment of its by-laws and articles of incorporation in order to prepare for its upcoming capital raise from non-member investors.  

Elizabeth's prior work includes the legal representation of entrepreneurs, property owners, small businesses, nonprofits and government agencies in various community economic development initiatives including drafting a joint venture agreement on behalf of a minority-owned redevelopment entity in order to promote inclusionary development; serving as general counsel to a limited-equity housing cooperative with over two hundred affordable housing units for seniors, and persons of low income; assisting a community development nonprofit with the selling of real estate for the development of affordable housing; representing a government agency with property tax lien issues in order to assist in the removal of blighted properties; reviewing, drafting, and negotiating commercial real estate contracts on behalf of a small businesses; and helping to prevent a tax lien foreclosure on behalf of a low-income property owner through the negotiation and drafting of a third-party investor real estate agreement. She also served as Special Counsel in the Department of Economic and Housing Development of the City of Newark where she was  lead counsel on a $8.1 mill affordable housing cooperative project and authored the City's amended tax abatement ordinance which provides tax incentives for inclusionary development by women, racial minorities, and cooperatives. 

Elizabeth also founded and served as Lead Counsel & Executive Director of the Urban Cooperative Enterprise Legal Center, Inc. (@ucelc), a 501c3 nonprofit organization with a mission to create and support cooperative enterprises within marginalized communities in order to promote local sustainability.

Currently, Elizabeth serves on a number of Advisory Boards including the Advisory Boards of Seaway, A Division of Self-Help Federal Credit Union; National Public Housing Museum; and the Lawndale Christian Community Development Corporation of Chicago. She is passionate about democracy, restorative economics, and community development. She graduated from the University of Michigan with honors, double majoring in African American studies + political science with a minor in philosophy. She also has a dual degree in law and urban planning from Rutgers University. Elizabeth is licensed to practice federal law and State law in three states: Illinois, New Jersey, and New York.

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois, 2020

  • New Jersey, 2016

  • New York, 2016


Other Professional Affiliations



  • Rutgers University School of Law, Newark, New Jersey: Juris Doctorate (2015)

  • Rutgers University Bloustein School of Planning and Policy, New Brunswick, New Jersey: Masters in City and Regional Planning (2015)

  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan: Bachelor of Arts with honors Afro-American and African Studies,    Political Science, and Philosophy 2011



Law Clerk
Summer 2021/Winter 2021
Chynniqe Ross
Law Clerk
Fall 2020/Winter 2021

Cymone is a rising 3L student at UIC John Marshall Law School where she is a Student Attorney for the Community Enterprise & Solidarity Clinic. She is the current president of the Corporate Law Society and a member of the Black Law Students Association. Cymone is passionate about minority representation within the legal industry as well as in business. 

This Summer, she will be assisting the Firm with a number of projects, including helping  our cooperative clients with their formations, building out our securities legal glossary, and exploring the intersections of data privacy law and securities law. 

Cymone's Law Clerkship is funded through our #BlackWomenLawyersMatter Summer Clerkship Program sponsored by our ecosystem partners Sustainable Economies Law Center, which is designed to increase Black women's representation within the field of securities law.

Cymone has prior experience working in-house for a global snacking company where she was exposed to mergers and acquisitions, trademark, antitrust, and securities law. She also has experience as a judicial extern for the Honorable Judge Diane Shelley at Cook County in the commercial litigation calendar. Cymone is currently on the board of Shriver Center on Poverty Law’s Professionals’ Council where she fundraises and brings awareness to issues that the Center prioritizes. Cymone would like to focus her practice on business law.

Part-time Summer Law Clerk
Summer 2021

Alana Reyes Jones, is a rising 3L at UIC John Marshall Law School. There, she is a Student Attorney for the Community Economic & Solidarity Economy Clinic where she provides pro bono transactional legal services to underserved businesses, cooperatives, and non-profit organizations. Alana is also a Community Outreach Coordinator for the Latinx Law Student Association and a mentor for Chicago Scholars.


She is also a Chicago native and is passionate about serving marginalized communities through the law. At the Firm, Alana will explore the intersection between data privacy laws and crowdfunding securities laws, in addition to gaining hands-on experience working with clients of the Firm. 

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Freelance Attorney

Sonrisa is an entrepreneurial attorney with a diverse legal background.  She specializes in complex legal research and writing and adeptly uses her skillset to support other attorneys and law firms.  Sonrisa is known for her ability to express sound legal analysis through clear and detailed writing.  She effortlessly adapts her style and work product to suit the individual needs of her attorney-clients.


Sonrisa is passionate about promoting the growth and success of lawyers of color and the clients and communities that they serve.  She runs her freelance lawyer business, Lewis Legal, in support of this goal.  


Sonrisa is a Delaware native and a member of the Maryland Bar.  After graduating from the American University Washington College of Law, she held a variety of positions working for the federal government, international and national banks, and Delaware Family Court.  Sonrisa currently enjoys working with Elizabeth L. Carter, Esq. and supporting her in serving underrepresented entrepreneurs in Black, Afro-Latinx, and other communities.

Chynnique is a graduate of UIC John Marshall Law School where she was a member of the Black Law Students Association and the Professional Chair of the Corporate Law Society. She was also a Research Assistant to Professor Renee Hatcher where she is addressing how race and a hegemonic Western worldview in U.S corporate law shape and limit institution-building. Chynnique is interested in practicing both business and community development law.

At the Firm, she continued her research and writing on Black women entrepreneurs and barriers to raising capital, as well assisting with client engagement.

Chynnique has prior experience working as a Securities Law Clerk.  She hopes to focus her practice on business law and has a strong interest in community development law. Chynnique is a Chicago native and is looking forward to practicing in her hometown.

Legal Assistant

Esmeralda Ayala is a virtual assistant specializing in producing creative content and other virtual assistant services for busy business owners. Her mission is to serve mission-based businesses by taking tasks off of their heavy loaded schedules and helping them focus on creating what only they can. 


Esmeralda graduated from New Jersey City University with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. She is also an enlisted member of the U.S. Air Force. Based at Buckley, Air Force base, she is currently serving the Colorado Air National Guard with over 15 years of service.