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Community Highlights: Meet Matt Velasquez of Solidus Law

Today we’d like to introduce you to Matt Velasquez.

Hi Matt, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I moved to San Diego about 14 years ago after serving four years in the Marine Corps. I began studying Psychology at San Diego State and working odd jobs but ultimately gave up on pursuing an advanced degree in Psychology because I thought it was too much school. Eventually, I got sick of working unfulfilling jobs and decided to go to law school. About halfway through law school, I realized there were so many times in my life that my wife and I could have used a lawyer. Whether it was dealing with a greedy landlord or a problem with an employer, I realized that my wife and I had been right in those instances but let things slide because we believed dealing with lawyers were too expensive or scary to even talk to. It was at that time that I decided to start my own law firm.

I wanted to start a law firm that provides a different approach to law. One where potential clients can come to us without worrying about being intimidated by the process. Our goal is to be welcoming and accessible to clients and not try and milk them for money with predatory billing practices. With the help of my like-minded partner, Dakota Nelson, I think we’ve reached that goal.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
No, it has not been a smooth road. There was a lot more to starting my own law firm than I realized, such as building a website, running social media, and of course, getting clients. However, dealing with these struggles has helped me relate to my clients and understand the problems they deal with on a daily basis, which I believe leads to better representation by me. I deal with business owners facing these same problems all the time and I try and provide as much support as I can to ease their load regarding the legal stuff so they can focus on actually running their business.

Another struggle is dealing with clients who expect a typical lawyer in a suit or business attire. My partner and I never wear suits and I usually always wear a hat when meeting with clients. This was a decision my partner and I made regarding the culture of our firm, but I know it has definitely turned some potential clients away. A mentor of mine, who also chooses not to wear business attire, once told me that we have to be aware of how our clients view us when we dress how we want. Some people are going to be turned away or wary, which leaves us with no room for mistakes. This has always motivated me to provide the best work I possibly can to show that a suit doesn’t make a good lawyer.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
At our firm, we specialize in helping business owners, whether it be starting a business, complying with all the annoying legal requirements, creating or reviewing contracts to protect the business and their clients, or protecting a company’s brand with trademark/copyright registration. A lot of business owners call us and don’t realize what all they need to be protected. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things required to be in legal compliance and we help businesses realize that and get to where they need to be. We help all types of businesses in different markets, from nonprofits to LLCs to corporations.

What sets us apart is how we operate as a law firm. We don’t bill our clients unless they have previously agreed to it and we don’t bill for simple communications. I’ve worked at firms in the past that have billed ~$50 for responding to a quick e-mail from a client with “yes, you can.” We made a choice to only bill for substantive work and not answering simple yes or no questions our clients may have. We encourage our clients to speak with us and don’t want to make them wary by charging for every little thing.

What makes me most proud brand-wise is when a client tells me something to the effect of “Wow I didn’t know dealing with a lawyer was this easy.” We’ve had a few clients tell us something similar and it makes me proud because it means my goal and vision are being realized.

The only thing I would want readers to know is that if they have any legal questions or need help, they should give us a call. Even if it’s something we may not necessarily specialize in, I’m happy to speak with them and refer them to a lawyer that will take care of them. After realizing I could have used a lawyer in many instances in the past, I just want to make sure everyone gets the legal help they need.

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