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  • Writer's pictureVirginia Fuentes


Where I am from

I was born and raised in Los Angeles California. My mom, being a single mom, moved us around a lot when I was younger, but we ended up settling in Downey during my middle school and high school years. I am a middle child of three but the only girl in the family. I was never a super achiever in high school, but I did get decent grades. I discovered my love for learning in college when I found topics that were actually interesting. I ended up loving to study and still now love to learn new things.

My education

When graduating high school, I did not know what career I wanted. I knew I needed a college degree but did not know what I wanted to do with it. So, thinking smart, I went to a community college to find out what I wanted to do. My family did not have a lot of money and college was coming out of my personal pocket, so I thought this was my best plan. There I discovered Psychology and then Sociology. I loved my classes and decided to go to college for Psychology but when I discovered University of California, Santa Barbara had a possible double major option, I went for both. Through taking my courses I discovered I would not be good at clinical psychology nor would I be good a research. Reflecting on that decision it should have been obvious my strengths were not in those areas. I love problem-solving and in clinical psychology, I realized that I might not be able to solve your clients' problems. The result of the treatment was up to them. For the most part, I won't have a solution to the problem and that was not going to work for me. In research, there might be information to discover but no problem to solve. Luckily for me, my psychology and sociology degree was useful in many careers. I then fell into Human Resource right out of college. I got a job and through that job discovered an HR Management Certification program at UCSB extension, which I began attending. In the program, there was a whole course on just Employment Law. This really peaked my interest in perfecting my knowledge in the area. I loved certain aspects of my work in Human Resources, but I wanted to gain knowledge to advance my career and be able to make a difference. That is where a legal degree came in.

My work history

As I said before, I was hired in my first Human Resources job right out of college. I did well on the job and kept it through the two years I was in the Human Resources Management Program. I decided when I finished with the HR program I would then enter law school. I discovered that Santa Barbara had a local law school from my colleagues in the legal department. They graduated from the school and began working at the company soon after graduation. This was wonderful to me because I did not want to leave Santa Barbara. During law school I worked for two different law firms: one a small 4 attorney firm (I started as a receptionist and eventually leaving as the most senior paralegal); and a second job was with an Employment Law Solo Practitioner. I gained wonderful experience in the employment law area with both firms. I graduated from law school in 2014 and passed the Bar on the first take. I have been practicing law since.

Why do I do what I do?

I like helping people with knowledge that I have gained in my life. Directing them or helping them figure out how to solve a problem. When I went into HR I discovered I loved to perfect/fix processes that I saw broken. I loved taking a procedure, making it mine and then making it and efficient and effective as possible. I also liked helping employees figure out how to do what they needed via the HR Department. With my strength, I love finding solutions to a problem that is fair and that makes everyone happy (a true Win-Win solution). I also love finding solutions that are fair for everyone, restoring or fixing something that was not working and making it fair.

Bringing that to the present I love helping people navigate the legal world to find a solution to their problems. I especially like helping people navigate an area that I have been immersed in for years, Employment Law. I believe the best and most impactful way for me to do that is to work with small businesses and help them do their employment compliance right from the beginning. To also provide some good resources for them to ensure they stay compliant as they grow. I see that there are plenty of very good employment law attorney’s in the area that work on the side of the employee, but few works on the side of the small employer. Many that do are large firms that charge hourly rate out of the price range of many small businesses.

How do I do it?

The way I do it is by providing reasonably priced legal counseling services. The goal is to help small businesses start and stay compliant with the many employment laws changes in California. I also provide a knowledge base with the goal of helping empower small businesses with information that is relevant and easily accessible so that they are more confident in their employee management process.

What is “it”?

I make this happened by offering flat rate packages to keep cost reasonable and foreseeable, as well as provide monthly subscription services for ongoing legal services at a very discounted rate. I am also an easily reachable resource to my clients for questions on how to handle the uncommon issues that plague the non-human resources trained owner (ie Americans with Disability Act issues, Worker’s Compensation, Employee Termination counseling, etc.).

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