Member Spotlight: Daissy Dominguez
Founder of Dominguez Legal Justice Center
Ms. Daissy Dominguez is a driven attorney and social entrepreneur who utilizes her legal knowledge, creativity, and activism to develop initiatives that help instill positive change. Pursuing a legal career dedicated to social justice, she founded Dominguez Legal Justice Center, LLC (DLJC) upon graduating law school focusing on immigration law and evictions on behalf of a landlord.
Daissy Dominguez is a Bootcamp Program Graduate.
Can you please introduce yourself and your business and the date it was founded?
My name is Daisy Dominguez. I founded Dominguez Legal Justice Center in 2013, right after graduating from law school. I primarily work on immigration cases, and I’ve been practicing immigration law for 10 years. Now, I’m actually celebrating the 10-year anniversary in October.
What inspired you to start your own business?
So initially, I wanted to serve low and moderate-income communities through legal aid organizations. However, at the time when I graduated law school, there weren’t many opportunities in legal aid. That’s when I found another opportunity through a program called the Justice Entrepreneurs Project, which helps attorneys start their own practice with a mission of serving low and moderate-income communities. This sparked the idea in my head that I could create my own business while still targeting these communities and have the freedom to shape the law firm in any way I saw fit.
Once I started to envision how I wanted my law firm to look and what I wanted to achieve, I realized that the sky was the limit. I could take advantage of all my skills, tools, and experiences to their fullest potential. The flexibility and autonomy that came with running my own business allowed me to make the greatest impact I could, especially within immigration populations.
The ability to use my skills and experiences in the most effective way to benefit the communities I’m passionate about is what I truly appreciate about having my own business.
How has your identity impacted your journey so far?
Yeah, I feel like my identity is closely tied to the work I do. My parents immigrated from Mexico, and although I was too young to witness their immigration process, I have many family members whom I’ve assisted through it. Being bilingual, I believe my own experiences and familiar background allow me to connect deeply with my clients. When I work with them, I can empathize with the challenges they face and offer genuine support to navigate the immigration process. Creating a welcoming space in my firm is important to me so that clients feel comfortable and at ease.
Building these authentic relationships is crucial for the success of my work. When my clients trust me and share all the necessary information, it enables me to effectively handle their cases. Working together as a team, we can achieve a higher success rate in getting their cases approved. The connection I establish with my clients not only helps them but also drives my passion for the work I do.
Can you share any challenges you have faced as a business owner and how you have overcome them?
Yeah, I think one of my biggest challenges has been growing the practice and figuring out how to go about it. It has been quite a challenge for me. I have sought out various resources to understand how to continue growing the practice and how to hire employees. Recently, I managed to hire a paralegal this month, but it took me some time to reach this point.
To address this challenge, I have found programs like Founders First to be incredibly helpful. They provide guidance and valuable information that helps me navigate through the growth process. As someone with a legal background but not a business school education, I struggled with the business aspect. However, programs like yours have assisted me in understanding the growth potential and the necessary steps to take for continued expansion. Having this support has been essential in overcoming this hurdle and moving my practice forward.
Can you share an example of how a particular aspect of the Founders First accelerator program supported you in discovering new avenues for growth?
I was kind of all over the place with all these ideas that I had, and figuring out where to start tackling them. So Jenny, my couch and I began with breaking down the process of how to hire my employee. Going through that process with her made me feel more secure about the steps to take, and ultimately, I ended up hiring a paralegal through another program at the end.
Throughout the program, I learned about the hiring process, and with Jenny’s coaching, I felt more prepared to hire someone as a paralegal by the program’s conclusion. Another fantastic experience was the pitching competition. Before that, I had never pitched in my life. I had never even thought about how to do a pitch, let alone to judges or in front of an audience. Usually, I talk about my business one-on-one, not in front of a whole audience.
The pitching competition was a great experience because it forced me to narrow down the focus of my business and explain concisely and clearly who I am and what I do within a short period of time. I had to put together a market analysis and all the numbers to explain in the pitch. It allowed me to evaluate my business from a financial standpoint and present that as part of my pitch. So, it was a valuable experience in various aspects, and although it was nerve-racking, it was also exciting. Overall, the entire process has been beneficial for my growth as an entrepreneur.
Can you offer any advice for other entrepreneurs who are just starting their business journey?
I would say, join a program like Founders First. I’m definitely glad I did that. Someone recommended it to me, and it was incredibly useful and worth the commitment. It does require a lot of work, but in the end, all of that effort really pays off. During the time I did the program, I saw significant growth in my business because I put in the work.
I would also advise being prepared to face challenges and make sacrifices. Building a successful business takes time, and it’s okay to be patient with the process. In the beginning, it might feel overwhelming, and you may not see immediate results. But I encourage you not to give up and to keep putting in the effort because eventually, you’ll witness progress in your business, and it will be so worth it.
As an entrepreneur, I love having my own business. It has given me so much freedom and allowed me to shape both my professional and personal life. I don’t think I would have the same lifestyle or happiness if it weren’t for having my own business. Taking the chance of being a business owner has been rewarding, and I encourage everyone to do the same. Work hard at it, and it will pay off in the end.