Héctor Quiroga, co-founder of Quiroga Law Office PLLC, understands what many of his clients are going through, because he, too, immigrated to this country.
“There were times where I didn’t have a work permit, and I couldn’t get employment, and it was very difficult, similar to what (clients) experience,” says Quiroga. “I understand the desperation of not being able to work … there were times when I wasn’t able to travel and leave the U.S.”
For the past four years in a row, the Spokane Valley-based immigration law firm has made Inc. business magazine’s annual list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in the country. This year, it was recognized as the fastest-growing business in the Spokane metro area and placed No. 2,174 overall with a 257% annual revenue growth over three years from 2019 to 2022.
Quiroga declines to disclose projected annual revenue but says the firm has been doubling in revenue every year for the last five years.
“At this point for us, it’s really about impact,” he says. “It’s more about being able to give more immigrants that chance.”
Quiroga Law was established in 2009 by Quiroga and his wife, Casey Quiroga, both of whom are graduates of the Gonzaga University School of Law. The firm is headquartered in a 10,000-square-foot office at 505 N. Argonne Road, in Spokane Valley, and has additional Washington offices in Kennewick and Wenatchee, as well as offices in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Querétaro, Mexico. The firm has a total of nine attorneys and an overall staff of 245. Most staff members are bilingual in Spanish and English—that includes translators, clerks, paralegals, legal assistants, marketing, media relations, copywriters, and other support staff. At its Spokane Valley headquarters, Quiroga Law has five attorneys and a staff of about 30.
Quiroga Law Office initially focused on civil law, taking cases involving contract disputes, personal injuries, and marriage dissolutions. However, in 2014, the founders decided to turn their focus to immigration, an area Quiroga felt strongly about.
“This idea of giving somebody a chance, that’s what I fell in love with the practice … because I’ve been on the receiving end of it,” says Quiroga.
The firm takes on family immigration cases and humanitarian cases that involve aiding victims of a crime, special witnesses, victims of trafficking, or seeking fair pay from employers. The third type of case the firm typically takes on is deportation defense cases, which require making an appeal before a federal court or the Board of Immigration Appeals.
Quiroga says that, while the firm represents clients from African and Asian countries, its niche is primarily clients from Latin American countries.
The firm is structured as a flat-fee business model as opposed to billable hours and has over 6,000 clients. The cost per case ranges from about $2,500 up to $30,000.
While $30,000 may seem like a lot, asylum and deportation cases can take up to six years to resolve, says Quiroga.
“You’re looking at a very long time of working together,” he says. “We have to make sure we’re here for you four years down the road.”
Quiroga attributes part of the firm’s success to its early investment in technology, which allows the attorneys to work across state lines and internationally. To that end, the firm has an IT staff as well as software developers that have forged the firm’s programs. While the importance of technology may be obvious in a post-pandemic environment, Quiroga says that when the pandemic hit, the firm had no trouble switching over to remote and digital work.
The other contributor to the firm’s success is its large support staff, he says. An attorney at Quiroga Law might have two paralegals, and those paralegals might have one or two legal assistants, which creates a structure that supports the lawyer, he says.
“We maximize the output of the lawyer by having the proper support,” says Quiroga. “We do this because we are flat fee.”
One of the reasons Quiroga Law switched to a flat-fee structure is because he felt the billable, hour structure creates friction with a client. When he was practicing family law and going to trial, a constant complaint he heard from his clients was their unease about how much they would be billed every two weeks as their case moved forward, he says. Clients would speak quickly to him, or pick and choose what they wanted to say, or altogether stop communicating with him, says Quiroga.
“How am I supposed to win your case if you’re not telling me stuff?” he says. “It was up to me, the professional, to tailor these things and set expectations properly. I think that really helped just getting more clients.”
Quiroga comes from a long line of lawyers and says he always knew he wanted to become an attorney. His father still practices law in Bogotá, Colombia—where Quiroga was born and raised—and his mother is also a lawyer.
When he first arrived in the U.S. in January of 2000, Quiroga was 17 years old and had zero knowledge of the English language. Colombia was under civil war, and while Quiroga thought he would eventually return to his homeland, he saw promise in the U.S.
“I saw a lot of opportunity and thought, gosh, if I could just speak English, and if I could just be a lawyer,” he says.
His first obstacle to overcome was learning English. He enrolled in English as a Second Language classes at Spokane Community College, and once he had enough of a command of English, began taking regular courses. He transferred to Gonzaga University where he double majored in economics and political science, and met Casey, his future wife.
However, when it came to applying for law school, Quiroga’s level of English still held him back, and he was denied entrance seven times, four of those from Gonzaga. He eventually was accepted to a school in Michigan and after receiving high grades his first year there, wrote back to Gonzaga, where Casey was a law student, and requested to transfer.
In 2008, Quiroga became a U.S. citizen, and in 2009 graduated from Gonzaga law school, passing the bar exam on the first try.
“It is kind of a feather in my cap,” says Quiroga.
In 2015, Quiroga became an adjunct professor at Gonzaga, and was named a Washington state Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine.
Quiroga says, because of the opportunities he’s been given, he’s been able to achieve the American dream.
“It’s just an opportunity, give me a chance,” he says. “It’s up to the individual to make it count, and that’s true for everybody in this life.”
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