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Meet Jessica Vittorio of The Law Office of Jessica Vittorio

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Vittorio.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Growing up the daughter of a small business owner, I always had a deep appreciation and respect for the small business community. I spent many of my formative years watching my mother put in the hours it takes to run a successful business, and I always admired her tenacity and passion for the work she was doing. To be honest, though, the idea of running my own business did not really occur to me until much later in life. Throughout law school, I worked with a mid sized firm that specialized in administrative and environmental law, and while I loved the experience, I began to feel that firm life wasn’t for me.

After graduating I fulfilled a life long dream of working in Washington DC, following a long tenure of political work at the local and state level. In DC I had the unique opportunity to serve as Legislative Counsel for a Member of the United States House of Representatives, and it was an experience that I would not trade for the world. I was working for a freshman Congressman who eventually ended up being appointed to a Subcommittee Chairman position, which is a whirlwind unto itself.

But in addition to that, the Member was not an attorney by trade and I was the only attorney on staff in the office, which is extremely rare. That position gave me invaluable insight into the inner workings of our political system, but also provided me a platform for learning how to communicate my technical knowledge to people in positions of authority and power. While I sincerely enjoyed my time with Congress, it became clear to me that what I truly wanted out of my legal education and expertise was a more traditional type of practice. So I left the Hill and opened my practice in Dallas.

When I first opened the practice I wasn’t trying to attract business and entrepreneur clients, it just ended up being a community that I naturally gravitated towards. I love the passion of the entrepreneur community, and the drive that the individuals in it have to succeed is constantly inspiring to me. The entrepreneur community is perpetually seeking to influence change, they’re always striving to innovate, and yet most of the legal presence you see in the space uses very traditional models of practice. As I became more involved in that community it became clear to me that there was this gap in the market that wasn’t really being fulfilled by a lot of other attorneys.

Since then, my mission has been to model the same principal of innovation that my clients exhibit in their businesses. I work hard to battle a lot of the negative experiences or stereotypes that business owners may have had towards attorneys in the past, while also using the practice to push the legal field, which is still a very traditional industry, to adapt, evolve, and innovate to best serve business clients.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I believe that sometimes business owners get into a bad habit of glossing over all of the struggles that they encounter on a day to day basis. Our natural tendency as entrepreneurs is to paint a good picture of our successes, while simultaneously trying to put out all the fires on our own behind the scenes. If there’s one thing owning my practice has taught me it is that this tactic does not work, you have to own the struggles.

All that to say, just like any business owner, there have been a number of struggles and obstacles along the way. The biggest obstacle has been trying to create a name for myself in an industry and a city that is overrun with experienced professionals. The second biggest obstacle has been really focusing in on who I am as a professional, what is important to me from a value perspective, and figuring out how to translate those two things into the manner in which I advocate for and counsel my clients.

Along those same lines, just as in any industry, it is sometimes tempting to see other attorneys or other firms that have a lot of success and want to imitate the way that they got to where they are. But what I’ve discovered is that when I try to do that, I lose sight of those values and the purpose that drove me to open the practice in the first place. At the end of the day, I have learned that I just have to operate in a way that is true to who I am and focus on doing the right thing; I honestly believe that if I keep those two things at the forefront of my practice then I’ll continue to be successful.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into The Law Office of Jessica Vittorio story. Tell us more about the business.
My law practice is based in Dallas, TX and focuses on transactional business for entrepreneurs and business owners. This includes a wide range of services from entity formation, contract and policy drafting, mergers and acquisitions, internal governance, and a whole spectrum of other day to day issues businesses face. The purpose of the practice is to provide high quality, personalized, legal counsel to business owners at accessible prices. With that purpose in mind, there are two ways in which I really differentiate my practice from other attorneys in this area: client relationship and pricing.

One of the first things most clients will notice about me is that I am significantly less formal than most of my colleagues. Part of that is being true to who I am as a person, I am not a believer that I have to be in a $2,000 suit in a high rise marble office downtown to provide high-quality legal counsel to my clients. If anything, I think a lot of that perception and the persona lawyers create around themselves distracts from the actual job. There are some practice areas in the legal profession where the job is really about the lawyer and their skills, but I like to think of myself as a behind the scenes actor.

What I do is not about me, and I am ok with my name never being directly associated with any individual project no matter how big it may be because at the end of the day it is about my clients and the amazing things they are bringing into the world to help create change. In addition, having a relationship with each of my clients is very important to me. I like to work with entrepreneurs and business owners that are driven by more than profit. That is not to say that profit is not important, it is. But, so is supporting your community, disrupting industries or institutions which may be fundamentally flawed, and prioritizing ideals as much as profit. I like to understand why my clients do what they do, and what their long-term goals and dreams are, and through developing that relationship and gaining an understanding of those things I believe I provide a personalized legal counsel that you do not find in a lot of other firms.

The second thing most people notice about the practice is my pricing. I made a very intentional decision when I opened to set my prices lower than a lot of attorneys with my experience. I made a very intentional decision to offer flexible payment options and work with my clients to make sure that they do not spend their entire operating budget each month just on paying their legal bill. The reason for that is I have consistently seen business owners make avoidable mistakes because they couldn’t afford to hire an attorney; that shouldn’t happen. I do not want to put a business owner in a position to decide between getting the counsel they need and paying their employees that month.

I want to help support the creation of sustainable and responsible businesses, and I do not think I can do that by following industry pricing trends. Similar to the types of clients I like to work with, it is important to me that the practice is about more than making money. My goal is to support the community and hopefully make legal counsel accessible to entrepreneurs and owners who may have been otherwise priced out of the existing business counsel market.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
There has definitely been some “right place, right time” types of situations that helped the practice get to where it is today. However, most of the real progress I have made is the result of patience and the culmination of decisions put into motion before I ever fully understood what the real benefit of those decisions or actions was going to be.

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