A few weeks ago, attorney Karla García invited family, clients and friends to the grand opening of the Multiple Services International (SMI) office, in the heart of Wheaton, in Montgomery County.
Before expanding her services with that office in Maryland, this young Salvadoran lawyer tells El Tiempo Latino that she took up the practice of her mother, whom she remembers when she was only 10 years old when she accompanied her to look for a business premises.
Before choosing the place for her business, the business woman, who supported the university careers of her four children with her work, saw it from the inside, but also from the outside, she counted how many people passed by in a certain period of time and from there he made the decision.
“Now in the 21st century, I resumed that process that my mother followed because it is still valid for a business. That example and experience of my mother has been key to get ahead, “said the lawyer in a conversation with El Tiempo Latino for our Hispanic Heritage special.
This Salvadoran woman arrived in the Washington area as part of the consular body of El Salvador in the United States in 2012.
Behind the position of vice consul that García had in Woodbridge, Virginia, there was a lawyer graduated from the José Simeón Cañas Central American University, UCA, with a track record since the age of 20 in the legal field in the Central American country, working with different organizations on various issues such as human trafficking and women’s rights.
He even says that his contributions include having been part of technical advisory groups for the development of legislation on gender for the Central American country.
But he says that being in the Consulate of El Salvador, opened the perspective of the needs of his community here in the United States and the urgencies that his compatriots go through to resolve legal issues in El Salvador.
Thus began to germinate in her the idea of becoming independent and creating a legal services center to contribute to her profession in this area.
Having passed the notarial exam, I already had a good part of the scaffolding to begin with.
This is a specialty in the law career in El Salador, which allows lawyers to work in the civil law area with a professional practice protocol that is only authorized by the Supreme Court of Justice, under strict surveillance each year.
In 2018 he made the decision, resigned from the bureaucratic apparatus of the state and started the journey on his own.
“It was not easy, there were people who said to me ‘And that you want to live on?’ laughs
Other immigrants in a solidarity plan recommended that she go back to studying at the university here in the United States, nursing or another profession to make room for herself. “I said: this is what I know how to do, this is what I like and I am passionate about doing so I steeled myself and kept going,” he adds.
And since the beginnings always have difficulties, García says that while he was beginning to put together the plan, he enrolled in a Saturday course at the Carlos Rosario International School in DC to study small business management.
There they showed him in theory and practical exercises what are the steps to structure a business, how the system works, how to manage accounts, credit channels, types of taxes for businesses and all that essential part of management to start flying.
He began to work in Manassas and Woodbridge, because they were the lands known for his years of experience in the Consulate of El Salvador in Virginia, but with the recommendations that his clients gave to friends and family, the client portfolio was increased and also the suggestions and orders from Maryland.
With the concerns of clients seeking to solve problems in Central America, services have also been diversified. At the beginning, it only worked with the powers to make legal effect in El Salvador, sales, divorces, wills, inheritances, donations and paperwork of documents in the country, among others.
But some of these procedures also need logistical support in El Salvador when clients in the Washington area do not have family or friends there to help them; There he began to create a work group in San Miguel, and opened an office where nine employees now work, including lawyers and professionals from other disciplines that provide coverage throughout El Salvador.
And with the needs of the growing Honduran and Guatemalan communities, the winds are pointing in that direction.
With contacts with lawyers in Honduras or the same staff in San Miguel, you can make several steps to search the collection of documentation of a migrant in Honduras if necessary.
“I am very proud and very grateful to God, as a Christian that I am, and to so many wonderful people who have put me on the path to work, but also to provide a service because there are many needs,” says García.
From the two offices in Maryland and Virginia, the lawyer Karla García says that a new project called “My house” has taken hold, aimed at people who want to buy or sell a house in El Salvador. With the multidisciplinary team in El Salvador, they make appraisals more in line with the market than those that a family member could make and can thus help the buyer who tries to acquire a property from here.
There they also apply the same standards of reliable information and field research so that their compatriots in the DMV know in detail about the investment and especially that they have the documents in order and in their name to claim the assets.
During the long process of the pandemic, this lawyer comments that the work has not stopped and even noted that the procedures of the clients to expedite the transfers of goods in El Salvador, perhaps due to the uncertainty generated by a process such as the one experienced.
Karla García says that as an immigrant and Hispanic here in the United States, she lives with pride and feels the commitment to work tirelessly to demonstrate the value of our community every day. His two sons who are finishing their school training are his best inheritance and “they are already enrolled in the technological part of the business,” concludes García.
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