Manage episode 281965010 series 2853540
M. Viviana Oropeza was born in San Diego in 1984 to Mexican immigrants and was raised on both sides of the border here in various areas in California and in Teocaltiche, Jalisco, MX, her Dad’s birthplace and home. Her father was a first-generation immigrant worked various jobs, as a gardener, a laborer, a mechanic, and a bread maker, among many others that were needed to support her family for 8. Her mother was a stay at home mom and never held a job.
She lived with her parents until the age of 16 when she left her home in Teocaltiche Jalisco, MX in pursuit of continuing her education in the United States and seeking the American Dream. She enrolled in High School in Redlands, CA, worked hard to get into college and was subsequently given the opportunity to study at CSU San Bernardino where she earned a bachelor degree Political Science, the first in her family to earn a college a degree.
She eventually went on to earn an MBA in Finance, and Juris Doctorate, and become a licensed lawyer. She had her first child while she was working on her MBA, and her second child while in her second year of law school, something she claims helped her prove that outdating notions that seeking one’s dreams and building a family were not mutually exclusive.
Viviana’s path to becoming a lawyer was rocky, it was almost a decade of taking the LSATs (Law School Admissions Test) and failing to get into law school multiple times before it happened. Getting into law school is difficult, especially for Latinas. Only 2% of the all lawyers are female and Latina, even though approximately 18% of the population is Latinx in the U.S.
When Viviana finally go into law school started, her experience was not traditional. She had a husband and a 4-year old daughter when she started. A major balancing act had to be done to survive her first year. Further, she became pregnant with her son in her second year of law school and doctors put her on bed-rest but she didn’t give up. She took the medical leave recommended started back up as soon as her doctors gave her the ok. She went on to finish law school, take the California Bar Exam, pass it on her first try, and launch her own law practice as soon as she was sworn in as a license attorney in the state of California.
She launched her firm Oropeza Law, PC with the assistance of the “Access to Law Initiative” the California Western School of Law’s law firm incubator program. Her firm shortly evolved into what today is “Attorney in Heels” ™ her female-centered Business and Estate Planning law firm.
The legal emphases of her law firm, Viviana claims are her calling: “These two practice areas were natural for me to enter into right out of law school because I have a business background (my MBA), and having worked as an investment advisor. In my prior career I had been exposed to working with business owners, and families helping them set up their wealth planning, business buy-sells, and family estate plans, all I was doing now was working on the legal side instead of the Financial side, which I know also gives me more insight when I’m planning for and counseling my clients.”
Further Viviana explains why her law firm is important to her and her clients: “Attorney in Heels ™ is dear to my heart because my practice is reflective of who I am and who I serve. I serve my clients “in my heels” which means more when you read between the lines. It means it’s a practice focuses on women who were previously overlooked and underestimated in business, and that I will guide and lead them while empowering them with the right information, guidance, and tools to go out and crush it in their respective industries.
And although Attorney in Heels does have male clients, the ultimate focus is helping female entrepreneurs, and their families feel comfortable making important decisions about their family and business future. Where the traditional law firms are often intimidating and rough around the edges, which often lead women not to inquire, ask questions, or learn more about important legal decisions they need to make to protect their families and businesses; Attorney in Heels ™ aims to make these decisions easier to navigate so that important legal steps don’t go ignored and become too costly to families and businesses.
My recommendation for young women who are starting out, in any field, is not to give up (ever), visualize where you want to go and play it in your head over and over and let it fuel you. Then plan and takes necessary steps to get you there. It's ok if it takes longer than expected. Also, seek mentorship; especially in law that could make all the difference. Getting guidance, tips and tricks of the trade can prevent some of the hassles and struggles.”
Attorney in Heels ™ is based in San Diego, CA but also serves other southern California regions such as the Inland Empire. Viviana is also highly involved in her community as she serves on the Boards of San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the National Latina Business Women’s Association of San Diego, and sits on the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion for the San Diego County Bar Association. Viviana also goes out to speak to her communities about the importance of business, and estate planning and provides mentorship to at risk youth through the Dream Bigger Foundation.