Paola I. Neri didn’t intend to go into immigration law, but now that she’s there, she loves it. Before she got her results from the bar exam, she was clerking for a lawyer with many different areas of practice. He told her that once she passed the bar, he wanted her to handle his immigration practice. “I didn’t know anything about immigration, though I am an immigrant myself,” Paola remembers. “So I taught myself. I looked things up online, I joined bar associations to connect with other attorneys. As a new lawyer in San Diego, I was able to connect with attorneys who guided me and Ialso learned on my own.” After that, she worked at in immigration law firm in Los Angeles. “I love immigration law. I love that my cases revolve around families and I help people stay together, as well as help people come from other countries to the U.S. to be with their loved ones. I’ve found the practice of immigration law very inspiring and something that I can relate to.”
Paola’s family immigrated to San Diego when she was five years old, right after her father died tragically in a car accident in Mexico. Her mom was pregnant with her sister at the time and they all struggled with the loss, with having to learn English, with having to figure out how to survive in a new country. Fortunately, Paola enjoyed school. And it was her great-grandfather, also a lawyer, who inspired her to shift her dream of working for the FBI and go to law school with the idea that it would open many different avenues she could pursue.
Now she has launched her own firm. “I always knew I wanted to work for myself. Being a leader was in my blood since I was young. I am the first born on both sides of my family if that gives you an idea. I opened my law office a month before the pandemic hit, in February 2020. My experience building my own practice during these difficult times was a positive one. I had the opportunity to organize myself while business was slow in the beginning, she says. Another benefit of the pandemic that she sees is the court system’s new comfort level with doing things virtually—not just meetings but paperwork. One of her goals is to have a sustainable office and reduce waste as much as possible. “I do not print my contracts, I do not print and mail letters unless I need to, and I recycle. In the immigration law context, the government is opening more online processes where you can file applications online. I love that, because my mother always taught me to recycle, and it is something I practice daily, she says. “I’m saving trees when I can.”
When Paola has the chance to meet other young Latina entrepreneurs, she always encourages them to believe in themselves. “Know that you’re going to make it. That’s the biggest thing,” she says. “I’m very active on social media and women have reached out to me saying, ‘I love what you’re doing. How did you get there?’ I always tell them they have to say, ‘I can do this, I’m awesome. Because you are’ There is so much criticism in the world. We can’t let others’ opinions and negativity get us down. Believe in yourself, know your worth, and put in the work.”
Get much more of Paola I. Neri’s advice, including how to be creative on social media, in the inspiring new book Latinas Who Boss Up. “These boss ladies are truly inspiring, sharing their breakthroughs and triumphs for all of us to experience,” says author, educator, and podcaster Tam Luc. “Latinas Who Boss Up taught me more about a mix of cultures that I never stopped to examine. While our origin stories vary, we all experience life in full color and must navigate our circumstances. These beautiful women represent the world of Latina Superwomen and I am so happy to introduce them to you.”
Find Paola on Instagram @abogada_paolaneri. On Facebook, you can find her under “Neri Law Offices.” Paola’s website is NeriLawOffices.com. You can also learn more about her at https://bossupbestseller.com/PaolaNeri, where you will find a link to Latinas Who Boss Up.
About Women with Vision International
Women with Vision International aims to inspire, uplift, and empower women everywhere to never give up their dream of living their life on purpose. We gather dynamic, entrepreneurial women who are making a difference and changing people’s lives to spark conversation around the topics that impact us all such as building their businesses, fundraising, and balancing their work and their families.
About Tam Luc
Tam Luc is an international bestselling author and the founder of Women with Vision International who shares the triumphs, stress, and struggles of balancing her life to help women grow their businesses. After 20 years as an entrepreneur, she is able to help women leverage their messages and create the lifestyle they want through her unique book messaging strategies. Hear from some of the amazing entrepreneurs who have worked with Tam at https://womenbossupsummit.com/virtualsummit