Friday, September 27, 2013

On Starting a Law Firm

Out where I live in the desert cities east of Los Angeles, there's a lot of poverty, but very few businesses or nonprofits offering affordable legal services in underserved communities.

During summer 2012, I found myself praying that God would inspire someone to open a law firm dedicated to providing low cost legal services in local communities and that I would get a job at this law firm. Can you imagine my shock and trepidation when I discovered that that someone was me?!

Now if you read "law firm" and think mahogany furniture, designer suits, and BMWs, you've got it all wrong. Think more along the lines of a start-up, small business, community organizing, work meetings in my living room, and "Let's take a ten minute break. I need to nurse my seven month old." That's this law firm.

Here's a timeline of how it all went down.

May 2012. I didn't get the post-graduate fellowship that everyone told me I would definitely get, so I joined the masses of jobless recent law school graduates.

Summer 2012: I began tutoring kids at a summer enrichment program hosted by a wonderful local nonprofit dedicated to community transformation.

Fall 2012: I landed a part time, temp job advocating for undocumented immigrants who were victims of crime and undocumented youth who arrived in the US as children.

The programs director at the nonprofit found out I was doing immigration law and practically begged, "If there's any way you could do any immigration advocacy for our families..." I said, "It's too complicated, and I don't know enough yet." Around the same time, my supervisor at work said, "Why don't you open your own immigration practice out where you live?" I thought she was crazy.

But, then I couldn't get the thought out of my head. I talked to a few people about it. The idea grew and grew.

December 2012: I started pursuing opening a law firm.

July 2013: I invited my friend, Sarah, to join as a partner.

September 2013: We opened the doors of our immigration law office! My partner has had some asylum work, we have two upcoming information sessions on DACA, and we hope to be bringing in lots of clients soon!

When I make a major life decision, I try to submit it to God's guidance via community, prayer, and Scripture. But, most of the time, there is no clear guidance and I end up making the best decision I can trusting that God's grace is sufficient to cover for any mistakes.

This time around, the guidance has been crystal clear. I feel so strongly, in a way I've never really felt before, that starting this law firm is exactly what God wants me to do. I have received tons of encouragement and support. All my needs have been beyond provided for. Every obstacle I've encountered that's made me want to throw in the towel and shout, "What was I thinking?!" has been cleared without all that much effort. It's as if, all along, God has had this law practice in mind and he's just taking me down his pre-planned path. It is such an adventure to follow the one who is over all and in control of all!

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